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Thread: Billing Clients

  1. #1
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    Billing Clients

    hello,

    I have 5 clients now, and I really need advice on how to keep everything running smoothly. Most of my clients need me to update the sites regularly how do you go about billing? do you charge them for updates after they are done? I was wondering about just having a monthly fee for them then I can work on the site as much as I like.
    But don't know if that's wise or realistic. Are there any standards to follow?

    advice needed
    thanxs

  2. #2
    Modding with Class JabezStone's Avatar
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    Renee,

    I bill clients monthly for a service contract, which includes a set amount of hours. If the work they require goes over their contracted amount, I will usually bill them for it. If it's only an hour over, I'll just show that time on the invoice, but discount it as "free" to make them feel good. After all, some months go by with no changes at all, and they still pay anyway.
    I do not "roll over" unused hours to the next month, but I am lenient on the extra hours used.

    I have found that I can't set a standard rate, as every time I've attempted this, we end up negotiating a deal that fits their budget.

    My cardinal rule for charging clients is, "What is your budget?" Generally, this makes both of us happy.

    Best wishes to you!

    Jay

  3. #3
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    can you elaborate more on this service contract?
    what does it entail?


    thanks!

  4. #4
    Modding with Class JabezStone's Avatar
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    Basically, it is an agreement of recurring monthly service. It is a standard service contract, similar to any other line of work.

    It states that X company will provide X service at X price on a monthly basis for a set priod of time. Usually, I provide either 6 month or 1 year contracts, and most often my clients will pay for the entire term in advance instead of the hassle of recurring monthly invoices.

    The services included depend on the type of product (Flash website, HTML website, CDrom, etc.) being serviced. Usually, they will include text updates/changes, picture changes, new pages and other basic editing. If the project is dynamic, the agreement will also include modifications to the system and general maintenance.

    The contract is always for a set amount of hours per month. I arrive at the hours/price based on the estimated frequency of the updates and the complexity of the work. It really varies per project.

    Hope that helps.

  5. #5
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    The Minister of No Crap

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    I have a similar method. I just keep track of any work done for the month and then bill the client on the first. Payment is due in 30 days.

    Scott

  6. #6
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    A monthly fee can be the best solution if you have a large number of clients. What you should establish though, is what they are allowed for this fee. If the client wants textual and image changes each month, maybe a page adding here and there etc then it can fall under this 'maintenance' category. Be wary of them trying to get more out of this though, you need to tell them that anything extra will be billed seperately and will not be covered by this maintenance agreement.

    If you have the time to bill everything seperately (like Scott mentioned above), this can be a more accurate way for you and the client.
    Living the dream

  7. #7
    ScreenResolution
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    What you need is a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Agree with you client exactly what is considered an update/maintenance of their site and agree a monthly/quarterly fee, payable by standing order into your account. You then simply send them a regular invoice/receipt when you recieve each installment.

    I've found that the best way to calaculate a 'fair' fee is to simply estimate how many hours you'll need to spend on the site each year and divide by 12. Make sure they're aware how many hours they get for their buck. If you're finding you've getting significantly more work than expected then re-examine the SLA and recalculate the fee.

    You could also offer them a discount for paying the full year up front - saves everyone lots of hassle (most of my clients prefer to pay monthly though).

  8. #8
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    i have been focusing a lot of my time recently to get monthly fees coming in, rather than the yearly checks.

    i got a maintenance contract with clients, than hourly rate for work above and beyond!! The hourly rate is low by US standards (but so is my cost base) but that is cool, I get to kept in touch with teh clients on a monthly baises, adn that brings in new projects, which in turn require there own maintenance contracts...

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the feedback, it's very helpful.

    can anyone give me a copy of their contact? it would be of great help. of course you can remove the dollar amounts.

    what I would like to do is have the client pay a monthly fee, but I'm still having trouble with the concept that there may be a month or so when very little work will be done. and how to argue this point.

    thanks again.

  10. #10
    Monkey Wrangler monsterfx's Avatar
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    Originally posted by The Real Renee
    what I would like to do is have the client pay a monthly fee, but I'm still having trouble with the concept that there may be a month or so when very little work will be done. and how to argue this point.
    Think of it as working on retainer. They are paying you monthly to reserve your time should they need you. By paying you in advance, they know that they have priority when an update needs to be made (just make sure that you really have enough time to give them that service ).

    -monster.

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