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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
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    Example maintenance Agreement

    HI Guys, I am working on giving my clients the added services of a maintenance agreement. In other words, they pay me monthly (like a retainer) to maintain their site and give them advice.

    Can anyone share either a sample maintenance agreement or one they actually use. I am trying to cover all my bases so that they do not try and abuse my time.
    THanks!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru hifigrafix's Avatar
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    This agreement doesn't need to be very long. Just outline what your ARE and ARE NOT expected to do and HOW MANY HOURS each month you're obligated to do it. Make sure it states that you are allowed to terminate without notice and client must notify you at least 60 days in advance or however you want to work it.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot Wynnefield's Avatar
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    it sounds like a simple email contract signed by both parties should suffice. it sounds like a straight forward consulting agreement to me.

    however, like hifi said, be sure to place a limit on the number of hours per month and the hourly rate you will charge should the number of agreed upon hours be exceeded at the client's request.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard LiquidReflex's Avatar
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    When offering a maintenance package you basically need to think of every problem that could arise from it and include something to either verify or negate it in your contract. Some things to consider:
    • How many hours will be received each month
    • Whether or not the hours roll over to the next month (I'd say no, but you may offer it)
    • What the hours can be used for (this is a big one if you want to limit the use). I had a client that started a monthly maintenance contract but thought they could use the hours for anything. I limited them to only updates to the website as it was already created (no additional additions like a shopping cart, mailing list modules or any large project which would normally be handled on a "per-project" basis over an "hourly" basis.)
    • What will happen if they go over the allowed hours per month (your regular hourly, etc)
    • Whether or not they can add/remove hours to their contract (for the same month, next month, etc)
    • When or how much time needed to cancel a monthly contract if it can be cancelled (ie, must cancel 10 days before the affected month or pay for that month regardless)
    • How requests can be submitted (e-mail, phone, etc)
    • Minimum time blocks (each change is a minimum 15, 30, 1hr increments)
    • Restrictions on when requests can be made (ie, can't submit something at 10pm on the last day of the month to use up the 2 hours they have left)
    • Etc.
    Last edited by LiquidReflex; Aug 15, 2006 at 07:23. Reason: formatting
    Kevin Hauge : Modern Leaf Design : Follow Us on Facebook
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist Unit7285's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejital1
    I am trying to cover all my bases so that they do not try and abuse my time.
    It depends what you're going to include in the monthly maintenance, but specifying maximum hours included can be a double edged sword. You're worried that clients will 'abuse' you. But clients, noticing that they are 'entitled' to 3 hours per month may demand they get their full quota, even if there's really nothing that needs doing.

    Nothing wrong with that you might say, they've paid for it, but there's no point always having to do 3 hours work if 1 hour would sometimes have been enough, for the same fee.

    The alternative is a task-based maintenance agreement with a fixed monthly fee. For example, 'Update News section with up to 5 new stories'; 'Add up to 20 new product descriptions'; 'Check correct operation of all pages'; 'Back up product database' or whatever. All for a fixed monthly fee that is not explicity related to any particular number of hours or hourly rate.

    In any case, an hourly rate is not the best way to charge for intangibles like, for example, a very good idea that you've had, or a timely piece of advice.

    This is how I deal with most of my clients. In eight years I've never had a problem. Some months there may be virtually nothing to do, other months I give exceptional value. But the fee remains the same. If the amount of work required for a particular month can't reasonably be included in the fixed fee then we agree an additional fee. Again, this has never been an issue, and in fact for most clients I don't even discuss additional fees with them in detail, an appropriate amount just goes on the monthly invoice.

    Writing a tight contract and specifying hours and hourly rates may seem like the obvious solution at first sight, but in practice there can be advantages to downplaying the details.


    Paul

  6. #6
    SitePoint Member xtreme1's Avatar
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    I will give them a block of time each month (say 1 hour) at a certain rate. If they don't use the hour during that month, they can accrue up to, say 3 hours, during the length of the agreement. So far it has worked out quite well.
    Jeff Dudley
    SiteByDigital.com
    Powerful Web Solutions for Growing Businesses

  7. #7
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    Thanks alot guys!
    This input is very helpful


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