Best Practices for controlling workshop costs

Allie Hajian
  • Updated

When running a workshop, you need to be able to show off and teach Terra's capabilities by having people run workflows and notebooks. After the workshop is over, however, you don't want to accidentally continue to accrue GCP charges for storage or compute. This article outlines options for billing for workshop participants and step-by-step instructions for cutting off billing after the workshop.  

Before the workshop: Set up participant billing

If you are able to give pre-workshop instructions, setting up billing ahead of time will save at least fifteen minutes of precious workshop time. You will need to collect the Terra user IDs of all participants (if you're using a workshop billing project).

If you want to use the additional option ($300 GCP credits) make sure to send out a link to  instructions and even follow up with participants beforehand to make sure they have done it. 

Workshop billing project or projects

You can set up a single temporary workshop billing project or a separate billing project for each participant (small workshop) funded by your GCP Billing account. You will add participants manually to the project or projects (preferably before the workshop). The workshop project will show in their drop down menu when they clone a workspace. Make sure to give it a unique name, to help with disabling billing after the workshop!


  • Most foolproof approach, easy for participants, and no extra steps
  • Quick to add people the day of the workshop
  • Only need to disable one project after the event


  • Does not walk users through the process of creating a billing project
  • In order to work on Terra following the workshop, participants will have to set up their own billing and clone their workshop workspace to their billing project 
  • Participants cannot see detailed cost breakdowns or billing reports

Warning: In order to cut off spending after the workshop, you will need to disable the workshop billing project! It is not enough to remove users from the Terra Billing project, which only prevents them from creating a workspace. 

After the workshop: Disable billing for all workshop projects

Warning: To avoid accruing additional charges after the workshop, you must disable billing on the workshop billing project(s). 

Removing users from the Cloud Billing account or Terra Billing project, or removing Terra as a billing account user on the workshop projects is not enough to control costs! 

We repeat - Users can still run workflows and notebooks even after you remove them from the billing project/account.

Note: You need to have “Owner” (Billing Account Administrator) permission of the Google Cloud Billing account in order to follow these instructions. 

If you are not able to follow the directions below, or do not see the options in the screenshots, it is likely because you are not the GCP account owner. You will need to ask for admin privileges to disable billing. This may be the case, for example, if you are using STRIDES or third party resellers such as Onix. 

Removing Google Cloud Billing from the workshop Billing project

Note: What happens when you remove the Cloud Billing account?
Workshop participants wills immediately be unable to access any data stored in the Workspace bucket or Cloud Environment PD, start a workflow or spin up a Cloud Environment in any workspace created with this project. 

Best practices is to give participants ample time and warning to create a clone of their workshop workspace with their own Terra Billing project. 

Step-by-step instructions

1. Go to the Cloud Billing account owner's Billing page in Terra (Main Menu > Profile > Billing).

2. Select the workshop Terra Billing project to disable.

If the red `x` is greyed out, you are not logged into Terra as the Cloud Billing account owner. You will need to ask the owner to remove the Cloud Billing account in Terra. 

3. Click the red `x` to remove Billing Account.

Note: What happens when you remove the Cloud Billing account?
Workshop participants will immediately be unable to access any data stored in the Workspace bucket or Cloud Environment PD, start a workflow or spin up a Cloud Environment in any workspace created with this project. 
You will want to make sure to tell participants who want to be able to access work from the workshop to set up their own billing and copy any of their workspaces under their own billing. 

Why isn't it enough to remove users from a billing account or project? 

When you remove users from the billing account or project, they will not be able to create new workspaces, but they will still be able to run workflows or notebooks, as long as the Terra Billing project is funded.

Another option: Have participants use $300 in Google credits 

In this scenario, participants would go to the GCP console and get access to the $300 getting started credits that Google offers new users. You could give instructions to do this before the workshop, or walk participants through it during the workshop.


  • All workshop costs will be covered by the GCP credits
  • Participants will have plenty of money to spend after the workshop to explore Terra
  • They will have a year to use their credits
  • Participants have full control over their spending and can access detailed billing on GCP


  • Participants have to give their credit card and go through GCP console to access GCP credits
  • Some will not want to give their personal card (have to have a backup)
  • GCP console can be confusing and overwhelming

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