by David Snopek on April 26, 2016 - 10:44am
Struggling to make your next deadline, when a problem client needs you to drop everything to give them support?
We've all been there! :-)
When building a new website or feature for a client, it's stressful enough trying meet your deadlines, but it's even more frustrating when you lose a few hours you thought you had, in order to address an unexpected issue for a previous client.
Wouldn't it be great if you had a "Support and Maintenance Department" that could help your previous clients while you focus on delivering the next big project?
Consider hiring myDropWizard to act as your white-label Support Department!
The benefits of providing Support and Maintenance plans
There's many benefits to providing on-going Support and Maintenance plans to your clients:
- Keeping warm, positive relationships with past clients so they'll ask you when they need a new website or feature built. If they haven't heard from you since you delivered the project (months ago) they'll be more likely to go elsewhere when they need something new. And it's easier and cheaper to get a new project from an old client, than chasing new clients!
- Recurring revenue that can stabilize the feast and famine cycle. Worried you might not close the next big project in time to make payroll or cover expenses? Support and maintenance plans can help fill the gap.
- Making sure client sites stay secure, bug free and up-to-date! We all know that websites require constant care and attention. By NOT providing it, you're ensuring that your clients WILL have problems with security or bugs down the road.
So, all Drupal shops or freelancers probably should offer Support and Maintenance plans, but...
It's hard to balance support with project work
Doing support and maintenance is inherently different than doing project work! If your organization or process is built to kick ass at project work, it might be difficult (or even unprofitable!) to try and balance both.
The key to project work is keeping your pipeline full.
That means you want to have every billable hour allocated to a project, and avoid gaps between the end of one project and the start of the next. If you're not billing for an hour, you're losing money, so you want to keep your project staff (or yourself if you're a freelancer) busy at all times.
But doing support and maintenance well requires you to address problems (or apply security updates) immediately, right when they come up!
How can you have time to do that when you've already allocated all your time? But if you set aside time for it, nothing might come up and you've just wasted hours you could have billed - but you'll only know that after the fact.
Also, while clients are happy to pay high hourly rates to build a new site or feature, they are more reluctant (or even suspicous) when doing so for fixing bugs or providing support.
Afterall, they already paid for this - shouldn't it work? And why does it take X hours to fix this bug that they think is simple?
Of course, from YOUR perspective an hour is an hour and costs you the same regardless of whether it's for project work or support and maintenance! However, a different billing model for support and maintenance will reduce tension and make for happier clients, but may require having a very, very large number of clients on support and maintenance plans before it becomes profitable.
The Drupal shops who are most successful at this balance tend to have a completely seperate team (and billing model) for doing support and maintenance!
But what if you'd rather just focus on project work, which you're already great at?
Hire myDropWizard to act as your white-label Support Department!
If you want to stay lazer-focused on doing amazing project work, then hiring us to act as your Support Department could get you the best effects of providing support and maintenance plans to your clients, while saving you the extra resources necessary to do the work!
Here's how it works:
- You setup a seperate e-mail address or project/category/etc in your ticket system for support requests. We can "white-label" our services, meaning we act as The Support Department at your organization - your clients don't need to know we're a seperate company.
- We'll handle any requests that come in which fall within the scope of support and maintenance. What's within scope will depend on which plan the client is on, but we'll make that determination first, and only pass requests that are out of scope up to you! So, we're the first line of defense. :-)
- We ONLY do support and maintenance - any project work will come back to you! And this will be represented in the agreement that we sign with you. So, don't worry, we won't steal your clients.
- You bill your clients, and we bill you. So, you can still get the benefit of some recurring revenue by adding a markup on top of the cost of our services. It costs a lot in both time and money to win a client - you deserve to be rewarded for taking on that up-front cost!
While we've been talking to many Drupal shops about this for some time (and just recently signed up our first white-label client!), we're really just starting to roll this out. So, we're still super flexible and happy to work out an arrangement that meets your (and your customers') needs!
Not convinced? Send us your worst client!
Think about your worst client...
You know the one. :-)
It's the client who's never satisfied. They make the most requests and constantly need help. They're demanding and don't understand "why you didn't just do it right the first time."
Try out our white-label support and maintenance services with THAT client first!
Moving existing clients who aren't on a support and maintenance plan at all can be difficult. You have to sell them something new, long after the project is complete, and it might be hard to convince them it's necessary when they've been "getting on fine" (as far as they know) without it for all this time.
But for your worst client, it might be worth it to pay for a support and maintenance plan with myDropWizard yourself just so your team can get some relief! :-)
And we know that once you've found out what it's like to outsource supporting them, that you'll want to sell support and maintenance plans to your future clients at the end of every project.
(It's a much easier sell when it's been part of the conversation from the very beginning, and starts right away when the project ends.)
Are you ready for relief from the stress and frustration of supporting your worst client?
We look forward to hearing from you! :-)