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Should I state hourly support rate in contract?

     
12:50 pm on Aug 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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A client is about to sign up to a website support contract. The client has an allotted number of hours each month to use for support, and if they go over this allowance they are charged at a standard hourly support rate.

The question is should I state this hourly rate in the contract itself, or is it sufficient to merely tell them what the hourly rate is, over the phone or via email.
12:55 pm on Aug 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Put it in writing. That's standard practice.
1:07 pm on Aug 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Always put it in the contract. Otherwise, they can always come backwith a "No, you never told me that" or "That's not what you said before."

But make sure you have time limits on your contract. Otherwise, you may commit yourself to cheap support for a very long time. An annual contract (that is automatically renewed each year unless one or both party cancels) is pretty standard. When you plan to change your support rates in the future, send notice and a revised contract well ahaead of the renewal date.
1:57 pm on Aug 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yes always in writing is definitely the way forward.
2:12 pm on Aug 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks LifeinAsia, I'm trying to get the support pricing model right. At the moment I have 3 packages, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Obviously there are more features available on the Gold package, but each package has a base number of allotted hours, for example:

Bronze X hours
Silver 2X hours
Gold 4X hours

But if the client goes over their allotted number of hours I need to strike a balance. The client needs to see value in moving from Bronze to Silver, rather than carrying on with Bronze and paying the standard hourly support rate if they go over.

Is the solution to this to come up with an hourly support rate which is quite high? Should this be the same hourly support rate that I charge people who do not have a contract with me?
2:05 am on Aug 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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your hourly support rate can be higher than your contracted rate; it it ought to be the same you charge people without a contract.

Always in writing.
You'll hear that advice a lot here, and it's good advice IMHO
5:35 am on Aug 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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In addition to above, I've successfully used limited time as well: 30days, 60days, 90, 120, etc... Some clients like that model and are willing to negotiate another block of time if they can't get it figured out...

On the other hand, if you want the client dependent upon your services (and they are okay with that) price accordingly.

All depends on the client, what they are capable of, and what they want as a result.
1:43 pm on Aug 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Put it in writing as it is part of the contract. The most pale ink is vastly superior to the best memory, especially when it comes to contract details.
9:26 pm on Aug 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Should this be the same hourly support rate that I charge people who do not have a contract with me?


Personally I do, but it depends on your own USPs and recession strategy if relevant. No one likes paying a hiked-rate, but pre-paid clients should get a highly responsive service at no extra cost.