There are so many ways to grow your web design business. You can increase pricing, add a new service, or get rid of low-performance services and focus on the ones that are bringing in the most revenue. One of the easiest ways to grow your business, however, is by adding WordPress maintenance plans!
In this article, I’ll dive into:
What is a WordPress maintenance plan?
WordPress maintenance plans are packaged services that creatives use to maximize recurring revenue for their business. Maintenance plans include different services such as plugin updates, backups, security insights, migrations, support, and so much more. WordPress powers more than 30% of the internet, meaning more and more clients are choosing WordPress for their sites, meaning maintenance plans are growing in popularity.
In fact, according to our research, 80% of web design professionals offer maintenance packages, which makes it the top service currently being offered alongside web design.
3 benefits of maintenance plans
There are three primary benefits to offering maintenance plans to your clients.
- You’ll generate reliable, recurring revenue
- You’ll save time offering these services upfront
- You’ll establish better relationships with your clients
1. You’ll generate reliable, recurring revenue
Did you know that 44% of web designers don’t feel like they charge enough for their services? If you fall into that category, maintenance plans are the perfect solution thanks to the recurring revenue you can earn. Offering ongoing services for your clients can truly be a gamechanger for your business because it helps ensure you’re earning something in those months where you may not book new clients.
Offering maintenance plans alongside web design is kind of like a safety net for your business, making sure you always have a steady cash flow.
A steady source of income from maintenance plans will allow you to pick and choose the clients you really want to work with. It’ll give you the freedom to pass on projects that are less profitable, less enjoyable, or both.
2. You’ll save time offering these services upfront
Taking the time today to build out different maintenance plans will save you time in the future. How? When you have different service packages set up, you don’t have to worry about creating a new brand new proposal and invoice for every single service for every individual client.
“I discovered early on in building websites that not offering ongoing services to website clients creates a toxic relationship. They inevitably had questions or needed help a few months after launch. When they called, I felt awkward about sending an invoice for a 20-minute phone call, so I did a lot of unpaid support. And, often, they wouldn’t call at all because they didn’t know if I’d send them a big unexpected invoice for it.” -Sara from 11Web, a digital marketing agency from Battle Creek, MI
Ultimately, creating maintenance plans saves you administrative time so you can focus on what truly matters: the client.
3. You’ll establish better relationships with your clients
You may be asking yourself, “How exactly do maintenance plans help grow client relationships?”
“Clients who have maintenance plans with you will feel more connected to your business and a deeper sense of trust, because they know if anything should happen to their website down the road, you have their back. ”
Offering maintenance plans creates a positive, ongoing relationship with past clients. They know you’re available to help within clear parameters, and you know you’re being paid for your support time. Win-win. -Sara Dunn from 11Web
You know your clients best. You know what they like and what services they typically need. Knowing this, you can customize and build different maintenance plans to match what your clients commonly ask for.
In building that relationship, clients may want to do more projects with you and may be more willing to refer you to their friends. Did you know that 93% of web design professionals find new clients through referrals?
93% of web design professionals find new clients through referrals
-The business of web design: The 2019 report
Knowing this, you’ll want to establish strong relationships with your current clients, something that maintenance plans can help you do!
How to create a maintenance plan
Now it’s time to answer the golden question: how do you start earning this type of recurring revenue?
You can start selling web design maintenance plans in three easy steps:
- Define the services you’ll offer
- Package those services into plans
- Pick your pricing
1. Define the services you’ll offer
The first step in creating a maintenance plan is deciding which services you want to offer. Some questions you need to ask are:
- What services are my customers asking for?
- What services am I having to bill or create new invoices for?
- What are popular services that have been requested within the last six months?
- What services would save my clients time and money AND build our relationship?
To help you start brainstorming, I’ve compiled a list of popular services for web design maintenance plans. Some may make perfect sense for your business while others you can table for the future. Keep in mind your business needs and what will make your clients’ lives easiest, and you’ll be able to get started in no time!
Popular services in web design maintenance plans:
- WordPress updates
- Plugin updates
- Backup restoration
- Security insights
- Security monitoring
- Uptime monitoring
- Audits/data reporting
- Strategy consulting
- SSL certificates
- Content marketing
- Content updating
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Email hosting
2. Package those services into plans
Once you know the services you want to offer, the next step is to package them into plans. While you could sell each service individually, it’s more common to bundle several together in an “all-inclusive” bundle. You can always do a mix of both methods, too, depending on your clients’ needs.
Pro tip: Some creative businesses even create basic and higher-level maintenance plans.
“A basic maintenance package includes daily offsite backups, malware monitoring, uptime monitoring, software updates, spam cleanup, and database optimization. Higher-level plans may include performance monitoring, page speed optimization, caching services, and in some cases, retainer time for custom development or content management services.” -Lori Berkowitz from BeeDragon Web Services, a company that specializes in custom WordPress development in Baltimore, MD.
3. Pick your pricing
Now let’s talk about money. You’ll need to decide how much to charge for each plan, which will largely depend on the specific services in each one and your average rate.
Another thing to consider when setting your prices is how “in-demand” each service is. Are most of your clients asking you to update their plugins and perform security audits? Consider charging more than average for those services. Thinking through what your clients want and need can help you establish (and rationalize!) what you can charge for different plans.
Still need to sell your client (or another stakeholder) on the value of maintenance plans? Lori Berkowitz from BeeDragon Web Services shares some insight to doing this:
“The best advice that I can give is to educate your clients about the various responsibilities that come with running a website and potential problems that can be easily avoided by signing up for a maintenance plan. Find a way to automate as many of the maintenance services as possible, but always verify that no problems were caused by tasks that were automated.”
Flywheel’s solution for clients to create recurring revenue is our product, White Label. White Label is a billing subscription Add-on created specifically for Flywheel’s hosting services. It makes it incredibly easy to invoice your clients for recurring services, and integrates flawlessly with Flywheel’s hosting platform. (If you’re reselling WordPress hosting, this is especially convenient!)
Examples of web design maintenance plans
By now you should have a better idea of how to build maintenance plans, but just in case the topic still feels a little conceptual, here are two great examples to help you get started with your own!
- A basic maintenance plan can include the essentials: migrations, backups, backup restoration, WordPress updates, and SSL certification
- The next tier maintenance plan features all the services from the basic package in addition to services such as theme updates, plugin updates, SEO, and strategy consulting.
- Extras are easy one-off services such as email hosting and domain registration. These may be services that are requested every once in awhile, but aren’t usually on the client’s radar.
- Top-of-the-line WordPress hosting
- Daily backups
- Security monitoring
- Free malware removal
- Managed WordPress and plugin updates
- Premium forms plugin (Gravity Forms)
- Preventative maintenance
- 45 minutes of services every single month – website updates, posting blog posts, copy editing, small design projects, answering questions, etc.
All for $225!
Now that you have a better idea of how to create your maintenance plan and what services you could charge for, you’re equipped with all the important tools to get you started! Start building your maintenance plans, let new incoming clients know about them, and most importantly, sell them to your current loyal customers.
Maintenance plans are an easy way of building recurring revenue for your business. In this article, you learned:
You now have all the tools to get started! What are you waiting for? Start making your maintenance plans!
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could keep your business thriving without booking any new clients? Or know that you’re always getting paid in full, on time, for all the work you actually do every month? WordPress maintenance services and plans are the secret to this magical revenue model, and this workshop has everything you need to get started!
Start the workshop here.