Developing For Free And "leasing" For $50 A Month

9 replies
We all know a good way to get new prospects is to offer a lower price to get them in the door. If I offer $50 a month for hosting and admin charges with a 1 year contract, what should happen if they don't renew? Do you think it would be fair to yank their site offline and not give them the hosting files to upload on their own hosting? Obviously, I would try to come up with some type of contract for them to sign, but wouldn't that scare them off? What is the best way of doing this to keep control of the website- I would also own their domain name FYI. Do you guys even think a contract is necessary?
#$50 #developing #free #leasing #month
  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Originally Posted by aharrold View Post

    We all know a good way to get new prospects is to offer a lower price to get them in the door.
    I've never agreed with this. Many of these businesses spend hundreds of dollars a month on bills like the phone or electric bill. You can sell on price but it isn't needed.

    I have no idea what these sites are worth (ie the quality) but it you think $50 * 12 why not charge $500 (if they are worth $500) upfront for the design and say $20 to $50 a month for hosting and maintenance. Also you should have some kind of agreement if not an actual contract. If you can't afford to get one made by a lawyer make something simple till you have a few clients. Then have a lawyer redo it for the new clients.
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    • Profile picture of the author aharrold
      Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

      I've never agreed with this. Many of these businesses spend hundreds of dollars a month on bills like the phone or electric bill. You can sell on price but it isn't needed.

      I have no idea what these sites are worth (ie the quality) but it you think $50 * 12 why not charge $500 (if they are worth $500) upfront for the design and say $20 to $50 a month for hosting and maintenance. Also you should have some kind of agreement if not an actual contract. If you can't afford to get one made by a lawyer make something simple till you have a few clients. Then have a lawyer redo it for the new clients.
      You are right, I think a better pricing model would be to offer two payments of $500 and then a monthly charge
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  • Profile picture of the author hayfj2
    what are the terms of conditions on the sites of people offering similar services?

    What would you want to have in your own terms and conditions to protect your position, IPR and future revenues and minimise risk?
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeRogers
    The bottom line is that it's costing you money when they don't pay. I would be afraid of not charging them up front for web site design ($50 ain't enough). If they pull out, you are stuck with the cost of the web site and the domain name registration.

    If you insist on keeping this strategy then you definitely need a contract. If that scares them off then the possibility exists that they never intended to pay you anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author Justin T Wells
      There are plenty of guys who charge $500 for the design PLUS $50 a month for the hosting and basic maintenance. One I am thinking of in particular I think his sites are terrible for the price, but his clients love them and feel like they are saving a ton of money. That's what I hate about web design- prices and quality are all over the place with little correlation.

      I have got to say though that I personally hate this business model of web designers self-hosting their client's sites, whether you are using your own servers or those of a hosting company. What if something happens to you? What does your client do? He's out of luck. In my opinion, you should always do what's best for your client and not what's easier for you, if you must choose. What are the challenges a web designer faces with having admin access instead of full control? Can you use a reseller account but make it clear to your client who the host is and give them some sort of peace of mind that if there was ever a disagreement between you guys that they still have a website?

      Anyway, how would you be collecting the money? I would hope it would be a monthly auto debit and not you asking for a check every month.

      Also, what services would all be included? Have you given any thought to creating 3 levels of service, like $50, $100, $150, or whatever? Basic level could be site design and basic updates and changes, middle level you add in some seo services, and top level you throw in more value.

      I'd be less afraid of what a client might do and be more focused on why it would be dumb for the client to stop paying because of the tremendous value and service he gets- and remind him gently every so often somehow. Sure, you'll get people decide to stop paying for whatever reason. But what are you going to do with a contract that has a 1 year minimum? Are you going to take him to court over it? I would hope the answer is "no" because if this is your local market, you'd lose more than you'd gain by getting the money.

      Personally, I'd forget the whole idea of a contract and make that a selling point. Maybe it's different with web design and hosting, but generally if someone is month to month and a competitor comes along and offers a better deal but with a contract, the client places a certain value just on not having a 1 year plus commitment with you like they might with the other guy.

