Home – New Forums Tell me straight… How much would you spend to maintain your website and or email.

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  • #995317
    Greg_M
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    Hope this is the right place to post this question.

    I’m looking for some feedback on what very small businesses, retailers, tradies et al would consider a reasonable ongoing price per month to be paying for “set and forget” solutions for their web presence (website with a focus on mobile/local search results) and optional business email etc etc. The package is inclusive of good quality Cloud Hosting and Australian business class email.

    I currently do this for a small group of clients and up till now the arrangements have been a little too ad hoc. My experience has been that for many small businesses their web presence has been a pain in the butt to get going and maintain, and they struggle to get an ROI…but they will jump at a chance to handball it all if the pricing is right.

    I’m currently receiving direct referrals for a few more, and also see some potential where I’m now living.

    Rather than price anything bottom up, I’m keen to find out what the market will readily accept and work backwards to see if it’s doable at a profit.

    I have a gut feel for what my current customers think is OK but some input from a wider unrelated audience would be appreciated.

    Cheers

    #1201128
    Divert To Mobile
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    Hi Greg,

    The problem I think your going to find is that many wont understand what your actually doing and the extent of work involved in correct setup, then monitor and review.

    Steve

    #1201129
    Greg_M
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    Hi Steve,

    Nice to see your face again.

    Guess I am fishing a bit, but my experience has been that many (very) small operators have a pain point re setting up their digital presence e.g. ask for $500 for a website and you might be ok, ask for over a $1000 and they start looking at Weebly etc. (or WordPress on cheap shared hosting) and using gmail email.

    I’ve found with my current clients they don’t really want the learning curve, they’re looking for someone to “just do it” while they get on with other stuff (like actually making money). But the ongoing cost is a major factor.

    What I’ve done with clients to date is to give them a cheap point of entry that tests the water, once they see some value or ROI they will spend realistic amounts because they now understand the process better e.g. I’ve cut a couple loose in the past managing their own sites, DNS, email etc…they were back pretty quickly.

    I only manage a small client base and that suits me. To keep costs down I’ve developed some methods that keep it all pretty simple and easy to manage (little to no maintenance once set up).

    The more sophisticated they become the price slides up and I involve other professionals like photographers, designers and copywriters if and when needed.

    So I guess what I’m after is the price point that a small business is willing to give it a go and get the tech stuff out of their in tray.

    My ongoing costs are around the $12 per mth mark per client, which includes decent Cloud hosting (I don’t use any shared hosting). Business grade email is over and above this, I usually just set it up in their own account name and jump in if there’s an issue.

    Given the above base cost, can I put a margin on it and still get interest from small players?

    You might ask why I’m bothering, but I do get enquiries through direct referral and an old bloke does need something to do, and where I’m now living they’re in the digital stone age, so I though I might have a dip and see what happens.

    Cheers

    #1201130
    bb1
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    Greg, I think part of the problem you are battling is that us small business people just see it as a big black box, which we have to throw dollars at and see nothing tangible, as you may have gathered I come from a technical background and as such do often ask the hard questions to the PRO’s, so I understand whats going on under the bonnet.

    But to give you an example, I went through the process of trying to get a website done by someone else, from here, and I played dumb, like your average small business person who has no idea about the web. (!!!!), right that will be $x’s, great I think, than a few days later, oh you need to throw an extra $X’s at me for hosting, than a bit later, oh did you want SEO as well, you didn’t expect me to make it SEO friendly, that’s another 10 by $x’s, and oh. I could go on, but I wont, but you get where I am going.

    Its this big black box people say only costs a couple of dollars, but it becomes a compounding issue, and the biggy from a lot of peoples perspective, you build me this black box but there is no guarantee that it will work. How many people have come on here and said they are not getting sales from there new websites, and some of the great SEO people we have here jump on and say this is wrong, that is wrong, etc. And than people wonder why we (small business) are reluctant to spend.

    IMHO

    #1201131
    Greg_M
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    bb1, post: 238355, member: 53375 wrote:
    Greg, I think part of the problem you are battling is that us small business people just see it as a big black box, which we have to throw dollars at and see nothing tangible, as you may have gathered I come from a technical background and as such do often ask the hard questions to the PRO’s, so I understand whats going on under the bonnet.

    But to give you an example, I went through the process of trying to get a website done by someone else, from here, and I played dumb, like your average small business person who has no idea about the web. (!!!!), right that will be $x’s, great I think, than a few days later, oh you need to throw an extra $X’s at me for hosting, than a bit later, oh did you want SEO as well, you didn’t expect me to make it SEO friendly, that’s another 10 by $x’s, and oh. I could go on, but I wont, but you get where I am going.

    Its this big black box people say only costs a couple of dollars, but it becomes a compounding issue, and the biggy from a lot of peoples perspective, you build me this black box but there is no guarantee that it will work. How many people have come on here and said they are not getting sales from there new websites, and some of the great SEO people we have here jump on and say this is wrong, that is wrong, etc. And than people wonder why we (small business) are reluctant to spend.

    IMHO

    Thanks Bert,

    I’ve been down this track before in various threads and I guess I’m at it again.

