There are many challenges that come with working as a professional developer. Navigating a variable income, fielding support requests from current clients, and sourcing new work can all take up a lot of time and energy.
Offering more services than you do now may just sound like piling extra work onto your plate. However, providing your clients with maintenance services can increase your income, while having a minimal impact on your overall workload.
This post will explore some of the maintenance services you can offer to your clients. We’ll also talk about four reasons it can be smart to provide these additional services, to help you decide if it’s the right move for you. Let’s get to it!
What It Means to Offer Your Clients Maintenance Services
When offering maintenance services to your clients, it’s up to you to decide what you’re willing to provide. You can determine exactly how involved you want to be in the day-to-day running of your clients’ sites, which will help you manage your time and workload.
With that said, maintenance can encompass a wide variety of tasks. Some of the most basic include creating backups, troubleshooting errors, and updating WordPress core, themes, and plugins.
If you’re willing to delve into content as well, you can also update posts and pages, fix broken links, optimize for performance, and so on. Maintenance services also sometimes incorporate Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and occasional tasks such as migrating sites to new hosts and changing domain names.
While offering fewer services might save you some time, choosing to offer a more comprehensive maintenance package will make your business more competitive. If other developers offer additional services, clients might find them more appealing. The same applies to the length of the contracts you provide.
4 Reasons to Offer Maintenance Services to Your Clients
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to offer maintenance services like the ones described above, there are several factors you can consider. Let’s look at the four most important benefits of providing maintenance for your clients.
1. You Can Bring in Additional Income With Minimal Effort
Few people enjoy performing daily maintenance on their websites. Fortunately, many aspects of WordPress maintenance can be automated, so they will run in the background while causing minimal interference.
This is also convenient if you want to include maintenance among the services you provide for clients. Tasks such as site backups, code updates, and even optimization can be automated with plugins and other tools.
For example, consider UpdraftPlus. It’s a free and highly-rated plugin that creates automatic backups for WordPress sites:
There’s also ShortPixel, which automatically compresses media files as soon as they’re uploaded to WordPress. Adding this tool to your clients’ sites can help with both their performance and SEO:
By automating these key processes as a part of your maintenance package, you can make additional income while hardly lifting a finger. All you’ll have to do is occasionally check in, to make sure the plugins are doing their job properly.
This will leave you plenty of time to tackle maintenance tasks that require human intervention (such as content updates and resolving errors). Alternately, if you offer a very basic maintenance package, you can automate most of the tasks in order to focus on other work.
2. Diversifying Your Revenue Streams Can Cover You During Slow Periods
While there are many enjoyable aspects of working as a WordPress developer, one major downside is the often inconsistent workload. Especially if you’re a freelancer, you can never really know how much work you’ll have from month to month.
For this reason, diversifying your revenue streams is wise. It can help you cover the gaps in your main services. If you’re having a slow period and not many clients are coming in looking for brand-new websites, you’ll at least have the income you receive from doing ongoing maintenance.
How much you can charge for maintenance services varies pretty widely. Depending on the size and complexity of the site involved, you might bring in anywhere from an extra $15 per month to a couple thousand dollars.
Obviously, if you’re working with smaller sites, you would have to maintain a lot of them to live off the money you could bring in over the long term. However, if you’re just going through a slow stretch, some reliable income is better than none at all.
3. You Can Prevent Excessive Support Requests from Clients
Providing ongoing support to your clients can help keep your satisfaction ratings high. However, fielding support requests that easily could have been avoided by following simple WordPress best practices can be frustrating.
You can solve this at least in part, by taking on the daily maintenance of some or all of your clients’ sites. By addressing potential problems before they occur, you can cut down the number of support requests you receive.
For example, if a client site goes down, you won’t have to worry about whether or not they have a backup in place to make restoration easy. You also won’t have to deal with problems that arise because clients failed to upgrade their sites to the latest version of WordPress.
Proactively handling these situations by maintaining your clients’ sites personally can be more effective than trying to clean up messes after the fact. Plus, it should be less time-consuming and stressful as well.
4. Keeping Clients Close Can Help You Get More Work
Sourcing clients is an ongoing responsibility, which is necessary for maintaining your income. It also takes you away from your actual development work and can be a real source of anxiety.
Keeping clients close through working with them on an ongoing basis can help you get more work with less effort. For instance, if a client you handle maintenance forever needs another website or wants to redesign theirs, you’ll likely be the first person they call.
Additionally, creating ongoing relationships with your clients makes it more likely that they’ll suggest your services to others. Referrals can help bring in big jobs, without requiring you to go looking for the opportunities.
Working as a professional developer comes with plenty of responsibilities. While you may be hesitant to offer additional services to your clients, handling maintenance tasks for the sites you build can provide a host of benefits for your business.
Let’s recap the four primary reasons you may want to offer maintenance services to your clients:
- You can bring in additional income with minimal effort.
- Diversifying your revenue streams can help cover your business during slow periods.
- You can prevent excessive support requests from clients.
- Keeping clients close can help you get more work.
Do you have any questions about how to start offering maintenance services to clients? Ask away in the comments section below!
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