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Super User I Super User I
Super User I

Website, Client and Account Support (with GoDaddy Pro)

When we first started we offered an optional maintenance plan to support clients after our web design services were completed and their website was launched. Our method was a 90 day, training and bug fix/tweak with each website we did. After the 90 day period we would present the client with a report detailing what activities were performed against their website for that period of time and suggest the appropriate maintenance plan. Some naturally required more hours and some required less but we let that serve as a baseline. We had some clients recognize that a maintenance plan was beneficial and others did not.

 

Usually those who did not choose a maintenance plan would contact us at a later date because something went wrong with their website. Maybe it was something they did, maybe it was something we did, a question, a website breach, update gone wrong, change... but there was usually a call. Some would call two years later and we would find that they were on software versions that were the same as when we installed their website. For whatever reason they would contact us it meant that when we again offered them a maintenance plan or charged an hourly fee to update their website. For those who paid it gave them the feeling that within the next month regardless of the issue we would fix it. You know those clients that say "Oh, I thought that was the same thing I already paid you for." We have found that clients on maintenance plans were relatively quiet as we never have an issue doing the underlying stuff like updates, code checks, changes... but others were a bear to deal with.

 

About three years ago we came to the point where we only offer our web design services to clients who choose one of our web maintenance plans. We now know that all work we have out is a true reflection of our design and who we are as a company. Our clients benefit because they have more convenient access to updates, contact, changes... We feel like everyone wins.

 

Regardless of the client's chosen hosting platform it was easier or harder depending on the company they selected. Within our design and maintenance agreement our client guarantees us access to their hosting so that we can promptly perform our services or updates. Our preference for clients on a maintenance plan was to host them on a server that we controlled but GoDaddy Pro has changed that a bit. We are happy that the access is now at a point where we feel no inconvenience when a client chooses our maintenance plan and hosting with GoDaddy. Now having a customer who chooses GoDaddy means that we have less work on the backend and don't have to worry about hosting them ourselves.

 

GoDaddy Pro has thankfully changed how we access our maintenance client accounts. We now offer a maintenance plan for clients that choose GoDaddy hosting and it have greatly increased our client pool. How has GoDaddy Pro changed your client support options?

 

...turns out that my two cents is worth less or more depending on the current exchange rate.

roy darling *my posts seem a lot shorter in my head

6 REPLIES 6
Rockstar I Rockstar I
Rockstar I

Re: Website, Client and Account Support (with GoDaddy Pro)

I am also moving to a required maintenance plan with my clients.  One, better clients want maintenance while many of the "just-to-get-by" clients turn into hard to handle clients.  While you may not get as many clients, you get better quality clients.

 

The second reason that I like the maintenance is that it provides me a framework for scheduling my time.  For example, I use  a service, ManageWP,  to help keep my sites updated.  I know that if I add a premium plugin or a new theme that I have to allocate a bit of time each month to make sure that my premium plugins are in place for ManageWP to update the sites.  I ftp all the required files to one of my GoDaddy hosting accounts to provide ManageWP the location to access/install the updates. So, by centralizing all of my WP resources on my designated GoDaddy server, I manage multiple client accounts in a much more efficient way.

 

I have both a reseller and a Pro account.  I'm hashing through the advantages of each right now to determine which route best suites my business model.  The Pro account definitely has some very nice features like the shopping list!

 

Hope this helps!

_________________________

James

www.videowebsystems.net

Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites
Super User I Super User I
Super User I

Re: Website, Client and Account Support (with GoDaddy Pro)

In business there is no real guarantee but having clients on a maintenance plan gives a better idea of our incoming revenue stream. I actually started to hire a team based off of client maintenance agreements. A contracted maintenance hour is tied directly to an employee hour who is the direct contact for that client. For me the contracted income is more important than the one time client as maintenance contracts is how payroll is met every month.

I see a liability of sorts for clients who do not have consistent maintenance and I'd rather protect my client from that kind of thing. I also see a badly maintained website as a negative advertisement for my company. I realize that mandating a maintenance plan is a bit of a luxury as it appears to be a premium service and your client may not be able to quantify the benefit. Clients who do not have a maintained website will wish they had the indifference of a maintenance plan when something goes awry.

If clients are already invested in GoDaddy hosting and services we are happy to offer them a maintenance plan without moving them. It is important to know that we charge a bit of a premium for our GoDaddy Maintenance package as certain changes mean contacting support (and waiting) rather than our convenience of hosting them on servers we directly control. Either is fine for us so it really depends on the client. There are other hosting services that we will not work with however who shall remain nameless.

...turns out that my two cents is worth less or more depending on the current exchange rate.

roy darling *my posts seem a lot shorter in my head

Advocate VI Advocate VI
Advocate VI

Re: Website, Client and Account Support (with GoDaddy Pro)

This is all excellent info, as I am also considering moving to a different strategy for maintenance.

Do you have pages on your website(s) that outline what is included in maintenance packages, and the pricing? I have seen things ranging from $5/month to $50/month and more... just wondering what others consider reasonable.

Advocate I Advocate I
Advocate I

Re: Website, Client and Account Support (with GoDaddy Pro)

I've gone back and forth on our maintenance packages. We're in a similar situation where we are small enough that income changes every month - so a regular monthly agreement would be nice - but lucky enough that we keep quite busy and don't require it. The problem for us is maintaining it on a regular basis and making sure that the client gets what they pay for. We're busy enough with new sites that updating a plugin here and there becomes a hassle. It could be argued, though, that having a monthly retainer on these would pay to hire someone else that could manage it and more. It's reaching the threshold that makes sense to bring a new person on for this, who can also debug when something goes wrong.

