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I'm managing a Google Suite environment, for example, for company example.com. At the moment I'm managing it via the owner@example.com email address. But what I want, if possible, is to manage it via my own Google account, for example me@gmail.com.

When I try to add my own email address as administrator I receive the following warning message:

User does not exists.

Is this possible?

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Unfortunately it is not possible. You must create a new email address within the same domain as administration account.

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    Which means you will be paying Google an extra $12/month just to have the admin account??? – Michael Jun 19 '20 at 1:03
  • Yep, at the time being in 2016. I don't know if anything did change in the meantime. – maartenpaauw Jun 21 '20 at 7:22
  • It does seem to be possible now. See the other answer in this question, under "Using a free (unpaid) Cloud Identity account". – Simon East Jul 27 at 5:20
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In the simple way you describe, it is not possible; i.e., one may not add user@other-domain.com to domain.com as an administrator.

If you only want an unpaid (no email, storage, etc.) account with superadmin privileges to manage the domain, you can use the "Cloud Identity" service. You could also use a sub-domain, but that comes with many caveats. I've both explained below.

1. Using a free (unpaid) Cloud Identity account

Using the free-tier of the Google Cloud Identity service, it is possible to have a free administrator account within domain.com. This account will not be licensed for any paid Google services, but may still be used to log in to the Google Admin Console, etc.

  1. Log in to the Google Admin console with a user which has sufficient permissions to create and assign whatever admin role you require for the new user.

  2. Add the free-tier of the "Cloud Identity" service using [fly-out side menu] > Billing > Get more services, choose Cloud Identity in the left column, then Cloud Identity Free. The free "Cloud Identity" service will be added to every user. Depending on the license assignment configuration for domain.com, the Admin console may offer help to disable automatic-licenses (which will matter for the new user you are about to create, as you do not want it to receive any licenses for paid services). There is information about automatic licensing here.

  3. Create a new account. Ensure it has no Google licenses assigned. In the Admin roles and privileges section of the user configuration, assign whatever roles and privileges are necessary; in this case, perhaps superadmin. There is documentation on this, "Make a user an admin".

  4. Optional After ensuring the new account works, remove superadmin privileges from the other paid service accounts. Obviously, you can create as many free administrative accounts as you require.

I strongly recommend all the standard security practices for the administrator account, such as 2FA or security devices, etc.

The Google "Super administrator account best practices" article is quite helpful, and discusses organization admins and roles, discouraging super admin usage, etc.

2. Considering using a "secondary domain"

It may be possible if you add other-domain.com as a "secondary domain" of domain.com, but this comes with various implications and limitations. The documentation is plentiful, but not particularly clear with examples and I would worry about causing confusion for the users of each domain. I suspect the domains will not be as separate as might be prefered. The documentation on Add multiple domains or domain aliases, contains:

If you own another domain, you can add it to your Google Workspace or Cloud Identity account. For example, you manage multiple businesses or brands, each with their own domain. Depending on your needs, you add a domain as a domain alias or a secondary domain.

And, in the section no "secondary domains" it also contains:

Manage separate teams of users or businesses at different domains

For example, you signed up for Google Workspace with your-company.com (your primary domain). You manage a team that has their own domain, other-company.com. You add other-company.com as a secondary domain to your Google Workspace account.

Which both sound helpful with respect to dealing with multiple domains.

However, further on, that documentation also mentions "Pay for each user account", which seems to imply your-company.com will be billed for the services used by other-company.com. This seems to confirm it:

Important: Some information and features are linked only to your primary domain. For example, you can't set up a separate billing address or company logo for a secondary domain.

So, as someone simply managing a domain (as a consultant, contractor, IT support, etc.) for a business, I would stay away from secondary domains. (i.e., Do not add another company's domain as a secondary for the purpose of managing it.)

"Secondary domains" seem more about different names or brands or units for a single business.

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    I set this up using the 'Cloud Identity' approach described half way down. IMO, that's the real answer here, and it worked like a charm. This actually solves a lot of problems for me where I needed to provide access for contractors and other external users, but didn't want or need to pay for GMail, etc. – zanerock Jun 2 at 16:57

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