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View Full Version : How much to charge for web site maintenance?



lovinglinux
November 9th, 2010, 12:35 AM
There is a medium sized company owned by someone I know that wants to hire me to maintain their site.

The site is CMS based and although is not an e-commerce site, most of the updates will be to include new products, update client lists and such. Additionally the work require a lot of image manipulation, since their photographer sucks. It might also include some design modifications and obviously, database maintenance. It does not include hosting.

I was charging $20 an hour for small jobs, which I am not sure if was overpriced. I have no idea how much to charge for a contract to do all the web site maintenance. I'm also afraid they will overload me with tasks, which already happened before. So I want to charge a fair price, but also avoid becoming a slave, since I have other things to do.

cgroza
November 9th, 2010, 12:38 AM
25$/h?
EDIT!

lovinglinux
November 9th, 2010, 12:38 AM
25$?

The company won't accept a hour rate. They want to establish a fixed price.

TSJason
November 9th, 2010, 01:23 AM
You will need to establish the maximum amount of time you are willing to work on this project every month and correlate that with an hourly rate. You might make it clear that any number of hours over that will be charged a premium (to help discourage them from overworking you).

wojox
November 9th, 2010, 01:31 AM
Customer: "How much to charge for web site maintenance?"

Wojox: "How much you got?"

:lolflag:

lovinglinux
November 9th, 2010, 01:33 AM
You will need to establish the maximum amount of time you are willing to work on this project every month and correlate that with an hourly rate. You might make it clear that any number of hours over that will be charged a premium (to help discourage them from overworking you).

It won't work because they are not willing to pay my current hourly rate (which I am not sure if I'm overpricing) and they expect site updates whenever the ask for. So I will have to find out a month fee without hour restrictions that is fair for both parties. I really could use this extra money, so I really want to close the deal.

lovinglinux
November 9th, 2010, 01:34 AM
Customer: "How much to charge for web site maintenance?"

Wojox: "How much you got?"

:lolflag:

:)

Dustin2128
November 9th, 2010, 01:34 AM
Annually? Depending on the work, somewhere in the 20-35K range, possibly more if its labor intensive.

Quadunit404
November 9th, 2010, 02:05 AM
If you think $20 may be overpriced, try a bit lower. Perhaps a fixed rate of $15?

Just keep trying until you find a rate the client will accept. There's no harm in doing so :wink: (or, at least, there shouldn't be)

Old_Grey_Wolf
November 9th, 2010, 02:27 AM
You seem to know something about what the changes are. Offer them a contract that states you will do modifications for x number of new products in a month, and x number of image manipulations per month for a given price. If they go over those numbers, they pay more. Or you could offer them a contract for $ for each new product added, and $ for each image manipulation. The design modifications and database maintenance that you mentioned do not provide quantifiable information; therefore, unless you can get specifics, you have to bid those as $ dollars per hour. If you can define what design modifications you can offer and database maintenance services you can offer; then, you may be able to put a cost to it for x of this at $ dollars. If they go over those numbers, they pay more. Or you could specify $ dollars per instance for these design modifications and database maintenance services you offer.

I don't know what the rate for this work is in Brazil.

It is hard to turn down a job; however, a contract you agree to should protect you as well as the company you are contracting with.

Dragonbite
November 9th, 2010, 03:01 AM
It won't work because they are not willing to pay my current hourly rate (which I am not sure if I'm overpricing) and they expect site updates whenever the ask for. So I will have to find out a month fee without hour restrictions that is fair for both parties. I really could use this extra money, so I really want to close the deal.

How much time do you think what they want you to do will take? Then multiply it by 1.5 or more because nothing takes only as long as you want it to. ;)

Once you come up with a reasonable hours expected, then apply your $20 per hour rate.

If you are going to drop the rate, then make sure you are in control of some aspects so you aren't working to death, such as each update needs to have a 2 week lead time (for you to fit it in your schedule, prep, etc.) or must be spelled out in written form (to avoid scope-creep).

The less they want to pay you, the more you need to make sure it doesn't waste your time with multiple, minute detail and changes.

