Charges for site maintenance

  slightlymad 17:40 20 Feb 2006

I was recently asked to re-vamp a website that looked very dated. It took me the best part of a weekend, but I made only a nominal charge as I'm an amateur and I enjoyed the learning experience.

Now, however, site owner is making frequent requests for tweaks that admittedly take me a matter of moments - a spelling error here or there, for instance. At first I was glad to do it, but now I'm getting fed up.

Although I've sent her instructions on how to edit and upload the site, she prefers to ignore these as it's quicker for me to do it!

Yes, I know I've been soft and I should have set a precedent from the outset, which is the point of this post...

I've a long way to go before I can call myself a web designer, but recently I've been asked to re-design a simple website, which I'm very happy to do. (The current site for this small business was designed by a 16-year in Front Page 10 years ago, and it's looking very sad...)

I suppose that I need a scale of charges for site modifications to avoid being taken advantage of. But what if I'm asked just to change a word or two, as above - I really can't bring myself to make a charge for this. What do other designers do?!


  quack 17:54 20 Feb 2006

If this is going to be a constant request set a charge either per item or a monthly fee. If as you say the changes are small, try £5 - £10 per item changed or a monthly fee of say £25. You probably wont get any business but at least it will encourage the owner of the site to follow your instructions and have a go herself. If you are going to completely redesign a site I would suggest you treat it as a new design and charge at least £75 - £100. Explain to any site owners that your time is of value and you need to be paid for it.

  Forum Editor 17:56 20 Feb 2006

They very frequently fall into exactly the same trap. It is - as you say - very difficult to charge a client for rectifying a single spelling error - especially if you made the error in the first place. Let's assume that you didn't, however, and that all these tweaks are in addition to the original brief.

What you do is email the client and say:-

Hi, I just thought I should let you know that we've reached the sign-off date for your site. From now on, any amendments will be chargeable at the rate of X£ per onsite hour, so it will be in your interests to collect any tweaks or amendments together into batches. That way I can make best use of an hour's site work, and you'll get value for your money.

In business it's best to be very upfront about money - don't be afraid of the word, and make sure that the client knows there's a specific cut-off point ("From now on"). That way there will be no sneaking a page of alterations in before the gate closes.

As for the fee - you'll have to decide that for yourself. In the industry I've seen fees ranging from £20 per hour on the server to £200 per hour. I suggest that you keep your own figure towards the bottom of the range, but you must decide.

  ade.h 18:08 20 Feb 2006

If you find yourself doing a lot of bits of work for less than an hour at a time, keep a worklog. That way, you can accrue charges fairly.

  slightlymad 23:15 20 Feb 2006

Thank you so much, everyone, for the helpful advice. I love your suggestion, FE - firm and fair, courteous and definitive.



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