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The benefits of a care plan, concierge plan or maintenance plan are massive.

As freelance web designers we often have an issue with cash flow. Care plans can help us plan better for our future as well as for our customers’ and help in customer retention too.

A care plan can cover everything from maintenance, updating plugins, updating themes, taking backups and making sure that sites are secure.

You can also include blog writing which ensures that the site SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is as it should be. It’s always best that your client regularly updates their website with relevant blog posts around their subject.

Often times I see web designers complain that their customers are hassling them to update their website and they are unsure what to charge – with a care plan, none of this comes into play. You as a freelancer or agency know exactly where you stand and your customer knows they are being looked after at a reasonable rate. Care plan customers also get priority – as they should because they have committed to you as a service provider.

The first item on a quotation should be a care plan. It is then embedded in their mind and becomes part of their budget considerations for the website. It’s also a good idea to highlight how much you would charge outside of the care plan for basic things as we’ve mentioned. this often makes clients sign up to the care plan because they just want reassurance that their website is going to perform as they would wish with the least amount of hassle and the least amount of costs.

As I have said, the ideal time to mention the care plan or concierge plan is right at the start of the quote. I see quotes that just dive straight into what the website will bring to the customer rather than what you as a web designer can bring to your customer.

One of the best ways to do this is to do a table of contents when you quote your customers. For instance, start with the care plan and then detail what that care plan includes when people scroll to that section. This approach puts the care plan straight in the customers mind AND the fact that the website will need looking after – it astounds me everyday that customers do not realize a site requires regular maintenance – but frankly, that is our fault as an industry right? It is OUR responsibility to educate and inform and as an industry we tend to focus on the good things rather than the negatives and, believe me – having to maintain a website and the the associated costs – is a negative . Also, try not to mention servicing of a car as an analogy when mentioning a care plan, people still don’t get that.

Next section is hosting. talk about hosting plans, benefits of having a premium plan and the benefits of speed and SEO and put in brackets (all covered in the care plan)

Then get to the design and build, the use of images where they’re from, your client or whether they’re from stock. And of course, content. (look out for an announcement on this very soon).

Once the quote is done and you have detailed everything that you’re going to do to help your customer get customers. Separate out the prices for the website design, development, hosting and then the customer care plan with a caveat mentioning your hourly or ‘fix’ rate outside the care plan. Pro tip: Make it higher than your normal rate as fixing broken sites is a total PITA!

Getting regular payments into your account is an essential part of  your business plan. You can set up something like go card less for subscription on the care plan, there is also PayPal or Stripe. Of course, most payment opportunities will produce a recurring invoice and direct debit or subscription payment plans.

If your client has budget constraints, think about how you can get over those constraints and increase your clients perception of your value – a well thought out care plan does this beautifully. A budget is, by definition, an amount that has been allocated. I tend to give a value proposition and get them to reallocate funds (even if it’s a perception) to get the website they need to fulfill their expectations. In fact, read this excellent post by Nick Gulic a page builder user and web developer who is very active in the WordPress community – he’ s also a jolly nice chap – Budget is Irrelevant 🙂

Having a care plan in place will help you have better cash flow and help your clients feel that you’re looking after them on a daily basis, the benefits of care plans are not to be underestimated. and will help you grow your business exponentially.

If you have not thought about a care plan,  what are you waiting for? Get on the care plan train and get a recurring income flowing into your business and help your customers to love you even more!

Andrew Palmer on FacebookAndrew Palmer on TwitterAndrew Palmer on Wordpress
Andrew Palmer
Andrew is the owner of Elegant Marketplace, Layoutscloud and civitas e learning and looks after the Developers, product updates and general maintenance of the Elegant Marketplace Websites. He also runs his own Online Consultancy in the UK under the banner of Somebody's Hero.
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