Also, pre-define what counts as an "update" (such as content-only) and anything that requires code or theme modification is done on an project-by-project basis.

101011010010
November 9th, 2010, 03:07 AM
Hello.
Have you tried surfing some Employment Agency sites? They might have something similar. You could also look for some Tech Company sites, that do this work and see what they charge. Only a thought.
Good luck.

Gremlinzzz
November 9th, 2010, 03:24 AM
There is a medium sized company owned by someone I know that wants to hire me to maintain their site.

The site is CMS based and although is not an e-commerce site, most of the updates will be to include new products, update client lists and such. Additionally the work require a lot of image manipulation, since their photographer sucks. It might also include some design modifications and obviously, database maintenance. It does not include hosting.

I was charging $20 an hour for small jobs, which I am not sure if was overpriced. I have no idea how much to charge for a contract to do all the web site maintenance. I'm also afraid they will overload me with tasks, which already happened before. So I want to charge a fair price, but also avoid becoming a slave, since I have other things to do.

Life is short do the other things!
[ since I have other things to do]

lovinglinux
November 9th, 2010, 05:27 AM
Thanks for all the feedback.


Annually? Depending on the work, somewhere in the 20-35K range, possibly more if its labor intensive.

I don't think they are willing to get even close to that. But I don't expect to be a full time job, otherwise I'm screwed :)


If you think $20 may be overpriced, try a bit lower. Perhaps a fixed rate of $15?

Just keep trying until you find a rate the client will accept. There's no harm in doing so :wink: (or, at least, there shouldn't be)

If I keep trying, they will settle for $1 :)


It is hard to turn down a job; however, a contract you agree to should protect you as well as the company you are contracting with.

Indeed is hard to turn down a job. My fear is that they will keep pushing for lower rates and I will accept anyway. I have some leverage tho, since some time ago they decided to do the job internally and I helped the person responsible for it for a while. I guess now they realize is not that easy to maintain a site, if you don't have the skills and time to do it.


How much time do you think what they want you to do will take? Then multiply it by 1.5 or more because nothing takes only as long as you want it to. ;)

Indeed.


Hello.
Have you tried surfing some Employment Agency sites? They might have something similar. You could also look for some Tech Company sites, that do this work and see what they charge. Only a thought.
Good luck.

I will look into it, thanks.


Life is short do the other things!
[ since I have other things to do]

:lol:

mcduck
November 9th, 2010, 08:53 AM
I charge 40/h (not including taxes) for updating/maintenance of web sites, and clearly that's not too much.

Anyway, the main rule is that you never, ever want to have a contract that doesn't define the amount of work included. Not even if it was the greatest job on earth.

If they want fixed price, then the contract must have limits for the amount of monthly work they can give you without paying extra. If you can't come up with suitable limits they agree with, then paying by the hour is the only option.

And like others have already said, if they want fixed payment then you just calculate that based on the amount of work defined in the contract.

If the client doesn't agree with such contract, you simply don't take the job. Really. Not even if it 's the job of your dreams. Agreeing to do undefined amount of work for a fixed price is never a good move. :)

(if you still decide to accept a contract with no limits on the work amount, then you should get paid like it was a full-time job. They can throw you enough work that you actually need to work full time on it, so you should get paid accordingly. )

sanderd17
November 9th, 2010, 10:37 AM
Make only a contract for 1 month and evaluate the amount of work and the price after that month.

Drenriza
November 9th, 2010, 10:48 AM
There is a medium sized company owned by someone I know that wants to hire me to maintain their site.

The site is CMS based and although is not an e-commerce site, most of the updates will be to include new products, update client lists and such. Additionally the work require a lot of image manipulation, since their photographer sucks. It might also include some design modifications and obviously, database maintenance. It does not include hosting.

I was charging $20 an hour for small jobs, which I am not sure if was overpriced. I have no idea how much to charge for a contract to do all the web site maintenance. I'm also afraid they will overload me with tasks, which already happened before. So I want to charge a fair price, but also avoid becoming a slave, since I have other things to do.

Try think the following.

