Sell Packages or Time?

10 replies
I just watched a vid where the presenter suggests selling "time" instead of services. The idea is that the client signs on and "we" use our expertise to decide from our large list of services what to do to make them money.

For example: The client pays $400. month and you give them 4-8 hours of your time working on their account. You do whatever you think will work for that client. If they have their heart set on soemthing specific - you add that in. In the case of a website, the client doesn't own it until several months have gone by.

This goes against my previous biz plan of offering 3 specific, "scaled" up packages and/or add-ons such as social and mobile marketing.

My issue is that for most of my small biz clients, the smallest "time" package will be more than enough for them to get results and i'm not sure how I could scale that up.

Do I offer a second keyword? Hold back certain "essential" services for higher costing packs?

Can anyone offer pros/cons of this variation of service?

#packages #sell #time
  • Most enterprise level SEO works more on a hourly basis vs package basis. For instance a SEO firm might have 5 account managers that work on 4 websites each. Each account gets specific SEO like content, keyword, competitor research and linkbuilding per billable hours.
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  • Profile picture of the author Transcripts
    I guess you could ask a client what they would prefer. Since it sounds like you are saying you'd like to sell time packages either way a client knows how much they are spending, so the element of uncertainty regarding price wouldn't be an issue.
    How Can a Transcription Service Help You Create Content Even if You Never Write or Type a Word?
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Payne
    I would ask yourself if I was a client what would settle best with me? You would have a hard time selling me on the time package...because as far as I know you could be outsourcing all of this work. Also would the customer really know what he is getting with a time package? If you can guarantee results great, but everyone knows with SEO you really can't guarantee results. I think it is best for the customer to know what he is getting in return for his investment with you.

    Most people still don't realize that a lot of people are skeptical of SEO anyways...that is one reason why it is so hard to sell unless you are working with an established website firm.

    When you are selling websites it is a little different. You can charge a custmer $35 an hour and tell the customer it will take 10 hours to finish the site.

    SEO is really different.....I think it's best the customer knows exactly what he is paying for.
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    • Profile picture of the author BerkleyStreet
      Thanks - some great points!

      I guess my real struggle is justifying the recurring monthly charges. How many hours do you guys really spend (assuming no outsourcing) in the months following the the first? What are you doing to justify the monthly cost?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
    I just do packages but I am thinking about adding revision fees after a certain point for design and blog work. That way it will limit them from trying to change everything over and over again.

    So I might charge $800-1500 for a WordPress blog (but only includes 10-12 hours of setup. Anything above that requires $50 hour etc)

    As far as monthly I just charge between $200-$400 per month and after my setup it only take me about 40 minutes a month to manage all my clients total.
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  • Profile picture of the author jsherloc
    I remember reading about the whole "selling your time" thing a few years ago. I think it was a part of larger marketing consultant package. They made it seem like the way to go, the most professional, etc....

    Then I actually started dealing with local business owners and realized that the whole "selling time" thing is more realistic for the online "guru" crowd than the offline consulting crowd. Unless you have a longstanding amazing relationship within the community already and are known for nothing less than stellar results by just about everyone or if you own a HUGE corporate advertising firm....I think you will have a VERY difficult time approaching businesses in this manner in my opinion.

    Revision fees are a good idea though as rockstar mentioned above.

    - Jim
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  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
    I break all my work into modules so for example a site is one module, google places is another module and so on.

    I have a time module also for things that do not fit like research etc.

    This makes it easy for my customers and gives them finite choices. Later as they get to know me they tend to go more for the hourly rate depending on their needs.

    An initial customer may order a website module, mobile site module, google places module.

    Later they may add a traffic module, advanced seo, posting etc.

    I find that most businesses hate open ended pricing.

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  • Profile picture of the author Nomar86
    We offer both at my work. Time & fixed prices with packages.

    Web Development, SEO, Wordpress, Money Making Ideas

    - Nomar

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  • Profile picture of the author bombasdeagua
    Interesting idea. But i guess user must give you some tips to start.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    I think is very important to listen to the customer and find out what THEY are interested in. Most of them have read a little something about marketing online and have an idea.

    Find out what they are struggling with. What parts of their business give them the most trouble? What are their competitors doing that they do or don't like? In general, chat them up and let them know you are more concerned about their problems than you are about selling your services.

    This type of conversation will go a long way.

    Then, after they feel your sincerity start putting together their CUSTOM package.

    How do you do this? You sit down beforehand and write the services you offer. You figure out how much time each takes you and set your prices based on that. Then, based on the methods, you add a premium based on how much value they should get out of that method.

    For example, if you have something that will only take you 30 mins and cost you $100 but will make them $1000 monthly (just an example) then you can charge them $500 - $600 one-time with $200 monthly. If you have something that will take you 10 mins, cost you $50, but will make them $10,0000, you can easily charge them $2,000 one-time with $500 monthly.

    See what I mean? You are setting your price on your hours AND the value you are bringing them.

    Now you have these services lined out in your head and their prices, you can sit in front of your customer, hear their concerns and then take out a piece of paper and build them their own custome package.

    In my opinion, their custom package should include some items that are charged up front and some that are monthly.

    Pricing studies have found that when presented with three choices, most people pick the middle choice. This is because they want value without appearing too cheap or too extravagant.

    So, on your paper, build them three custom packages and three different one-time and monthly price points. They will know you are concerned and see you for the expert professional that you are.

    Good luck!
    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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