Read more about SaaS optimization: How to Stop Being a Target of Vendor Upsizing

Slack Pricing Guide 2023: How to Save Money on Slack Paid Plans

13 min read Sanjay Krishna


Slack logo (from: Shutterstock)

Your slack buzzes. Odds are you know that sound. It’s inevitably associated with the modern workforce, especially in the era of remote work. The 150,000 paid users and millions of customers on the Slack free plan are a testament to its efficiency and popularity. 

However, for all its remarkable offerings, the pricey nature of Slack licenses is still a significant downside for many customers. If you use Slack for corporate collaboration, you’re probably already aware of how deep Slack subscription fees can eat into your finances. 

Regardless, the app’s comprehensive range of collaborative tools almost makes it indispensable. 

Since you can’t let go of Slack due to its unique functionality, how do you save money on Slack licensing fees? Here’s our in-depth guide on cutting down on the cost of Slack plans. 

Key Points 

  • Slack has a free starter plan for businesses. And like most starter plans, it comes with some significant limitations, including restricting users to 90 days of searchable messages, 1:1 audio and video calls, and only ten app integrations. 
  • To access better offerings, you’ll need to pay for one of Slack’s three paid plans: Pro, Business+, or Enterprise Grid. 
  • Slack’s Enterprise Grid license doesn’t have a fixed price. The Slack team will determine a custom rate for your firm based on specific criteria. 
  • It’s often possible to end up paying for features you don’t need or use on the Enterprise Grid plan. Additionally, post the acquisition of Slack, the rules have changed.
Slack features a free plan and three paid license tiers: Pro, Business+, and Enterprise Grid

Slack Pricing: Plans and Everything You Need to Know

Slack offers four licensing tiers, including a free plan. The free plan provides access to some of Slack’s collaborative features without a fee. However, it’s pretty limited, with restrictions around total messaging volume, audio/video calls and app integrations. 

If you run a large firm and intend to use Slack for large-scale collaborations, you may need to purchase a Slack premium plan instead of depending on the free license. That said, here’s a breakdown of the different Slack pricing tiers: 

Slack Free Plan

Slack separates itself from several of its competitors by offering a free plan to customers. The Slack free plan allows you to communicate and collaborate with your team at zero costs. The idea, quite simply is to hook you in, and Slack pioneered this mode of customer acquisition, popularly known as Product-led-growth.

Slack’s free license doesn’t offer the full range of features. If you intend to use the free version of Slack, you’ll encounter the following key limitations: 

90 Days Searchable Messages 

One of the most significant drawbacks of the Slack free plan is the 90-day searchable message cap. 

In other words, you can access older messages sent only within the 90-day limit if you’re a Slack free license subscriber. 

This restriction can pose considerable problems to your team’s collaboration, especially if you need urgent information from older projects or messages to tackle current tasks. 

10 App Integrations

Slack’s collection of work tools and applications is as comprehensive as you can find anywhere, with more than 2,400 apps in the Slack App Directory. 

From Zoom to Microsoft Office Suite, Atlassian, HubSpot, and Google Drive, Slack has all the productive software you need for organizational collaborations.

However, if you’re on the free plan, you can only integrate ten apps into your Slack workspace. 

If you’ve got one extra tool to add to your workspace, you’ll need to opt for a paid license or delete an existing application. 

In an age where teams use tens of tools for diverse project executions, Slack’s restrictions on app Integrations on its free plan can impact your work processes significantly. 

1:1 Audio and Video Calls 

Video and audio calling is one of the crucial links bridging the physical distance among workers, enabling efficient execution of projects from afar.

Team meetings provide opportunities to brainstorm, bounce ideas off each other, and share progress on assigned tasks. 

Large size video and audio calls remain an invaluable tool for teams and organizations to coordinate projects and collaborate efficiently. With the ability to interface in real-time, large scale virtual communication allows multiple users to simultaneously voice their ideas, confer on strategy and make decisions swiftly.

However, what happens when you can’t make video or audio calls with more than one team member on your online work channel?

Well, that’s the challenge you’ll face on Slack’s free license. You can only call one member of your team via video or audio call, meaning larger team meetings are impossible on the free subscription. 

Bonus Features

That said, Slack’s free license does have some helpful features besides the restrictions. 

Some essential functionalities you can access while on the free plan include 

  • Personalized notifications
  • Unlimited private and public channels
  • Unlimited space for file sharing 

However, if you’re looking for better offerings from Slack, you’ll need to opt for one of its paid plans. 

Slack Pro

Slack’s Pro license (which is borderline Slack for small business) is the first paid plan available on the messaging app, and it offers significant upgrades compared to the free subscription package. 

You can get Slack Pro for $8.75/user/month if you’re paying monthly and $7.25/user/month if you opt for annual payments. This is typically what most small businesses, startups, or even communities look at. Or some of them at-least.

Opting for Slack’s Pro plan gives you access to the following features: 

Unlimited App Integrations

If the 10-app cap on the free plan doesn’t cater to your team’s needs, Slack’s Pro plan provides the option to integrate as many apps as your firm requires for its operations. 

