What is the charge for?
Sing that to the tune of “what does the fox say?”! Here you go, here’s the video (with my favorite Jimmy Fallon) in case it’s stuck in your head now.
I’ve had a few instances of confusion lately and I want to clear it up. I totally understand, no one wants to pay invoices they weren’t expecting or don’t understand. So, let’s break it down!
Your hosting fee, whether to me or another provider, typically covers the space your website takes up on a server and the bandwidth used to provide that site to the public. Some hosts (like me) offer free monthly backups to their clients. Beyond server space and traffic and some tech support (like ‘wordpress won’t install’, ‘I’m seeing a server error message’, ‘how do I connect to my site via FTP?’), don’t expect anything else from your hosting fee. Hosting doesn’t cover the look of your site or the work put into your site.
When I charge you for web design, that is the install of wordpress, the look of your site and typically setting up content. I do my best to outline exactly what I am giving you when I give you a quote. What this doesn’t include is periodically taking backups of your website, updating wordpress or plugins, installing new plugins, making changes to either content or design, after we have agreed the site is complete. I do offer email support, you ask me anything and I will get you an answer. Forever. “Hey, how do I…”, not a problem at all.
That’s what I describe this other stuff as. If your email says “Hey, can you…”, then you probably need me to do something and for that I charge. It’s like having a virtual assistant, but we aren’t on contract and you aren’t paying me a monthly fee. Instead, you contact me on an as needed basis and I bill you on an as needed basis. Sometimes these things are small and I just keep track and then bill you $20 after a few things. Sometimes these things have set fees and I bill you after it’s done or within the month because I’m a bit slow at that stuff. Installing Wordpress is a flat $20. I don’t use auto-installers, I don’t like them, I do it all manually so I charge $20 for the time I spend creating the database, uploading the files, hooking it all together and creating your login. I don’t typically bill right away for anything under $20. The paypal fees are not worth it. That’s why you won’t receive an invoice after every thing I do, I want to wait and make it worth the time and fees. If I billed for every little thing, I’d have to raise my prices and I don’t want to do that. (Shh, sometimes I totally forget to invoice, bonus for you!)
I do offer things like Monthly backups to my non-hosting clients and Wordpress Monitoring and Updating (WM&U) to anyone. The Monitoring and Updating is simply that, I monitor your site for updates and then perform the updates for you. If you are not a hosting client, then I do back up your site before doing updates. I guess you could say that with WM&U you either need to be a hosting client or you are paying for monthly backups as well. This pricing includes the fee for monthly backups.
I will be spending some time in the next month or two trying to clarify all of this in my website copy. I wish I could do everything for free, but this is a business, just like yours. We are both in this to make money, big or small. A lot of what I charge for is time. Let’s face it, you contacted me either because you don’t know how or you don’t have time to do it yourself. That’s what I’m here for, I do the tech-y stuff so you can concentrate on your business.