Running n8n automation for clients

Hi,

I tried to find the answer to this from the Terms of Service. Am I allowed to run automations on behalf of my clients? Zapier for example does not allow this and requires that your client buy their own instance of Zapier. How is n8n’s side?

It looks like your topic is missing some important information. Could you provide the following if applicable.

  • n8n version:
  • Database (default: SQLite):
  • n8n EXECUTIONS_PROCESS setting (default: own, main):
  • Running n8n via (Docker, npm, n8n cloud, desktop app):
  • Operating system:

tldr: it depends but probably not, but there are ways “around” it.

Disclaimer, im not a lawyer or part of the n8n team, send the n8n team an email if you aren’t sure, they are always very nice and helpful
That being said, as someone who offers n8n services I have had to figure all of this out.

You can find n8n’s license here and an explanation of it here.

You are allowed to provide consulting services like creating workflows, nodes, providing support, etc. You are NOT allowed to offer n8n as a service. To do that you would need to pay n8n an embedding license fee (which starts at $50,000/year.)

It can get a little blurry because you’re allowed to use n8n for internal business use but you can not offer it as a service to customers without the reseller license, which i strangely cant find the page while googling. With that license you prepay for a certain amount of workflow runs on a monthly basis and can charge whatever you want to host n8n for others.

You could make the argument that if you, for example, make a backend service for a client using n8n, as long as they don’t interact with n8n then that is your “internal business” and it’s allowed. That’s as grey of a situation as I can think of.

Here’s my preferred way of handling this:
I have my clients self host their own instance, if they need the self hosted advantages like custom nodes. If not, they can just pay for the cloud version. I do prefer self hosted for the extra control you have through.
They can hire me as an IT professional to host it for them and can pay me for maintenance, but it will NEVER be in my hosting accounts or in one of my servers, always in the client’s account. Hosting somewhere like linode is only $5 a month.

Then from there you can be hired to make workflows, make nodes, etc. But make sure you’re being honest about if you’re really providing a hosting service. It should be clear and you should have a clear contract with your client stating the limitations of your services related to the license of n8n.

Let me know if you have any questions. That’s kinda a lot of information from a fairly simple question

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n8n’s terms of service may vary, and it’s always best to consult the most current version for accurate information. However, generally speaking, n8n allows users to create and run automations on behalf of clients, as it is a workflow automation tool designed to be used by individuals and businesses to streamline their processes. Unlike some other platforms like Zapier that require each user to have their own instance, n8n typically allows users to create workflows and automate tasks for clients under their account.

That said, it’s essential to review n8n’s terms of service and any specific guidelines or restrictions they may have regarding usage for client work. Additionally, it’s a good practice to communicate clearly with your clients about how you are using n8n on their behalf and ensure that you have their consent to do so.

I actually don’t think this is the case. If “their account” refers to the pros n8n account then I believe that violates the license, though the line may lie on how much interaction the actual client has with n8n.

@Jon or @bartv could we get an official stance on this?

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