If you’re just starting your Zapier adventure, the difference between a Zap and a task may seem a little ambiguous. The look at the Zapier pricing table doesn’t help much either.
Yet, they both are an important differentiator of the pricing plans and two of Zapier’s key concepts
So, what are they? And what’s the difference between the two? Let’s find that out!
What is a Zap?
A Zap is an automated workflow that you create inside Zapier. It’s what connects different apps and services. On top of connecting third-party services, every Zap can use different built-in Zapier steps. Those include steps such as filters, scheduling, and code steps.
Here’s what a sample Zap looks like:
Every Zap is made up of a trigger and one or more actions that follow the trigger. Zaps can also be split into different paths, and loops or use filters to stop at a certain point if no condition is met.
How Are the Zaps Counted?
All but the first two Zapier plans allow you to have an unlimited number of Zaps. The free plan comes with just 5, and the starter with 20 Zaps.
Please note that the number of Zaps in draft mode doesn’t count against that limit. So, if you’re on a starter plan, you can have 20 active Zaps and dozens more in draft mode.
But, if you reach the limit and decide to activate another Zap, you’ll either have to upgrade your Zapier plan or turn off one of the other Zaps.
What Is a Task?
A task is every successful action that your Zap performs. For example, if your Zap’s action is to publish a Facebook post – you’ll get charged one task for each post that your Zap publishes. Of course, you get charged for all successful actions in the Zap.
So, if you run a Zap with 8 steps, and they all succeed, you’ll be charged 7 tasks for it (the trigger step is not counted as a task).
Here’s a quick video on tasks straight from Zapier Academy:
How Are the Tasks Counted?
Not all tasks that are in your Zap are counted. For example, the following will not eat up your task allowance:
- A Zap trigger. The first step never counts as a task. This also applies to Sub-Zaps, which use no trigger.
- The above is also true for Zaps that check for data (either every 15 minutes (free and starter), 2 minutes (professional), or 1 minute (team and company plans). If no data is found, you don’t get “charged” either.
- Filter steps that do not pass. In this case, the Zap ends at the action immediately before the filter.
- Any path that didn’t run because its rules weren’t met is not counted as a task.
- A search step that didn’t find anything (and wasn’t set to be considered a success).
- Any step that caused an error or halt. Keep in mind that, you’ll still be charged for each action step before the Zap errored/was halted. As you can see, the cost of both of the below Zaps was 6 tasks – however, they each have a higher number of steps:
Also, please keep in mind that the above rule only includes errored Zaps and those that get halted.
This doesn’t include Zaps with an undesired outcome. Zapier doesn’t know if the outcome it provided isn’t the one you expected. So if the setup is wrong but works – you’ll still be charged for each action step.
What Happens If I Run Out of Tasks?
Zapier will let you know whenever you start getting close to your monthly task limit. Once you hit 80% of that limit, you’ll get an email notification. The same will happen once you run out of tasks.
If you do, you’ll have to wait for them to reset (once a month) or upgrade your plan. As of 2022, you get 750 tasks in the cheapest paid plan available (and 2k in the Professional plan).
However, you can also upgrade just the number of monthly tasks, without changing the plan itself.
One other thing you should do when you run out of tasks is to investigate why it happened. Did you create multiple Zaps and automated so many things that it’s time for an upgrade? Or do you suspect something was wrong with your setup?
For example, if you run out of all Zaps overnight and only have a couple of Zaps in your account… you might be stuck in a Zap Loop. Most of the time, a loop is caused by two Zaps triggering each other.
In this case, you should check your Zap history and see which Zap used up all the tasks. Then, edit them to remove the loop before the task reset (or before you make any changes to your payment plan).
Also, to avoid a situation where all your Zaps are stopped, it’s important to monitor your task usage. That way, you can assess your new Zaps, spot trends, and decide whether it’s time for an upgrade before you run out of tasks.
Start Automating Your Work with Zapier
When you’re a beginner, Zapier can feel a little bit overwhelming. But, once you wrap your head around it, you can automate a lot of your daily mundane tasks. Of course, if you want to save even more time, you don’t have to do it all yourself.
Instead, hire a Zapier Consultant who knows the ins and outs of the platform.
If you want to start using automation to start saving time and money in your business – let’s talk. Schedule a quick discovery call and let’s discuss your Zapier automation needs.
Hey, I’m Jacek. I’m the founder and Chief Automator at Clickleo.com
I’m on a mission to help you use automation to reclaim your time and achieve more in your business.
You can find out more about me – and why I started Clickleo – over on this page