      I'm not saying don't have a contract- have one that spells out what you will do and what the terms are. But make it short and easy to understand. I'm just saying I would test out a monthly deal with no contract on autodebit and just see what happens. You can always change the offer later.

      In any case, I would certainly go a step above and take a genuine interest in helping the client make more money in his business. If you can show him measurably over time how he is making more money by hiring you, he would be a moron to ever cancel. More likely, he'd ask what else you can do and have his checkbook out.
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      • Profile picture of the author aharrold
        Originally Posted by Justin T Wells View Post

        There are plenty of guys who charge $500 for the design PLUS $50 a month for the hosting and basic maintenance. One I am thinking of in particular I think his sites are terrible for the price, but his clients love them and feel like they are saving a ton of money. That's what I hate about web design- prices and quality are all over the place with little correlation.

        I have got to say though that I personally hate this business model of web designers self-hosting their client's sites, whether you are using your own servers or those of a hosting company. What if something happens to you? What does your client do? He's out of luck. In my opinion, you should always do what's best for your client and not what's easier for you, if you must choose. What are the challenges a web designer faces with having admin access instead of full control? Can you use a reseller account but make it clear to your client who the host is and give them some sort of peace of mind that if there was ever a disagreement between you guys that they still have a website?

        Anyway, how would you be collecting the money? I would hope it would be a monthly auto debit and not you asking for a check every month.

        Also, what services would all be included? Have you given any thought to creating 3 levels of service, like $50, $100, $150, or whatever? Basic level could be site design and basic updates and changes, middle level you add in some seo services, and top level you throw in more value.

        I'd be less afraid of what a client might do and be more focused on why it would be dumb for the client to stop paying because of the tremendous value and service he gets- and remind him gently every so often somehow. Sure, you'll get people decide to stop paying for whatever reason. But what are you going to do with a contract that has a 1 year minimum? Are you going to take him to court over it? I would hope the answer is "no" because if this is your local market, you'd lose more than you'd gain by getting the money.

        Personally, I'd forget the whole idea of a contract and make that a selling point. Maybe it's different with web design and hosting, but generally if someone is month to month and a competitor comes along and offers a better deal but with a contract, the client places a certain value just on not having a 1 year plus commitment with you like they might with the other guy.

        I'm not saying don't have a contract- have one that spells out what you will do and what the terms are. But make it short and easy to understand. I'm just saying I would test out a monthly deal with no contract on autodebit and just see what happens. You can always change the offer later.

        In any case, I would certainly go a step above and take a genuine interest in helping the client make more money in his business. If you can show him measurably over time how he is making more money by hiring you, he would be a moron to ever cancel. More likely, he'd ask what else you can do and have his checkbook out.
        I have never really thought about what would happen if something happened to me lol *knock on wood* the client would be S.O.L.
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  • Profile picture of the author stevendbrady
    Leasing a site wouldn't be a bad choice, but I'd definitely give them a buyout option at the end of the contract term if they want to keep it. That being said, you could always offer two different courses of payments, a monthly lease or a flat development purchasing with monthly maintenance. Could possibly work better with companies that don't have as large of an online marketing budget.
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  • Profile picture of the author kpmedia
    Business these days want to buy sites, not lease/rent/whatever. They own it, not you.

    Anybody remember the Guthy-Renker "Americas Choice Mall" BS from the 1990s.
    There were lawsuits if I recall.
    This is always going to be a bad idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author Anthem40
    This is all very shady. It also is an indication that you are thinking to small. If you want to own the domain, be up front about it. There are some businesses out there that might agree to that if the pricing is cheap.

    However,

    it would be better to be ethical, and provide excellent results. You build a brand, have a happy client, are more connected in the business community and have an infinitely better chance at gaining a referral.

    Or maybe you piss someone off, you made peanuts and have ruralsmalltownlandscape.com and a bad reputation.
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    95% of IM'ers have great relationships with clients who also advertise offline and with other people. Stop missing out on that cash and leverage into it. PM me if you are an established marketer and want to find out how.
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