|Support Contracts - What to do with unused allotted time?|
I offer support contracts to my clients who I create websites for.
I have 3 support packages and each one offers a different amount of allotted support time per month for a set fee per month.
I have one client who before the first contract was signed (a year ago) asked that any unused support time be transferred to the following month.
I said that this was not possible and drew comparison with UK mobile phone contracts where any unused minutes in a month are lost.
Now the client is looking to renew the contract after the first year and the client has asked that at the end of each month any unused support time is used up by us by proactively finding out what improvements can be made on the client's website and then making the improvements. The downside of this is that you only find this out at the end of the month.
Do you think this is a reasonable request? Or do you have any suggestions on the best way to deal with this and left over support time?
Well, you can stick to your guns, or you can offer an alternative plan that allows an aggregate total number of support minutes ever. And hope that your client doesn't demand a reimbursement if he dies before using up his minutes.
There are gazillions of analogies, but what you've basically got is the insurance concept. You offer 10 days a year of sick time on the assumption that most people will only need 2 or 3. You charge 1% of the value of the property for insurance, on the assumption that most people will not be burglarized and stripped clean every year. The service contract is 10% of the price of the product, because most people won't need a full replacement during the warranty period. Your savings account gets plumper with time because you don't have an unforeseen emergency every month.
And so on.
I sense that you want to offer this client something more progressive.
Here's an idea
let the client "bank" extra support time to the following month, but with a limitation of 2 months (3, including the current one).
month 1: 10 allotted, 3 used, 7 banked
month 2: 10 allotted, 10 used, 7 + 0 banked
month 3: 10 allotted, 1 used, 7 + 0 + 9 banked
month 4: 10 allotted, 5 used, 0 + 9 + 5 banked
month 5: 10 allotted, 2 used, 9 + 5 + 8 banked
month 6: 10 allotted, 0 used, 5 + 8 + 10 banked
month 7: 10 allotted, 10 used, 8 + 10 + 0 banked
then in the following month if they have a major catastrophe you can offer them 28 hours (10 allotted, 18 banked) that they've paid for already, & invoice if they need more than 28 hours.
And if they don't want to waste their money, they'll find something useful for you to do every 3 months.