Of the two web sites I've done on the side, I haven't really had to face a maintenance situation where the client would need frequent updates to the site. But I need to be prepared when that does happen and I'd like suggestions on charging. The easiest thing would be to charge hourly. But it seems like a monthly fee might work to your advantage. Some months there may be little to do, while others might be a bit more intense. But if the fee were right, you'd still come out ahead. Any suggestions on monthly fees, or other options?
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A company I work for gets $1000 a month from a car dealership. This covers database updates (must be done manually, they just send an email everytime they add or subtract a car) advertising and submission on directories, ffas, search engines, minor site changes, etc.
When we do maintenance, we usually charge an hourly fee of around $25-30/hr or fraction thereof. I find that this works well, as it can accurately measure the amount of time you put in to maintaining a site.
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I think invoicing the company for the amount of time you spend is the best idea, but some are going to prefer a flat monthly charge just as some like to know in advance exactly what they are paying for the original design.
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I think it all depends...billing hourly is safer for you, but if you have a good relationship with the client and trust them to not overload you with a bunch of updates (or if you're sure they can't possibly have much to update with), then it might be to your advantage to charge monthly...
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You could give your client the option of of choosing either monthly or hourly, depending on their forecasted needs.
Offer them a monthly service that includes up to 5 hours of work for $100.. and every hour after that is $30. You could have different levels of service, etc..
Most serious companies will choose the monthly contract and retain your services. The ones that don't will be charged the premium. If they use more than 3 hours, then it's worth it to do the monthly..
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