    I’ll preface this post by saying that I think single person website businesses are probably one of the worst business models I’ve seen, but I do get enquiries (don’t even have a website atm!!) and it suits me at my stage in life to stay involved with small business (and people) at a small scale…making some money is always good but I’m not driven by chasing big bucks any longer and can afford the time to provide a better service than someone driven by the need for immediate cashflow.

    What does interest me these days is Residual Income (hence the request regarding monthly retainers) something that I derive from existing clients with minimal effort, and the client base is expanding, albeit very slowly.

    What I do has no “hidden extras”, nobody pays a cent unless completely satisfied they’ve had value for money. Everything from the technology used to the likely hood of success in search is transparent and explained in plain English, there are no lock in contracts etc etc. Development costs are often under $500 for a basic site, usually enough for many small operators.

    Is this worth say, $20 per mth to a micro business to have an open transparent web guy that can manage their stuff, or advise them on a digital strategy at the small end of town?

    BTW, this advice is often to go to a specialist player, and perhaps a referral to someone I know.

    Cheers

    #1201132
    bb1
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    Greg_M, post: 238364, member: 38207 wrote:
    What I do has no “hidden extras”, nobody pays a cent unless completely satisfied they’ve had value for money. Everything from the technology used to the likely hood of success in search is transparent and explained in plain English, there are no lock in contracts etc etc. Development costs are often under $500 for a basic site, usually enough for many small operators.

    Is this worth say, $20 per mth to a micro business to have an open transparent web guy that can manage their stuff, or advise them on a digital strategy at the small end of town?

    Greg, $20 a month sounds reasonable to me, I guess where I was coming from is you need to somehow be able to sell the message of what is on offer to win the trust of small business. And I go back to one of the benefits of seeing regular people on here, we get the feel of trust from some of the posts, as with some of the hard core SEO guys, who if I was after that service yours and the SEO guys doors I would be knocking on rather than Joe blow down the street.

    If someone was to manage my website (if I ever bought it up to spec again), $20 seems reasonable. The big question are you putting enough food on your dinner table out of that. Plus you need to make sure I don’t think that there is an unlimited amount of support available for that, you need to in some way protect yourself, as there are always those who will use more then they would be reasonably entitled to.

    #1201133
    Greg_M
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    Thanks again Bert,

    $20 is about the base level I’m happy with, some of the systems/methods I use mean there’s very little to no work once set up, unless of course a client wants some substantial changes.

    What I’m after is, as you said, establish a trust relationship based on transparency and initial results…this is where it starts to get interesting for me…clients start to see the possibilities of the digital world and are more prepared to spend money on expanding how they use it.

    An example of this is that I’m about to embark on website number 5 for a client (couple of different businesses, some sold on), budget was not even discussed, just a brief on the new business.

    I was at the serious end of the commercial construction sector for too long to get caught out by not having a “scope of works” with new clients particularly.

    I won’t starve, and I enjoy over delivering to very small businesses and seeing the benefit they get from being well set up…it doesn’t do any harm to the referrals either. An added bonus is some are very skilled in their own trades and I have two on standby prepared to come a 1000 K’s to help out on current reno at no cost :)…my personal philosophy is you only get back what you put into this life.

    #1201134
    arrowwise
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    Part of the problem I see is that very few web companies in reach of small business can deliver ALL key areas of web development (including design, marketing, hosting, programming etc) to a very competitive level. They are great at certain areas and need to outsource the balance with added margins and questionable results. It’s a very tough fragmented market place where you need a range of specialists to help you get there. The larger companies can afford the big agencies that can do everything, however $10k+ per month is out of reach for small business.

    #1201135
    Greg_M
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    arrowwise, post: 238379, member: 54026 wrote:
    Part of the problem I see is that very few web companies in reach of small business can deliver ALL key areas of web development (including design, marketing, hosting, programming etc) to a very competitive level. They are great at certain areas and need to outsource the balance with added margins and questionable results. It’s a very tough fragmented market place where you need a range of specialists to help you get there. The larger companies can afford the big agencies that can do everything, however $10k+ per month is out of reach for small business.

    I agree it’s pretty much impossible to provide everything in this space, but I do think there’s opportunity to do better than a badly built Weebly etc website, or an online directory.

    I’ve also found that a lot of tiny businesses can do really quite well in local search, often there’s no, or poor competition (online), especially in regional areas.

    Thanks for the input

    #1201136
    Warren Cottis
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    Hi Gentlemen

    I have thought about this too… how do you bridge the knowledge gap to get them to move forward but achieve a decent return for the effort in the market we are talking about?

    Human Nature dictates that if you make money for someone they will want to give you more money.

    But in this market the folks don’t necessarily have either the money and / or the confidence and / or the Trust.

    To pick a discussion figure… I’ll say $2,000 to core elements in place to start making money for these people… so that’s $165 per month. If you can’t get $165 up front keep walking.

    Next is to have $10,000 in time and money to invest that let’s you work with 5 clients on time payment and relying on Averages.

    If you select these people successfully your overall Average profit rate will be good but really you are looking for the ongoing backend work to be high as your real upside.

    However, some will run dead and you lose your money.

