My website, how much do I charge to maintain?
March 7, 2011 10:33 PM   Subscribe

My (soon to be) former employer wants me to maintain their website (that I built during my time there) as an outside contractor. How much should I charge them?

I put in my two weeks notice last week and since then, my boss has asked me if I wanted to still maintain the company website that I've built them. It's essentially a brochure, so there's not a ton to be done. Basically, I can foresee them wanting me to add some more pictures, add or subtract some product information and maybe post some bulletins. I don't see them asking me to do any overhauls or major, time consuming projects.

We haven't discussed details yet, but I'm sure I will have to soon. I've never done contractual work like this before so I'm not even sure where to start when it comes to how much to charge and stuff. Where should I begin? What are the standard sort of practices when it comes to this kind of service?

Tons of thanks in advance!
posted by Geppp to Work & Money (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
ask him for how many months and how many hours per month. then quote a higher price than you expect to work those hours. If he balks too much at the price (i.e. not negotiating down but just way beyond his budget) tell him you can't do it.
posted by the mad poster! at 10:42 PM on March 7, 2011

or she for that matter. Also don't let the maintenance nature of the work drag your prices down too much, cause your skillset is beyond maintenance and it's you they're asking to do it.
posted by the mad poster! at 10:45 PM on March 7, 2011

A rough contractor equivalent rate is double what you're paid per hour as a salary. This is to account for the extra risk you take on by having to find your own work, having no employee protections, and the costs of insurance, equipment, etc.
posted by cogat at 10:56 PM on March 7, 2011

Like cogat says, as a rule of thumb you can double your hourly pay as a contractor. And round - of you currently make 21.50 an hour, just make your new rate $50 an hour. For very occasional work (which is what it sounds like this is) I would bill monthly in a one hour minimum; ie in a given month when you have done work, the least you would bill for is one hour. In a month where there was no request, you send no bill.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:04 PM on March 7, 2011

I'd go with a maintenance contract that is more of a retainer, with a cap on the maximum hours worked. If you just bill for an hour here or there, it's not really worth your time. My profile has a self link to a post on setting an hourly rate. But I encourage people to come up with a minimum, because, really, is it worth $50 a month to have to keep all that knowledge of the site in your head? So you need to think about the value you're providing. It may be that $300 a month makes more sense. Perhaps think about what other value you can offer and present them with a package that will do more for both of you.
posted by acoutu at 11:25 PM on March 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

Make sure you really want to do it. Contracted work can be exhausting when people have a thing here and there to be changed and feel that it's drop dead urgent. Minor changes like you describe aren't worth a lot of money because they really don't take time, but they might totally stress you out if their idea of urgency isn't on par with yours.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:38 AM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm assuming infrequent requests that you would be fielding while managing some other full time endeavor (work/school/kids/whatever)

I'd charge twice my full time pay like DarlingBri said, if given a two week time from complete hand off of materials. I'd double that if they needed faster service. Sure, some days they give you something at the low rate and you can fit it in that same day, but you need to manage the expectations and let them know that it doesn't always work that way.
posted by advicepig at 6:42 AM on March 8, 2011

As an aside, if there is anything other than static HTML on this site, I'd have your former employer assume all liability related to intrusions via the site. Otherwise you'd best be insured in case they come after you.
posted by bfranklin at 6:53 AM on March 8, 2011

Personally, I'd try to quote them a price that would move everything to wordpress or something hosted. More work and money up front and then you dont have to be bothered for minor text and picture edits.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 8:16 AM on March 8, 2011

Decide on a 'retainer fee' that they can pay you monthly for any/all 'standard maintenance', and then an hourly rate for work that is over and above the day to day maintenance.

So, let's say you'd charge them $50/hour, and typical maintenance is pretty minimal and takes you about 5 hours a month. So, build out a contract with a monthly fee of $200 (=50x5-discount), spell out exactly what that includes, and have them agree to $50/hour for any work that is on top of that time or outside of those tasks. (You might want to list out other typical tasks and how many hours/dollars that would take.)
posted by Kololo at 11:15 AM on March 8, 2011

Yes, make sure to at least double your hourly rate as noted above. I'd also suggest a simple contractor's agreement specifying just what you'll be responsible for, and what expectations are.
posted by 4midori at 4:38 PM on March 8, 2011

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