 

I think more than the above, however, is that most of our clients are the typical one and done. They want the website and they want the cost - but they don't want to pay to maintain it. A good idea? Probably not, but that's what they desire. For this, we're attempting to move to a new program. I'm not sure if you've heard of Growth Driven Design (shameless plug to more info: http://oscwebdesign.biz/services/growth-driven-design/ ) which will allow us to not only provide maintenance on the site but look at how we can increase conversion rates, provide a better, more user friendly site - and not gouge them either. We would typically try to partner this with our inbound marketing services, however that may not be in everyones budget. 

 

To answer the pricing issue that was brought up: it really depends on the services that you are offering. I would personally put an estimate on monthly hours and then limit that. So for a basic client, it might be 3 hours @ $100 per hour. $300/month which would be full price. Then you could sell it on the fact that they will receive priority support if they call in and move them to the top of the list. After that I would discount slightly on the hours, but sell them in chunks, and don't let them roll over to the next month! You could/should list the services that you'll provide in that time as well. Update plugins, make sure the page urls are looking good, check out the 404's and make sure to redirect them - that sort of stuff. It really depends on what you as a freelancer/agency want to offer and what you can handle at the same time.


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Super User I Super User I
Super User I

Re: Website, Client and Account Support (with GoDaddy Pro)

Since our maintenance plans are based on actual hours we offer plans in increments based on a 40 hour work week. How many hours a particular website needs truly depends on the website but our base plan is 10 hours per month and that gives the ability for one full-time employee to handle as many as sixteen (16) clients. Typically we put smaller client hours in a pool and assign a dedicated person to larger accounts so that there is a single point of contact.

We do not publish the pricing for our maintenance plans but clients do receive costing when they receive their website investment proposal. I don't know what we could do for $5/month, typically our plans are prepaid discounted monthly rates. The percentage of discount is greater with our larger plans with our current biggest plan being 80 hours/month which is a half an employee but we can provide any amount of support needed.

When I first started I only was willing to do 160 hours/month so I started by offering only 8 hours/month allowing me to handle twenty (20) maintenance clients. As the slots filled it was difficult to both do my design and development plus handle the maintenance. I hired another person, two people gave us 40 slots and so on. We finally settled on the 10 hours as the base plan finding that was our sweet spot.

Reasonable depends on the client and your ability to provide maintenance hours. What I find is that hours are easy until they aren't. As an example pushing 20 clients to a new WordPress version if there is a major revision changes were difficult considering that we would test, backup and update plus maybe touch the template or plugins as well.

Initially my math went something like standard hourly rate divided by 1.25 (25%) multiplied by the requested maintenance hours. Now our base plan is discounted 1.1 (10%)  As a general rule clients can expect to pay 5 to 10% of their total web design cost as a monthly maintenance fee.

Maintenance is pretty easy once you get into the daily habit of it. Many of our websites are built the same or use the same components so we have a really feel for our days and months.

 

...turns out that my two cents is worth less or more depending on the current exchange rate.

roy darling *my posts seem a lot shorter in my head

Re: Website, Client and Account Support (with GoDaddy Pro)


@rd wrote:

When we first started we offered an optional maintenance plan to support clients after our web design services were completed and their website was launched. Our method was a 90 day, training and bug fix/tweak with each website we did. After the 90 day period we would present the client with a report detailing what activities were performed against their website for that period of time and suggest the appropriate maintenance plan. Some naturally required more hours and some required less but we let that serve as a baseline. We had some clients recognize that a maintenance plan was beneficial and others did not.

Usually those who did not choose a maintenance plan would contact us at a later date because something went wrong with their website. Maybe it was something they did, maybe it was something we did, a question, a website breach, update gone wrong, change... but there was usually a call. Some would call two years later and we would find that they were on software versions that were the same as when we installed their website. For whatever reason they would contact us it meant that when we again offered them a maintenance plan or charged an hourly fee to update their website. For those who paid it gave them the feeling that within the next month regardless of the issue we would fix it. You know those clients that say "Oh, I thought that was the same thing I already paid you for." We have found that clients on maintenance plans were relatively quiet as we never have an issue doing the underlying stuff like updates, code checks, changes... but others were a bear to deal with.

About three years ago we came to the point where we only offer our web design services to clients who choose one of our web maintenance plans. We now know that all work we have out is a true reflection of our design and who we are as a company. Our clients benefit because they have more convenient access to updates, contact, changes... We feel like everyone wins.

Regardless of the client's chosen hosting platform it was easier or harder depending on the company they selected. Within our design and maintenance agreement our client guarantees us access to their hosting so that we can promptly perform our services or updates. Our preference for clients on a maintenance plan was to host them on a server that we controlled but GoDaddy Pro has changed that a bit. We are happy that the access is now at a point where we feel no inconvenience when a client chooses our maintenance plan and hosting with GoDaddy. Now having a customer who chooses GoDaddy means that we have less work on the backend and don't have to worry about hosting them ourselves.

GoDaddy Pro has thankfully changed how we access our maintenance client accounts. We now offer a maintenance plan for clients that choose GoDaddy hosting and it have greatly increased our client pool. How has GoDaddy Pro changed your client support options?