    The biggest problem is that for websites to perform they need ongoing content and unless the clients for whom you initially had good results understand this then they will tend to drop off too.

    So Greg, I feel it’s best to condition a client right at the start as to what the Reality really is… take their contact details and stay in touch with email marketing to build your authority about your original comments.

    Whoever cracks the model for this market will make a lot of money but so far folks like MYOB have failed.

    #1201137
    Greg_M
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    Warren Cottis, post: 238387, member: 129 wrote:
    Hi Gentlemen

    I have thought about this too… how do you bridge the knowledge gap to get them to move forward but achieve a decent return for the effort in the market we are talking about?

    Human Nature dictates that if you make money for someone they will want to give you more money.

    But in this market the folks don’t necessarily have either the money and / or the confidence and / or the Trust.

    To pick a discussion figure… I’ll say $2,000 to core elements in place to start making money for these people… so that’s $165 per month. If you can’t get $165 up front keep walking.

    Next is to have $10,000 in time and money to invest that let’s you work with 5 clients on time payment and relying on Averages.

    If you select these people successfully your overall Average profit rate will be good but really you are looking for the ongoing backend work to be high as your real upside.

    However, some will run dead and you lose your money.

    The biggest problem is that for websites to perform they need ongoing content and unless the clients for whom you initially had good results understand this then they will tend to drop off too.

    So Greg, I feel it’s best to condition a client right at the start as to what the Reality really is… take their contact details and stay in touch with email marketing to build your authority about your original comments.

    Whoever cracks the model for this market will make a lot of money but so far folks like MYOB have failed.

    Hi Warren,

    More good food for thought, thanks.

    This thread has expanded a bit, but there does seem to be a gap in the market if you can establish some trust…and deliver a ROI, even a small one seems to work in my experience.

    What’s bought this to a head, and why I’m asking about pricing is a result of my recent interstate move and what I found when I got here. My original intention was to just maintain my existing clients, exit stage left and go fishing and renovate the new abode-still plan “B” if this idea goes nowhere.

    Because I’m now a 1000 k’s removed from my connections of 40 years I resorted to the internet to find the stuff/people I needed for the reno I’m doing, some of it requiring fairly serious dollars to be spent…guess what, I found next to NOTHING.

    This is in a region that exports billions of dollars in agricultural products, and just in my town has a couple of hundred million being spent in the tourism market…and it’s almost impossible to find a cup of coffee online, let alone serious services.

    I’ve now spent close to 10K online in a couple of months, mainly interstate or in the capital because trying to find local suppliers is too slow…they do exist, and slowly but surely I’ve found some very good businesses in most sectors, but digitally they’re in the stone age.

    My experience with regional clients in Vic is that there’s some low fruit and easy pickings in the local search market, especially for the services that tie in with mobile searches…simple services, food etc. My gut feel is it’s possibly the same here, only more so.

    Opportunity? or a waste of time? I’m not sure…I would be sure if I was still 30 something with kids to feed.

    I do smell some potential though, and thought I may be able to cut myself a small piece of it…just no idea how to price or brand it.

    Cheers

    #1201138
    gingerbeardhs
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    I would price and market it like a business mobile phone plan. If you market it as a business package and include in it what the price gets them in return eg. $59.95/month get site hosting, email monitoring and x amount of “edit credits” or something where creating a new email address is an edit credit or changing something small in the page is a credit. Offer 8-10 credits in the package and sell extra at $10 each maybe?

    Main thing is to market it as a business expense and not a personal expense & something necessary to the running of their business

    #1201139
    Greg_M
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    gingerbeardhs, post: 238517, member: 84763 wrote:
    I would price and market it like a business mobile phone plan. If you market it as a business package and include in it what the price gets them in return eg. $59.95/month get site hosting, email monitoring and x amount of “edit credits” or something where creating a new email address is an edit credit or changing something small in the page is a credit. Offer 8-10 credits in the package and sell extra at $10 each maybe?

    Main thing is to market it as a business expense and not a personal expense & something necessary to the running of their business

    Thanks for that,

    Quite like the idea, I’ll give it some serious consideration.

    Cheers

    #1201140
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    [USER=84763]@gingerbeardhs[/USER] suggestion is very good in two ways.

    1. It makes it easy to market because people will “get it”.
    2. It caps expectations – @$20 a month doesn’t get them a fully outsourced, integrated IT service.

    With regards to a starting point, I think $29/mo would be a sweet spot and this price can be increased over time as your reputation grows.Add 2 more choices at $10 intervals to give people a choice of 3 price points.

    #1201141
    Greg_M
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    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 238531, member: 78928 wrote:
    [USER=84763]@gingerbeardhs[/USER] suggestion is very good in two ways.

    1. It makes it easy to market because people will “get it”.
    2. It caps expectations – @$20 a month doesn’t get them a fully outsourced, integrated IT service.

    With regards to a starting point, I think $29/mo would be a sweet spot and this price can be increased over time as your reputation grows.Add 2 more choices at $10 intervals to give people a choice of 3 price points.

    Thanks,

    I think you guy’s have given me a great starting point and clarified where I should heading with this.

    Cheers

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