I will mostly be doing report development using SSRS and Crystal Reports. And some SSIS and T-SQL query writing. Maybe some performance tuning of their systems.

I have the free 2019 SQL Server Developer edition installed on my windows 10 desktop. I don't have crystal reports. Am I legally allowed to do freelance projects for clients with my developer edition.
Or when you do projects like this, what is the normal procedure? I login to their systems remotely, using their SQL systems and licenses? Or make a clone of their system and develop them on my workstation and then provide them with the source and binary files? Do I need to purchase a crystal reports license?

  • Off the top of my head, logging in to their systems remotely would make the licensing issue their problem whereas cloning one of their devices and using the software at home (independent of their systems) would make it your problem.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 12:16

2 Answers 2


Not a licensing expert, but here's my take and what I usually do:

The common practice is, if you're selling the software as a service, you are required to have an actual license (professional, enterprise, etc).

This would be the case had a ready to go service and report that would connect to someones database and get the report done, while charging for it.

However, if you are just developing for someone who's going to be using those services in their own servers, then the developer license is just fine.


Instead of worrying about purchasing the licenses, I suggest making sure that your bids are high enough to cover all your costs including the licenses, purchasing dedicated systems, etc. You also need to make sure that your bids are high enough to cover all the time needed to get projects. The typical change from hourly employment to being a freelance business is 2.5X employment wages and benefits. That is how much extra is needed to cover being in business instead of being an employee.

Edit: removed: SSRS is often an extra expense. The best solution is to purchase an MSDN subscription that includes a lot more stuff.

  • 1
    The MSDN subscription would be nice but it is quite expensive. Seems like it is unnecessary when there are free developer licenses for sql server/ssis/ssrs. How is SSRS often an extra expense?
    – Jason
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 23:57
  • @Jason Yes, you can get developer editions for free. Just keep in mind that your customers need to purchase the production version. If you host any customers, then you are in production and need to buy the production licenses.
    – David R
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 17:12

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