In other words, you can access all work tools in the Slack App Directory. With more tools, you’re guaranteed heightened productivity and efficiency. 

Group Calls and Screen Sharing With Up to 15 Members 

Slack expands the video and audio call limit for the Pro plan to 15 team members. The Pro license also includes screen sharing functionalities.

Guest Accounts

One crucial difference between the Slack free vs. paid plans is that you can’t add guest accounts to work channels on the free package. However, with the Pro package, you can collaborate with teams outside your company by granting them guest access to your Slack workspace. 

This is especially crucial because Slack often has a lot of secure or confidential information that you do not want exposed, much like email.

Unlimited Search 

You can search for messages and files on the Pro license without any time-based restrictions. The 90-day rule on the free plan is a big pain point for many.

Google Authentication

Trying to remember passcodes for multiple work tools can be burdensome. If your team leverages Google Suite for projects, you can sign in to your Slack workspace using existing Google sign-on. 

Other Key Features

  1. Custom user groups for teams and departments 
  2. 10GB storage per team member
  3. Priority customer support 
  4. Channel recommendations
  5. Message highlights 

Slack Pro is an excellent subscription option for small and medium-sized businesses. However, larger organizations may still find their offerings insufficient. Fortunately, Slack offers an upgrade with its Business+ plan. 

Slack Business+ 

Switching to Slack Business+ will cost you $12/user/month for annual payments or $15/user/month if you decide to pay monthly. 

Of course, the significantly higher pricing means access to more features. Some of the major offerings of the Business+ license include: 

99.9% Uptime 

Slack guarantees 99.9% uptime for customers on the Business+ plan and above. In other words, your team will have access to Slack round the clock, regardless of time zone. 

This guarantee comes with a financially-backed service level agreement (SLA) that offers credit to affected workspaces if the messaging app falls short of its uptime commitment. If you are unsure how an SLA works, check out out primer on SaaS Contracts here.

24/7 Support 

When it comes to SaaS platforms, it helps to know that you can reach customer support whenever you encounter glitches. 

On the Slack Business+ license, you can contact customer service 24/7, with a guaranteed four-hour response time for all complaints. 

Data Exports 

Companies in regulated industries or with a legal obligation to archive messages can request to export their entire Slack message history. 

You can also manage your message archival preferences to match your company’s regulatory requirements. 

Furthermore, you’ll have access to message edit and deletion logs alongside the ability to delete and edit your message history. 

SSO and Provisioning

Slack Business+ allows you to integrate Slack with your SAML 2.0 identity provider or use your custom SAML solution.

Ethical Billing Policy

Slack’s revolutionary Fair Billing Policy lets Business+ subscribers pay for active users only. If a team member becomes inactive upon subscription, you’ll receive a prorated refund tallying the unused timeline. This is the gold standard for ethical pricing, the anti-thesis of which is the dark patterns we see in many SaaS products.

Slack Business+ guarantees businesses 99.9% uptime and 24/7 customer support (Image: Shutterstock)

Slack Enterprise Grid

The Enterprise Grid license is the only paid plan on Slack without a fixed rate. It’s tailored for businesses with thousands of employees. 

If you run an enterprise and you’re wondering, “how much is the Slack Enterprise license?” you’ll need to contact the Slack team to evaluate your company’s needs and determine the best pricing structure for you.  That said, this process is filled with information asymmetry, and having the experts at Quolum guide you with price benchmarking could make this process a while lot easier.

Slack’s Enterprise Grid license offers the messaging app’s most comprehensive range of features. Some of the functionalities you’ll get on the Enterprise Grid plan include: 

  • Support for up to 500,000 users
  • Customise organization according to workspaces (human resources, IT, project management, sales, etc.)
  • Central administrative controls and governance
  • Trackable message engagement
  • Enterprise-grade security with GDPR and CCPA compliance and Slack Enterprise Key Management for data protection 
  • More than 2400 app integrations, including provisions to integrate internally-built solutions 
  • Build custom apps that integrate with internal tools and processes using Slack API
  • Slack Connect to collaborate securely with partner organizations 

Slack Enterprise Grid features comprehensive functionalities for enterprises to manage teams and workflows securely and effortlessly. However, despite having a subscription rate tailored to your needs, you could still end up paying for more than what’s necessary for your firm. 

You can save money on Slack Enterprise Grid by hiring a SaaS procurement team to handle license negotiations (from: Shutterstock)

How to Save Money on Slack 

Like most SaaS platforms, Slack could get you to pay for features your teams never use or even need if you opt for the Enterprise Grid plan. 

This fact could mean subscription fees that are constantly soaring through the roof. However, it’s still possible to cut down on Slack pricing fees and avoid paying for services you don’t need. 

