A big chunk of the artists using these indie licenses live in less developed countries, with subscriptions for renderers ranging from 300-600+ Euros per year with no indie pricing anywhere, this leads to a dead end in a lot of cases, when you can create mind blowing stuff but incapable to render it because you can't afford render tokens or the licenses to run on multiple machines.
There are affordable alternatives so I don't really get this line of thinking. Octane is about $20/month, 3Delight is free for a very capable version, and there's always Blender (even if you're using Houdini for sims, they can be sent over and rendered in Blender Cycles fairly easily).
People who know me know that I'm all for speaking up and bringing up criticisms when there's a reason for it. In this particular case I really feel that this isn't an issue -- there are some amazing options available for anyone willing to do a bit of research. I think the primary issue is that far too many people are set in their ways and unwilling to consider other options.
Regarding your particular situation with your client -- this is more of an issue of how you negotiate with your clients and set your work terms than about the cost of external renderers.
I'm just stating the obvious: any current 3D software should have it's own, integrated, proper renderer. That's what Sidefx seems to be working on.
Heck, the renderer nowadays seems to be the most prominent module most companies are focusing on. As I said, Autodesk's and Maxon's major acquisitions in the last few years were render engines. Isotropix made quite a fuss about their "Angie" release, same with Blender's CyclesX or the future of Eevee, there's not much needed to be said about Unreal 5. Nobody is talking about amazing new features in the area of sculpting, modeling, texturing or whatever - because there is almost nothing at this point to present. But for far too long rendering was treated as an after thought.
Btw, I tested 3Delight and found it to be too slow. Octane could be very viable if they didn't impose a moronic 1000x600 pixel limit on the demo, which makes it unfeasible for me to properly test before a project, while the Redshift demo has no resolution limit - but unfortunately for twice the price.
Another thing you should know, even in India, where vfx is a thriving industry, a vfx artist gets an average of 200 Euros a month at top places like DNEG and Co, so go figure what someone working in the local media industry makes, not even speaking of other, less developed countries.
But let's wait what Sidefx was brewing in the meantime. Hopefully we'll see the first iteration of Karma GPU in H19.