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Upgrading SilverStripe /

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Moderators: martimiz, Sean, Ed, biapar, Willr, Ingo, swaiba

Charging clients for upgrades?

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12 Posts   4050 Views


Community Member, 80 Posts

24 January 2010 at 6:38am

Just curious how you guys handle doing CMS upgrades on SS version releases for your clients after you have completed a project. Do you typically do this for a charge? Offer it as part of your agreement?

I have a few clients who could offer the upgrade too, but as many of you freelancers may agree, time = money!


Forum Moderator, 5523 Posts

26 January 2010 at 8:38pm

I normally charge my freelance clients a yearly retainer fee. This covers domains, hosting, support and keeping their site updated with the latest versions. Because the SS releases quite often include security updates I feel its good practice and house keeping to kept each project as up to date as possible to prevent any security flaws getting in (which *may* result in a lawsuit depending on the type of client / data you are dealing with)


Community Member, 607 Posts

15 February 2010 at 3:56pm

I'm in the same boat as Will. Annual support fee that is completely optional for the client. I just make sure they understand what that fee gives them. If not explained correctly, these fees can sometimes be misconstrued as "hidden".

As a Freelancer, it doesn't really bother me if they go for it or not, but I do try to persuade them to do so as upgrades often have a carry-on effect of reducing support contact. A freelancer's time is better spent elsewhere. It's also a valid reason and very positive way to keep in touch with clients.

If they don't take a support contract, I simply charge for the time at my hourly rate as they request. So the decisions is really a risk and cash-at-hand related one for the client.

It's not alot different to buying a new car. You can buy a service plan, or pay as you go in bigger increments.



Community Member, 607 Posts

15 March 2010 at 10:07am

Edited: 15/03/2010 10:08am

Please don't hijack threads. You only decrease your chances of finding help anyway, since this thread has absolutely nothing to do with what you are asking. So someone who may be able to help will completely miss it.

Start a new thread.


Community Member, 904 Posts

15 March 2010 at 11:34am

He's just a spammer. They usually don't care about hijacking threads do they? But yeah.. it's kinda annoying.


Community Member, 4 Posts

12 April 2010 at 9:20pm

I'm just starting out with SS and am hoping it will might my needs in terms of customer' CMS.

As a freelance web designer who has recently got back into this full time I am very interested in this thread as I am unsure about what to charge in terms of site maintenance. I know that the point of a CMS is to allow others to manage content but am thinking about whether to charge a retainer fee. What exactly do you charge for? From this discussion I gather that you would charge for domains, hosting etc. but I do not provide domains or hosting myself. I would just be charging for updates such as security fixes and upgrades. What is a 'reasonable' figure to charge per year? I ask this as a newbie to SS and so don't really know how often these updates are likely to occur.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me to get started.


Community Member, 607 Posts

12 April 2010 at 11:02pm

Edited: 12/04/2010 11:03pm

Hi mate,

Hosting and Domains don't really come into this discussion as they are fixed costs that the customer has to pay for anyway.

Within the context of this discussion, it really is no different than buying a car from a car yard.

You can either pay annually for mechanical insurance, and get your car fixed and regularly maintained under that insurance. Or you can pay by the hour to have the same work done as and when you require. Which option is cheaper in the long term is dependent on the reliability of the car, and how picky you are as the owner.

What I have learned to avoid (through hard lessons) is upgrading code base like Silverstripe for clients for free. It takes your time to do and my clients have 3 options:

1. Pay an annual fee to keep their site on the latest and greatest source code. In my case, this also covers answering the simple email and phone queries they have in a timely manner. Some clients do this.
2. Pay for my time to do all of the above on an as-need basis. This is what most accountants or lawyers will do. Most clients do this and learn to curtail trivial requests when they realise a web developer's time isn't free.
3. Leave code and site as is - Only a few go for this option on a brand new site.

There are special instances where I will manage upgrades for free. Like a major security hole that is in my interest to plug, not least because I recommended SS. But I have simply found that if you get yourself in a position of doing freebies for clients too often, they often expect the same time and time again.

Really this can be configured anyway that works for you, and is financially viable. E.G. Spend $XX,XXX and get one year's free upgrade maintenance - After that the cost is $XX per month. (Car yards do this on brand new cars) Make different levels of support contracts if you like (But I would steer clear of the complexities of managing this if you are freelancing).

It's really up to you, the type of clients you deal with, the type of services you off, and your local market really.



Community Member, 4 Posts

12 April 2010 at 11:21pm

Thanks. That's really helpful. Would you be able to give me some kinda ballpark figure of what to charge? I know that's a bit direct and a lot of people don't like to disclose rates but I find this bit much harder than doing the work, ie. working out what to charge.

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