How to make money on the support of Internet projects ?!

    We have learned how to make money on the support service for Internet projects. It turns out to be possible. For several years, life convinced me otherwise, and I almost agreed with her. But ... There is a way.

    What does not work?


    Subscription fee. It would seem that the most supportive option for studios is a monthly fee from the client and a fixed set of services from the studios. Everything seems simple and profitable until you try. We begin to provide the promised set of services, but after some time we understand that we forgot to put in the cost of support - the cost of consultations, document management, disputes with client bookkeeping, training new client employees, night calls, our responsibility in the end ... As a result, support is even one client can unbalance the whole studio. It is useless to lay a high monthly fee. Most customers do not want to pay for nothing (in their opinion) and offer a payment option for each revision separately.

    Solving individual tasks.No less difficult option, when the client pays for each revision separately. As a rule, the solution of individual problems becomes unprofitable already at the stage of discussion with the client of the cost. An experienced studio manager knows that with this approach, even a trifle that is done for 5 minutes requires the participation of at least 3 people in the company (manager, programmer, accountant). As a result, disputes with the client about the amount of the invoice and the dissatisfied two parties.

    My experience shows that the above methods of customer support impose high risks on the studio to go negative if you keep the prices that the client will agree to.

    How to be? Refusing customer support would also be foolish. After all, the most expensive operation - getting the client has already been completed, it remains only to work and earn.

    Decision


    The solution in which we found a way out of the situation is an hourly work. This scheme involves paying for the work upon its completion, in accordance with the time worked out by the developers. The cost of an hour includes the overhead costs of the studio and the developer. We have been using such a scheme for more than 1.5 years and, most interestingly, we stopped cursing with customers, and they are with us. We started to earn support!

    What are the main advantages for the studio:
    • Minimal risks, or rather their absence. All hours worked will be paid by the customer. Of course, the client will not pay for obvious bugs. The studio itself takes over the payment of bugs as a guarantor of quality.
    • Clear planning. We know the volume of hours in a month, respectively, easily calculate the possible profit. It will certainly be less (on paper) than by the “prepaid” system, but much more stable and, as a result, more)
    • Minimum paper work. A report is sent to the client at the end of the month and an invoice for payment of the accumulated time. I remember the terrible times when an invoice, acts were prepared for each task, sent by courier, etc., and so on for a month.

    What is the minus:
    • Customer distrust. The most difficult thing is to convince the client that this scheme is the most correct for both parties. For the studio, with this scheme, you can work calmly, which means quality. Actually, this is necessary for the client. Does the client need cheaper? This is exactly the option. With an hourly schedule, the studio has no risks, which means that they are not included in the cost of an hour. For example, with hourly pay, the cost of an hour is almost 2 times lower than with an advance payment.

    With all this, the client is scared of two points, 1) the studio will wind up the clock, relying on the incompetence of the client, 2) the budget uncertainty for improvements.

    In the first paragraph, the client should simply believe you, and you, in turn, regularly (at the end of the day) mark the hours worked. At the second point - this is not such a lot of money that you need to plan ahead. In any case, the manager may call the customer a preliminary assessment. Reassure the customer. Exclude all other payment options. The most important thing is that the client would try this scheme of work once, then it’s like a drug ...

    What is needed for the hourly scheme to work?Use the task manager and give the client access to it. Let the client see the entire development process, the comments of the developers, receive a notification about the change in the status of tasks by email, etc. Let the client take part in commenting, testing the results and he will never want to return to the prepaid scheme. The client will become part of your team, see that projects are done in less than 5 minutes. He will understand how difficult this process is and will stop rushing and blaming you for no reason. You will see how the moment of distrust disappears after the first month of work.

    Of course, this scheme is not effective for all projects. It needs to be applied on large projects with a stable pool of improvements, or with clients who have many small sites that the studio outsourced. In our work, we use bugsyla to set tasks and control the time worked. It allows you to do a summary of hours worked per month for projects and developers. Partially, the process of working with bugsyla is described on our website . For clients, we made a separate document on which they get acquainted with the system.

    How much can you earn? How much - everyone decides for himself, adjusting the cost of the hour. The key word here is “make money." This post was written precisely for this. If this direction is not unprofitable, this is a great achievement)

    Perhaps all of the above, for the majority has already become a banal truth, but for me it was a revelation. If anyone has their own opinion on how to make money on support, I will be glad to hear. I hope that my notes will help studios make money on support, and clients will find stable partners and never swear with them)

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