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#1 2011-07-22 01:09:49

tye
Member
From: Pottsville, NSW
Registered: 2005-07-06
Posts: 814
Website

Keeping Textpattern updated & Clients

OK – got a question which has been bugging me for a while so thought I’d open it up to discussion.

Should you charge clients to upgrade txp when new versions are released, or should this be a free service?

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#2 2011-07-22 01:19:59

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 5,980
Website

Re: Keeping Textpattern updated & Clients

My rule of thumb is:

  • Major releases (e.g. 4.3.0 -> 4.4.0) : probably yes, I’d consider charging some nominal fee because it may involve more work chasing down plugin incompatibilities, plus the upgrade of plugins that goes along with it and checking the site for errors.
  • Minor releases (e.g. 4.4.0 -> 4.4.1) probably not since it’s normally pretty smooth.
  • The bigger the version jump, the higher the price

The smd plugin menagerie — for when you need one more gribble of power from Textpattern.

Txp Builders – finely-crafted code, design and Txp

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#3 2011-07-22 01:59:26

tye
Member
From: Pottsville, NSW
Registered: 2005-07-06
Posts: 814
Website

Re: Keeping Textpattern updated & Clients

that makes sense – nice and fair

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#4 2011-07-22 02:06:14

Gocom
Developer
Registered: 2006-07-14
Posts: 4,476
Website

Re: Keeping Textpattern updated & Clients

No one should have to do work for free. Everyone has to eat and get paid. If I were the client, I would pay for updates, and I would want updates, especially security related.

Then again there are clients that do not want to pay for updates. Clients that don’t want to do long lasting contracts. Some of those clients can cause you problems if and when a security update is released, but they don’t want to commit to upgrading. But when they do get compromised, who is the one that is going to get all the blame? Yeah.

Which either goes to the point where you offer the updates for free (willingly or unwillingly) to some or all clients, or take the blame when something bad happens.


Rah-plugins | What? I’m a little confused… again :-) <txp:is_god />

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#5 2011-07-22 06:06:22

masa
Member
From: Reykjavik, Iceland
Registered: 2005-11-25
Posts: 1,079

Re: Keeping Textpattern updated & Clients

I pretty much follow Stef’s suggestion.

In any case though, I’d recommend you get the clients OK upfront: nothing irritates them as much as being billed for something they didn’t know about.
Or you could work out a maintenance contract, so you’d do whatever upgrades for a fixed monthly/annual fee.

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#6 2011-07-22 14:29:34

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 5,980
Website

Re: Keeping Textpattern updated & Clients

masa

I agree about letting the client know about the upgrades up-front!

Or you could work out a maintenance contract, so you’d do whatever upgrades for a fixed monthly/annual fee.

That’s something I like as well, although I rarely do it for Txp. In these frugal times, most people I’ve talked to don’t like the idea of dead money on maintenance contracts they may never use any more. So a nice alternative is what we call “engineering time”. The client buys a hunk of time in advance — the more bought up-front the cheaper it works out overall. As the project progresses or maintenance becomes required you contact the client, get them to approve the work and then “call off” the time against what they’ve already paid. And if the work takes longer or the features creep, they can “top up” the engineering time, like a mobile phone :-)


The smd plugin menagerie — for when you need one more gribble of power from Textpattern.

Txp Builders – finely-crafted code, design and Txp

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#7 2011-07-22 17:07:27

frickinmuck
Member
From: Vancouver, BC
Registered: 2008-05-01
Posts: 105
Website

Re: Keeping Textpattern updated & Clients

A great way to get around the resistance to paying for upgrades, etc. is to look at other things that the client may need/want, and roll that all into a small “maintenance” job/site update. For example, an SEO refresh, updates to featured homepage banners, news updates, etc. Clients who are less likely to recognize the value of things they can’t see/understand will often respond well to the idea of an overall update to the site that incorporates things they can see.

But failing that, yes – a client should pay for everything you do for them, and that includes upgrades. If you’re thinking about/doing anything related to their project, you are on the clock. That means handling phone calls and emails from the client, as well, which is time freelancers often forget to bill for.


The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else.

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#8 2011-07-23 04:40:15

joebaich
Member
From: DC Metro Area and elsewhere
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 477
Website

Re: Keeping Textpattern updated & Clients

Just as Mave observes, Textpattern end users (clients) rarely are in a position to appreciate upgrades fully; if all is going swimmingly well with their website there isn’t a problem and perhaps no pressing requirement. Nevertheless, most understand the need for updates especially those related to security issues.

We bundle the design and deployment of a Textpattern based website with a subsequent hosting, support and maintenance package for a quarterly fee. This includes timely application of updates to Textpattern and its plugins. We encourage and tutor clients to post new articles and amendments to their sites themselves, even if it is as ‘pending’ for us to check out and publish to ‘live’. This helps with Textpattern awareness and an appreciation of what we do to keep the installation up to date. We email clients a day or two before setting about an upgrade and again afterwards to let them know that we have completed the job and that all is well.

Last edited by joebaich (2011-07-23 04:41:27)

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#9 2011-07-23 16:12:31

gaekwad
Moderator
From: North Cornwall, UK
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 1,153
Website

Re: Keeping Textpattern updated & Clients

masa wrote:

Or you could work out a maintenance contract, so you’d do whatever upgrades for a fixed monthly/annual fee.

This. I’m a big fan of setting out the things involved over time – either offering to do the upgrade for a set fee, or training them in how to do it themselves – that way there are no surprises and expectations are set. Most businesses will recognise the need for maintenance contracts/agreements, and if they’re sold correctly, you can position the shiny new things alongside the security fixes.

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