Is it reasonable to charge a new client for moving their site to your hosting?

A new client approached me and asked if I’d take over hosting their site because they’re unhappy with their current hosting.

In looking at the site, there are a few programming changes I’d need to make for it to work on my server - for instance a page with a form to make reservations. Otherwise the site only has about 6 static html pages, and there are a few javascript issues I’d like to remove, and so on…

Is it reasonable to expect to get paid for transferring the site (and making the changes needed) - or is it not an industry standard?

I will be doing some upgrades on the site itself, but that is another issue and they are prepared to pay for that.

I feel like I should be charging for my time to move the site to the new hosting (mine), but I’m wondering if that’s “not done”…

Would appreciate your input on this folks!

Cheers and thanks …

Moving the site… I could go either way on that.

But since moving the site requires you make changes to their code, that’s something you can bill for. Don’t frame it as “charge for moving website” but as normal, paid coding work.

Surely you should charge them for the hosting itself? They’d have to pay this anyway, and from my experience providing hosting is normally more hassle than it’s worth. Any issues they have and you’ll be getting a call, even when for things like configuring some new email software which is really nothing to do with you.

Thanks Dan, that’s very helpful advice on positioning the message.

And yes, Leon, I’m certainly charging for the hosting. You are right about all the work it takes! But I enjoy teaching people how to use their site, and that’s usually what’s involved. That extra effort results in more client referrals, and that’s a good thing.

Any more thoughts on the subject out there??

It’s absolutely reasonable to charge them.
It’s absolutely reasonable not to.

Whether you offer a free service (like moving a site) depends on your business model. Do you want to do the client a favor in hopes of future billing, or is hosting an annoyance and moving the site annoying to you?

Like the others have pointed out you could go either way here, but considering that this is such a small site I don’t think I’d charge anything if I was doing this.

Many web hosts are happy to help move a new client to their servers because they’re getting the business and while it doesn’t take you much time, it’s a nice thing to do that can result in more business as you mentioned.


If you are spending time on something that takes more than X minutes (for me, X=10) then I would charge for it.

Thanks for all the helpful input folks. In the end I did bill for the coding time (thanks again Dan) and the client had no issue with that. It wasn’t much, but it does add up over several clients. This one is more than delighted with the service I provide (promptly making changes and updates, etc.) and in the end I guess that’s what matters most in getting clients to pay their bills!

I don’t know if this will help anyone else, but I offered an option to pay the bill in 2 equal monthly installments and as a small business, the client really appreciated that. I’ve already had a couple of referrals as a result. No actual business yet, but our reputation in the community is growing, and that’s a very good thing.

When you ever need to ask yourself “should I charge for this”, ask another question “am I a charity”, if no then charge your usual base hourly business rate.

Ask a lady of the night if she ever does any work for free. Business is Business :wink:

Of course it’s reasonable to charge, anything you do for a client can be billable hours … just depends on if you WANT to bill them for it. Every company will be different. Personally, since I have my own server, if I am transferring them over (a straight copy, no code modifications, etc) then I will not bill them simply because I going to have them as a client from then on. I’d rather make them happy up front with my service and any additional items would then be billed. It’s not wrong either way, I just prefer to throw in the small things instead of billing for a variety of small items.