One of the most common questions we receive at Staging Pilot is, “How do I price my WordPress maintenance services?” Since it’s not straightforward billable development work, it can get a little complicated, especially when factoring in the costs of a third party service like ours.
We’ve already covered the importance of setting up recurring payments, and we wanted to offer a little insight on how to structure and price your services moving forward.
Options, options, options
We recommend offering at least a couple different types of plans. Creating these kinds of options allows you to provide services to a broader spectrum of clients, as well as create opportunities for making more money for yourself.
Offer at least two plans
Typically, we recommend offering at least two plans: a basic plan and a premium plan. The basic plan should cover the bare minimum, including security and updates. Under a basic plan, if something on the site breaks from an update, your client will have to pay out of pocket for the dev work needed to fix the issue.
For example, let’s say you’ve built a WooCommerce site for a client, and they’ve opted in for the basic plan. We’re keeping the site updated, but the latest version of WooCommerce breaks the site when it updates. StagingPilot notifies you about this break immediately (before it goes live), which gives you an opportunity to assess the issue and create a quote. From there, you can reach out to your client with an estimated cost of time it will take for you to fix the issue, and move from there.
The basic plan works great for small businesses and for simple site setups. By providing a lower cost option, you’ll still have money coming in, as well as opportunities for additional work with clients you are already working with.
Let your clients level up
When it comes to a premium plan, you can give that a high value by essentially building insurance into the plan details. It should include basics, but also cover the cost of fixing whatever breaks. You can roll the time it may take to fix something into the price of the plan. You already know your hourly rate, and you can use that as a base for boosting the price.
One thing you’ll want to note: developers take on more risk with offering the premium option. As we all know, sometimes a fix takes way longer than we’d like, so if a client has picked the premium plan and the fix is unwieldy, the cost may not cover the entire fix. We still believe this is worth offering, because it’s unlikely that your client’s site will be breaking with every single update. In the long run, it generally works out in your favor. There are months you won’t have too much to do. The occasional break may, on the surface, seem like more time given than the cost, but if most months are spent cooling your heels, you’re making money for no extra work at all. It balances out.
So many clients are risk-averse, and would rather you fix the site then have to worry about approving additional costs or dealing with excessive downtime, which negatively affects their business. Providing a premium plan is a win-win for everyone.
You don’t have to stop at two, though
You can also create additional plan options (or simply offer them as add-ons) by packaging extra time for development or simple content updates. This is a great way to get paid for small tasks, like those ten minute calls you never feel like you can bill for and provide additional value to your clients.
There’s also the option of offering a customized plan for enterprise level clients, or clients with extremely complex sites. Sometimes you know a site is going to break often because of complex integrations or the tools the client insists on using. Or there’s the occasional client who needs a higher level of engagement from you and wants to feel confident about your turnaround time. In these cases, it makes sense to charge more (and in turn, offer more) than you would with something like the baseline premium plan.
While you’ll have to structure the details, offering a variety of options allows you to provide options that serve the needs of a variety of clients and allows you to detail exactly what kind of commitments you’re willing to make.
The actual costs
You know what we’re going to say: charge what you’re worth.
There are a variety of WordPress maintenance providers out there, and you want your cost to be competitive. Of course, you should factor in the cost of any third party services used, like StagingPilot. Lastly, you need to calculate how much time you will spend being the middleman between StagingPilot and your client (factor in the setup, too!).
Add that all up, and you’ve got your baseline price.
For the insurance plan, we recommend taking your billable rate and adding to that the cost of risk for a last minute fix. Maybe that means adding an estimated five to fifteen hours per month. It will be different for each site, as you know that every site has its quirks, depending on its complexity, so you’ll have to assess individually what that premium pricing looks like.
As we mentioned before, If the site breaks twice a year, but you’ve successfully sold your client a premium site, you’ll be bumping up your revenue big time, with very little loss.
Okay, I’ve figured out my plans and my pricing. Now what?
Now it’s time to set up your services page, detailing exactly what each plan offers and their respective benefits. Remember: while the premium plan is a boon for you, the basic plan is going to be a better fit for some of your clients (and is more hands off for you), so don’t undersell it! Focus on the benefits of each plan and make it clear that they serve different needs.
Now that you know how to price your services, get to work! If you want more guidance about getting started with StagingPilot, including assistance on pitching these services to your clients, sign up for our email course that walks you through it step-by-step. If you have specific questions, drop them in the comments or, of course, you can always get in touch.