Here are our top tips on paying less for Slack paid plans: 

Consolidate Salesforce, Tableau and Slack Licenses

Salesforce is the most popular CRM in the world. Slack is the most popular tool in its category. Yet, a lot of companies have differing contracts for both. This not only makes individual tools more expensive, but it also reduces the scope for flexible provisions that reduce costs like swap rights.

Salesforce Swap Rights Provisions

Below is a sample from an Enterprise Salesforce contract, that allowed for swapping. When Quolum detected that a large number of Sales and Service Hub licenses were unused, these seats were replaced by paid Slack seats and through this, and a series of other measures, an enterprise client saved over US$ 1M in a Proof-of-Concept alone.

To learn more about this via a detailed case study, talk to a savings expert.

Utilize Slack Integrations

According to a recent Slack survey, 64% of aligned workers stated that while tools were crucial for workspace efficiency, there’s a nagging issue — spending at least 30 minutes daily switching between them. Additionally, their distinct subscriptions could eat into your firm’s budget in the long run. 

So, rather than subscribing to the vital SaaS tools required by your entity to foster productivity, opt for the Enterprise Grid package. Granting unrestricted access to 2,400+ app integrations, Salesforce and Tableau inclusive, this Slack license reduces your overall SaaS spend while promoting streamlined workflows.

Reduce the Number of Users

Slack charges subscription fees on a per-user basis. As a result, you can cut down on your Slack payments by reducing the number of users on your work channels. 

Are there accounts that have been inactive for months? How about employees who are no longer with the firm but still have accounts on Slack? Getting rid of these dormant accounts can significantly reduce your Slack license fee. 

You can monitor your firm’s Slack user count using Quolum’s utilization tracking. Even better, you can also track this on a team-wide basis. You may realise that some teams love tools like Slack, while other’s barely use them. This isn’t just true for Slack, but also tools in the productivity space that are often notoriously underused.

Based on these in-depth insights, it’s easier to rightsize your usage. 

Departmental wise Slack usage

Payment Terms

Slack’s annual subscription fees are significantly lower than its monthly payments. 

For instance, if you opt for Slack Pro and have around 50 employees, you’ll have to pay $437/user/month for monthly payments or $362/user/month for the annual license.

As such, we’d recommend opting for the annual plan instead of monthly subscriptions if you want to reduce your Slack subscription costs. We don’t recommend this often, but Slack is one of those sticky tools, which you may not migrate from.

Slack plays the long-term game, and it’s best if you do too. Here’s one example.

Cut Down on Slack Costs With Quolum

Your negotiations with the Slack team will determine your Slack Enterprise Grid license costs. 

As such, it’s best to allow a SaaS procurement expert to negotiate on your behalf to ensure you get a subscription deal that doesn’t exceed your budget. That’s where Quolum comes in. 

Quolum is a full-stack SaaS procurement, and management platform that helps companies with 100-5000 employees reduce their spend on software. 

Our all-in-one SaaS management services include: 

  • A SaaS Management Platform that tracks and collects usage data across over 1000 tools and 100+ SaaS software, including Slack, Asana, Jira, Atlassian, Intercom, and Zoom. 
  • A dedicated SaaS concierge to buy, manage or even cancel your SaaS applications for you. 
  • The Quolum SaaS Card purpose-built for digital spending to help you avoid needless non-software purchases, set custom limits, and block challenging tools to cancel. 

Our SaaS management system will track your SaaS usage data for you, including the number of minutes/ gigabytes/ accounts/ calls made by your employees weekly, monthly, or yearly.  Based on these insights, we’ll make recommendations on adjusting your subscription to cut down costs or whether it would be best to cancel the plan altogether. 

To start saving today, talk to a savings expert.


How Can I Save Money on Slack?

You can reduce Slack licensing fees by taking advantage of nonprofit discounts or reducing the number of users registered on your Slack license. 

A more effective measure would be hiring a SaaS procurement platform such as Quolum to manage your SaaS subscriptions. 

Is Slack Worth Paying For?

Yes, Slack is worth paying for. However, when subscription costs begin to skyrocket, you should take steps to cut down on licensing payments. 

How Much Does Slack Cost Per Month? 

The Slack Pro plan costs $8.75/user/month if you’re paying monthly and $7.25/user/month for annual subscriptions. 

You can get Business+ for $12/user/month or $15/user/month for annual and monthly payments, respectively. Subscription costs for Slack Enterprise Grid depend on your firm’s needs. 

What Is Quolum?

Quolum is a SaaS procurement platform that assists venture startups with SaaS subscription management via all-in-one management offerings: the Quolum SaaS card, an SaaS Management Platform, and a dedicated SaaS concierge.

About Quolum

Quolum is a full-stack SaaS Spend Management product. Its data-driven renewals, spend controls, license monitoring, contract oversight, and a buying concierge helps companies save millions of dollars in spending.
Quolum is ideal for companies that have hundreds of SaaS tools. Finance, Procurement, IT Teams, and departmental spend owners use Quolum to help manage SaaS sprawl and remove shelf-ware.
Talk to us to get a demo of the product. You can start seeing savings in just a few weeks. No spreadsheets are required.