July 19, 2017

Reader feedback on offering maintenance packages

In a recent message (“Should I offer maintenance packages?” on Jul 17), I said that maintenance packages are probably not a good thing for independent software developers to offer to their clients.

Reader William Cobb wrote in to share his experience (shared with permission, bold mine):

Hi Jonathan,

I’ve had good and bad. The good thing is they have brought me more leads. For example, one client I’ve been doing maintenance for over 2 years for just signed on with me again to redo their website - now that their business has grown, they are paying me 500% more this time around than when I built their original one 2 years ago.

But overall, I hate doing maintenance. It’s draining and the profit margin is very minimal. I do the same work to send out an invoice for $120 at the end of the month that I do for a $4,000 invoice. And to rebut my own statement above - I’m sure I can find just as good leads in other ways than patiently doing maintenance for 2 years first.

The only “maintenance” I do that IS profitable is hosting. I have it automated and the profit margin is significant enough that I keep offering it to my website clients.


Thanks for sharing, William!

(BTW - I would consider an automated hosting service a SaaS, not a maintenance package.)