I had an interesting call with Andy at Hike SEO, like me they offer a service, targeted at both website owners and agencies. Although a different service our audience is similar and during the conversation the same type of issues raised their head, the main one being charging.
Both Andy and I have been asked, too many times to remember the same question “How much should I charge my client?” We both agreed, it’s not really something we can answer. There are so many factors involved, how much you initially charged for the website, what you need to earn, what your customer is looking for and what value your clients puts on the service you provide.
But it did get me thinking more about how we charge our clients and I have used that knowledge to attempt to get it down in this post to help you work out what you should charge. Use this as a guide for charging, as food for thought and nothing else.
Costs to offer basic Care Plans
You will need at least 2 services to provide basic Care Plans. Something to manage and monitor the WordPress websites and something to manage client queries. As per the 5 Day Up To Date Challenge, I recommend ManageWP to manage the sites, unlike the challenge the costs are based on a ManageWP Bundle which is not free and provides you with:
• Daily Backups
• Uptime monitoring
• Vulnerability scanning
• And more….
To effectively deal with customer queries I recommend you use a Help Desk rather than just email. GrooveHQ is the help desk we’re currently using – but there are others, TeamWork Desk, Help Scout and ZenDesk to name a few.
ManageWP £120.00 Monthly Up to 100 sites
Help Desk £20.00 Monthly Per user
The monthly cost to provide the basic service is £140.00 (approx).
Now your time
Now you need to add the cost of your time. If you have 50 websites you will be looking at spending at least 20 hours per month doing maintenance alone (that’s just 24 minutes per website per month). So if your rate is £55.00 per hour this works out £1,100 per month.
If you provide edits to the site and to deal with other issues we need to allow some time for this. Based on my experience 50 websites is going to generate between 10 and 15 calls per month. So we need to include (at least) another £550.00 per month for your time dealing with edits and other requests.
Now your hourly rate is not something you are actually going to charge your own company, but if your time is taken up doing maintenance and dealing with simple queries then this could be considered a loss, especially if it stops you doing your more valuable work or means you end up working late evenings and/or weekends.
Total cost to provide basic Care Plans on 50 websites is therefore £1,772.50 per month. Based on providing nothing but a basic Care Plan.
Charging your customers
Based on these figures you need to be charging at least £35.45 per site per month, just to cover your costs and your time – don’t forget this only covers basic Care Plans if you are offering other services you need to include the charges to.
View our guide on how to setup charging for your Care Plans.
Hopefully this gets the thought processes started and you will be able to effectively cost your basic Care Plans and any other plans you want to offer will cost you to provide.
How you use this to charge your clients is down to you. Even if you decide not to charge and continue updating sites for free, you will know how much it costs you and your business.
Alternatively you could look at out sourcing the work completely. Read my post, Why Out Source your Care Plans here.