#1 figur out how many hours your gonna use on this pr month.
if we say your gonna use 10 hours a week = 40hours a month, your this far.
#2 figur out how much your going to charge pr hour. Lets say 20$.
This is a fixed price of 800$ pr month.
#3 so for 800$ pr month they can get 40 hours of work.
#4 if you surpass the 40 hours limit. #1 charge them a premium rate 30$ pr hour (based on a pr hour hire) #2 edit the contract to make more hours avaliable to them, prehaps 50 hours pr month, and then also = fixed price of 1.000$ pr month.
#5 if they use less hours pr month then 40 hours. Edit the contract to fit their needs.

And to answer your question. No 20$ for a medium compagny is not overprice. If it was me i would charge 30-40$ as my standard rate and then 25-50% extra as my premium rate.

t.rei
November 9th, 2010, 10:48 AM
There are laws regulating what needs to be written down on a contract. At least in germany there are. And they are really detailled. So it's very easy to end up with an invalid contract just because:
- Work time not specified (even in "fulltime" jobs!)
- Line of Work must be specified (and all fields included or expected to be)
- Payment must be specified
- Termination rules must be specified
- Option Retirement Regulations must be...
... blablabla
sry I am no lawyer. But thats the way it is.

lovinglinux
November 9th, 2010, 07:59 PM
Hey guys, thanks a lot for all the suggestions.

I just received confirmation from the company that the deal is on, based on my previously charged hourly rate. That was unexpected, because they complained a lot about the costs in the past.

:popcorn:

Dustin2128
November 9th, 2010, 11:11 PM
I don't think they are willing to get even close to that. But I don't expect to be a full time job, otherwise I'm screwed :)

oh, if its a part time, I say 20k is your highest bet, somewhere between that and 10k.

t.rei
November 10th, 2010, 12:55 PM
That was unexpected, because they complained a lot about the costs in the past.


They always do.

Evil-Ernie
November 10th, 2010, 01:35 PM
I think for a start you need to draw up an expected level of service they would require if they want you on call for a monthly fee, until you know exactly what amount of work is involved it will be very difficult to quote.

Ask for a log of 'jobs' they did over a period of a month to upkeep the site, use that to work out roughly how many man hours of work is expected to maintain it. That will be your basis for your rate.

What you dont want to do is underquote and end up taking on an agreement where you are spending 40 hours a week working for a montly fee of a $100!!

lovinglinux
November 10th, 2010, 02:49 PM
I think for a start you need to draw up an expected level of service they would require if they want you on call for a monthly fee, until you know exactly what amount of work is involved it will be very difficult to quote.

Ask for a log of 'jobs' they did over a period of a month to upkeep the site, use that to work out roughly how many man hours of work is expected to maintain it. That will be your basis for your rate.

What you dont want to do is underquote and end up taking on an agreement where you are spending 40 hours a week working for a montly fee of a $100!!

Thanks, but the issue has been resolved already.

Dragonbite
November 10th, 2010, 04:41 PM
Thanks, but the issue has been resolved already.

You'll still want to nail down just WHAT is covered by your price, and when something costs additionally.

For example, they could decide they want to move the site to java (or .NET) for some reason (usually the owner's nephew or somebody plays with it) and you don't know Java (for the sake of argument). Does that money include education on the new language? Or hiring an experienced programmer to handle it? Worst case would be if thye say "we're paying you, you figure it out" and you're stuck with either bill. That can quickly eat at your "higher" pay rate.

stobbsm
November 10th, 2010, 06:16 PM
I maintain a site that is much the same. Irregular updates, but at least 2 a week, with as much as 30 (still in a week).

I charge them $500 a month, but have the restriction that it is through the CMS only. If they want anything besides updates, log rotating, etc, an hourly rate is applied ($40/h).

The non-included stuff are for things like template changes, app integration (facebook, twitter, etc) or anything above security updates.

They need to realize that even if it is not intensive work, your expertise is in demand and you should be paid fairly for your time.

ps. I have scripts that rotate and email me the logs every week, which saves the client some money and adds to the value of your rate.

Dragonbite
November 10th, 2010, 06:44 PM
That's good info. I like hearing what people are doing in the real world.