So I’m preparing to quote my first RW job (I’ve done 5 sites so far, 3 for my business/ventures and 2 for others, alas, pro-bono) and I would love to get some advise from established RW designers: do’s and don’ts, itemization tips, best practices, avoid caveats, quote maintenance jobs, changes, etc. etc.
The only advice I’d give to someone starting out us don’t give your hosting away to another business.
Get yourself a VPS with a GREAT hosting company, maybe offer them a retainer to fully manage it for you.
Then host the sites you build for clients yourself for a monthly fee.
Depending on your client base most will want you to do it all anyway, so you might as well take their $/£/€20 a month.
My business model is cheap sites hosted by me. My monthly hosting income forms my basic income, the money I get for building sites is my bonus.
It never ceases to amaze me how most developers focus on getting a one-hit fee from clients in the form of the initial development charge but then hand the monthlies away to someone else.
Granted if you are doing corporate work they will want to use their own servers, but IMO most RW users making commercial sites service the SME sector who generally want you to take care of everything and think nothing of paying 20 plus a month for their website.
Then of course, you can bump the monthlies up by selling them a management contract. Mine start at €100 a month and including hosting and a couple of hours a month update/dev time.
On average 80% of my clients host with me and of them 30% are on a management contract.
In my opinion this is where the real money is made.
I would advise just the opposite. Sell your work, not the work of others.
I have always stayed away from re-selling webhosting, affiliate programs of printers and the like. For three main reasons:
I want my clients to believe in my recommendations to be unbiased. If I recommend a hosting service or a printer, I want them to know that I do this out of conviction, not paid.
I am proud of my work and I want to be paid for what I know and what I do. I am an expert in communication. That is what should be most important to my clients. And that is what they should want to pay me for. Yes, WANT. Not “accept that they have to”. And that is what I want to be responsible for.
There is a reason why I don’t produce cars. I have no real clue about cars. I can drive them and maybe talk about them. But I can’t build or repair them. I don’t want to be held liable for the failure of a service that I don’t oversee.
Plus I find it has a taste of dishonesty to sell something for more than it would cost the client if they purchased directly - which they could without losing any expertise. If they ask me for a recommendation, I can give one and they will pay for that advice rather than for a provision that they don’t know of.
Think of the plenty of portal pages on the web that claim to give you a fair comparison of mobile phone tariffs, energy contracts, insurances - whatever. They all get provision for what they recommend. I don’t trust these and I don’t want to be standing in that light.
Each to their own MF. I see the act of pointing a client at a hosting company and telling them to give said company their money as nuts. You are literally turning away regular money. But hey, everyone runs their business in different ways, so horses for courses etc.
I tell them to use my hosting for this very reason: I know what my servers runs, how it’s configured and how may clients are on each. I can’t say that for any of the hosting companies, so in my book my service is the best.
But that is exactly what you are doing by recommending a hosting company over which you have zero control!
I don’t even understand that comment in the context of this thread. Aside to the fact that what you have described is pretty much the fundamental basis of almost all retail, how does it relate to this thread?
Maybe I misunderstood your hosting service concept. I thought you would re-sell a hosting you bought from a webhosting company. That is of course something different than really setting up your own servers including all the infrastructure.
I rent a few VPS servers from a small local company and host most of my clients websites (that I build) on them. I dictate the setup on these servers and control how many clients are on each. I pay a company to manage these servers for me as I’ve no interest in doing it myself.
My clients never have access to the servers, most don’t even know what a server is. I charge from £10-30 a month for this service, depending on the type of site they have.
I’ve no idea if that is classed as reselling or not. I certainly don’t rent space on my servers to other or host websites I don’t build on them.
I’ve gone the shared hosting services for my clients (at their cost) before and it’s nothing but trouble, as you have zero control over anything. I’ve also gone the “shared VPS” route with a hosting company and paid them to manage it, but that didn’t work out either for various reasons. The way I do things now is the only way I have 100% control, plus I make a good profit from the hosting service too.
I share in your principled stance too. Nonetheless, I do foresee the business requirement specially among SMEs, who seek a 100% hands-off, fully outsourced service to a single entity that is best equipped to respond expeditiously to assured tech issues with hosting in their behalf (the added value). I just think it’s a matter of of transparency when you quote and subscribe contracts with said clients, stating in writing clearly what subcontracted services they are acquiring from you, the added value they get for the markups you charge, and the liability limitations that you assume. That said, I’m probably not going to offer hosting on my fits gig but I have it on my strategic roadmap. Thank you both @therealmf and @TemplateRepo.
ok, so I had definitely misunderstood your earlier post. Sorry bout that. No doubt that if you’re doing all the work on these servers, it is fair that you make money out of that. I’ve just seen so many of these other folks renting some webhosting space and selling that on to clients. That’s a different story.
I find this to be right on from my own strategic stance. Template fillers abound, and per-page quoters: “About Us”, “Contact Us” web agencies too. I came up wit this positioning statement:
“I provide web strategy, which results in the creation of the site that you need.”
*which its not always the site that you think you want
Because most often an order comes from a customer thinking they need an e-commerce site when in reality they haven’t even identified their buying persona.
I found this resource: freelance-rates
There is a long learning curve for sure, for every stack to master even. I just almost walked from a pro
For pricing perspective, should RW designers quote differently from web developers i.e. less? Do you disclose code origin if you’re using frameworks and stacks?