Afraid Of Selling Website Maintenance Care Plans To Your Clients? Your WordPress Agency Adds Value In Just A Few Steps!

  • 6 min read

Offering website maintenance care plans is one of the best ways to stabilize and grow your revenue as a WordPress Agency. When we begin working with WordPress, we generally start out as freelancers, building sites depending on our skill levels. You have to build that portfolio, right? But then, usually because of tax reasons, we start an agency. That’s great.

If you’re at the phase of your agency where it feels like it’s all you without help and/or you’re frustrated with the client acquisition, one-and-done mentality, then offering website care plans is the next best step.

Step 1a – Creating Your Website Maintenance Care Plan

What do you want to include in your care plan? Is it just technical support hours like on retainer? Or are you going to be the agency that runs and verifies all updates and backups? Will you offer training for the client to publish content or include that in your care plan? It’s totally up to you. And remember, as an agency you can outsource the things that you hate doing.

In his book, “The Seven Figure Agency Roadmap,Josh Nelson calls this phase “Developing the Service.” Though he starts the service with the website and when launched, kicks off monthly care plans in an annual contract.

“The core elements in our package are:

  • Website with content proper optimization, conversion elements, and lead capture form.
  • Onsite Search Engine Optimization (Title Tags, H1 Tags, and good content.)
  • Authority Development via:
  • Citation Development (online directory listings)
    • Content development (blog updates)
    • Link building
    • Reputation management (help them get more online reviews, showcase their online reviews, and deal with negative reviews)
  • Pay-per-Click Management to generate leads out of the gate and control the lead flow.
  • Tracking and measurement.”

The lesson from this example is to scope out your care packages as minutely as possible. This helps show the value to your clients by demonstrating the skill involved with running a profitable business website – not just a cat blog, as they say.

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Step 1b – Pricing Your Care Plan

Pricing your agency’s care plan is where many people get stuck. This is why it’s important to start with Step 1a to determine the scope. If you choose to create three care plans for price anchoring, you’ll have a better idea of which plan you really want people to choose (middle) and adjust for that.

Before you start thinking about prices randomly, know your cost per hour. We don’t recommend charging by the hour to clients for care plans. This is a monthly recurring revenue (MRR) charge. Internally, you need to understand how much you cost your agency first. Otherwise, you run the risk of undercharging. That never goes well. Bridget Willard has an In-House Rate Google Sheet you can copy to your hard drive to figure out your cost per hour, and possible package pricing.

Website Maintenance Care Plan Pricing Sheet

The other side of the pricing coin is time tracking. Sorry. We had to say it. If you want to live your life like a lawyer and use tracking tools, that’s cool. The easy way is to track a sample day or a sample project. This is best done on a specific project. Once you start documenting and recording times for the website build, client updates, and backups, you’ll realize there are a lot of steps. And you may not have been charging enough. This is our insight from reading tweets.

For example, How long does it take you to run the updates on their site – start to finish? Literally, sitting down at your desk – or standing – opening your browser, logging into the client dashboard (we love ours), backing up the site, looking at plugin and theme updates (if your Managed WordPress host doesn’t do this), verifying updates, and leaving the website better than it was before? It’s probably not 15 minutes. You may even send the client an email. Include that time, too.

Step 1c – Invoicing Your Care Plan

Google Docs and Google Sheets are no way to send invoices to your clients. How will they pay you? If you’re waiting for a paper check to come in the mail, you’ll wait a bit for the post office to deliver it. Then it takes 7-10 business days for the check to clear. And the customer can always stop payment. That’s not a system. That’s 1980. 

You need a legitimate invoicing system that allows you to set up recurring invoices. Of course, you could use PayPal Invoicing, but we’d recommend that to set your agency up for success, choose a whole system that will sync with your business bank, track expenses, and allow you to download reports for tax season. 

If you don’t have a business bank account, you can register for an EIN with the IRS easy peasy. Otherwise, you can become an LLC for $500 with Stripe Atlas. You’ll get your EIN from Stripe. 

The top three invoicing systems we see WordPress Agencies use are FreshBooks, Xero, and Dubsado

With pricing care plans, you may also want contracts. This can be tricky based on what states regulate your agency. We recommend that you check out what MonsterContracts™ has to provide in addition to consulting with a business attorney who works in your state.

MonsterContracts™ have been used by WordPress freelancers and agencies around the world. But depending on your area, there may be local laws that your documents need to address.”

Step 2 – How Do I Sell a WordPress Care Plan?

Now that you have your care plan, you’re probably wondering how to sell it. Along with the price anchoring strategy, offering a care plan along with your initial website build is a natural time to have that conversation. You may or may not want to inherit sites built by others and maintain those. Construction works this way often. We install your new roof, warranty it, and offer annual maintenance to keep your warranty. 

“When you run through your recommendations in the sales meeting , make sure you have the care plan as part of the recommended solution.”

Nick Gulic, The Admin Bar

 In addition to great Facebook Groups like The Admin Bar and contract services like MonsterContracts™, Jason Resnick also has a Freelancer Sales Kit as a resource.

Step 3 – How Do I Scale with WordPress Care Plans?

Once a system is consistently implemented at your WordPress Agency, then it is easier to scale up your business – or down, depending upon your goals. But you also don’t necessarily have to scale your business either. The time you save by implementing a system can be used elsewhere – like playing basketball with your daughter, chess with your son, or date nights with your boyfriend. 

Companies scale all the time – just not well. You don’t want to grow so quickly that your quality of work suffers. And, as you onboard contractors or employees, you as the owner may have a bit more work per day until they’re running on their own. That’s the highs and lows of owning a business. But you’ll get there. 

Scale your business with WordPress Care Plans in a smart way – don’t set unrealistic goals. For example, if you currently build 4-6 websites a year, start with offering those clients a care plan. See how many you onboard in the first month. Call this a soft launch. So, their website may be complete but as a customer, they’re still with your agency. And you have more predictable revenue each month to help pay for marketing, vendors, and additional SaaS products (like an Agency Plan with Rocket – just sayin’).

Once you’ve gone through your ten most recent builds or ten highest-paying contracts, pitching the care plan through personal emails (not Mailchimp), then you will have a better idea of how much volume you can personally handle. The next step is offering the care plan as part of the entire build contract with the plan to renew each contract in October. (Why October? Most companies review budgets at this time.) 

So say you were building 6 websites a year at $2,500 on average. That’s $15,000 a year. Not great, but not bad (you have side hustles). Now, let’s go back to our three care plans: $329, 658, and $987 per month. One customer takes Plan C, two take Plan B, and three take Plan A. That is an additional $3290 a month. Annually, that works out to $39,480 just in care contracts for those six websites. Now your annual revenue went from $15,000 a year to $54,480. That’s a huge difference! 

What about additional costs when my agency scales?

We’re not your tax attorney nor do we play one on the Internet. With that said, it is a certainty that you’ll have additional costs – especially with the top two care plans you offer. Some of the costs will be switching everyone to one host (which will save money and time) and some of the costs come from vendors (SEO, copywriting, etc.). 

Try this with a customer or two and see how you like it. Then next year add three to five websites (build + plan). Before, you had six websites on care plans; now you’ll have nine to eleven. Sounds like a great deal, right?

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WordPress Care Plans are good for clients (they deal with one vendor) and they’re fantastic for agencies. When you pair with a partner from your new favorite platform, then we have smiles all around and no downtime.

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