A paid WordPress maintenance plan can be a great source of recurring revenue. But what if you’ve been doing WordPress maintenance for free?
Uh-oh. How do you transition from free maintenance to a paid WordPress maintenance plan?
Don’t worry. You can make the transition. Here’s a four-step process to get you there:
1. Educate Clients
First, you need to educate clients about the importance of maintenance. This is something you haven’t prepared them for, so you need to do some teaching.
Let them know there’s a lot of work you’re doing—work vital to their sites being live—and you’ve been doing it for free.
2. Say You Can’t Work for Free
Explain to your clients that you can’t continue to work for free.
This can be hard. Some freelancers prefer to avoid these kinds of conversations. But if you’re serious about increasing your income and growing your business, you need to have hard conversations.
By explaining that you can’t work for free, you’re making a very reasonable argument. Any fair-minded client will recognize that they shouldn’t expect you to work for free. It’s entirely reasonable that you should charge for this service.
3. Give Your Clients Options
Now you need to give your clients some options. Your ultimate goal is to move your clients to a paid WordPress maintenance plan, so that should be the most appealing option.
- Do nothing: Your clients can let maintenance lapse and wait for their sites to break. Explain why this isn’t a good option.
- Do it yourself: You can offer to educate your clients with training or a DIY guide (you decide how much to offer—you’re under no obligation to do anything).
- Hire me: They can start paying for your new maintenance plan.
And it might help to make your paid WordPress maintenance plan more than you’ve been doing for free. Maybe you add security or more backups. Do something to beef it up. This isn’t necessary, but it might help some of your reluctant clients make the right choice.
You could also offer a discount. Give them the first month free or 20% off for six months. The amount of the discount doesn’t matter—they’ve been getting it for free—but psychologically you’re helping them transition to paying full price. It also makes you seem even more reasonable. Again, this is not at all necessary—but if you’re struggling with this choice and want to entice your clients to stay, this might help.
4. Set a Firm Date
Finally, you need to set a firm date for the transition and cut off your freeloading clients.
You’ve got to draw a line in the sand and stick to it. Everything else is about trying to move your clients onto a paid WordPress maintenance plan. That’s the ideal scenario.
But let’s be real: Not every client is going to transition to a paid plan.
You let them get it for free, and for some clients, the die is cast. They’ll always want it for free. Don’t sweat it. Cut those clients loose and move on.
Giving a date creates urgency and forces a decision. And that deadline is as much for you as it is for them. It’s a kick in the pants to move you forward toward a paid WordPress maintenance plan.
It’s the right move. Sometimes we just need a push to get there.
Move to a Paid WordPress Maintenance Plan
Recurring revenue offers the stability to build a solid freelance business. A paid WordPress maintenance plan is a great way to do it—so make sure you’re charging for it. And if you’re not, hopefully, this will get you there.
Learn more with the Recurring Revenue Summit, a three-hour, on-demand webinar with expert Nathan Ingram. He talks through how to create recurring revenue services, including specific tips and suggestions for selling and executing these services.