Isn’t recurring revenue great? No more chasing late website maintenance fees.
No more worrying about where the next sale is coming from.
Recurring revenue creates predictability of cash flow, which in turn helps you to scale your business.
Or at least that’s how it should be.
Creating a business model that runs on recurring revenue is one thing.
However, if it’s not efficiently managed, you’ll spend wasted time needlessly eating into your profits.
Having managed thousands of WordPress sites in my career, I’ve tried multiple ways of charging clients.
Therefore I wanted to offer my advice on how you can make the collection of website maintenance fees easier.
So here’s what we’ll look at today …
Offering WordPress maintenance can be a great way to create recurring revenue.
If you’re an agency, it’ll nicely cover some costs of running the business (you’re probably doing much bigger stuff than website maintenance).
If you’re a small team or even a one person band, it can provide a very nice lifestyle business.
Efficiency is the secret ingredient though.
Time spent chasing clients for money is not efficient.
We’re all so used to paying for things on a subscription basis now.
We pop our card details in and hey presto, we’re billed periodically until we cancel.
For me, this is a non-negotiable when offering WordPress website maintenance to clients.
You’ve got to get them on some kind of regular payment setup otherwise it’ll become a serious pain spending time chasing your website maintenance fees.
5 ways you can make payment collection easier for your website maintenance fees
#1 Clear terms before you start
This is key.
When you’re in the stage of selling to your potential client, be super clear about your payment terms.
This isn’t just explaining how much you charge and what services are included. It’s also about how you take payment.
Tell them as early as possible in the process.
If they don’t like the way you’re setup, that’s fine, they aren’t the right client for you and you can thank them for their time and move on.
Don’t change the way you take payments for one or two clients.
It’ll take you more time than it’s worth.
Stick to your process and the right clients will respect it.
#2 Offer an annual payment option
Sounds like a simple one but this was a game changer for me.
If you find it a pain chasing clients for money, then offering an annual payment option reduces that headache to a once-a-year thing.
Don’t be nervous about this.
I guess you might be thinking that there’s no way clients will pay for a whole year in one go.
Offer them a little discount for doing so however, and there’s plenty of clients who just want things paid for instead of paying month on month.
Personally, I’d recommend making sure you always have a regular monthly option for your website maintenance fees as well (more on that later).
By having monthly and annual options available, you’re giving the client a choice, which lowers the barrier to sign up.
An annual option can be great for a number of reasons:
- It improves your cashflow – you’ll have more money in the bank more quickly than if you only get paid once per month. Use this better cashflow position to reinvest in your sales / marketing / whatever.
- Your client gets a ‘deal’ – it’s common to give your client a small discount for paying annually, typically 10% but yours could be different.
- You can offer it to existing clients, giving them the same discount as a thank you for their loyalty
So whatever your website maintenance fees are, create an annual option, with a discount as an incentive and see how many of your clients take this up.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
#3 Standing order
If you’re currently taking payment on invoice, I strongly suggest you at least move to standing orders.
These are fairly simple to arrange but rely on your client actually setting them up with their bank.
With these in place, you’ll get paid on the same day every month and they usually don’t come with any charges either.
Just provide your clients with your business bank details, as well as the day of the month you want to receive their payment and then ask them to set it up.
As with #1 above, give them this information as early in the process as possible.
Preferably, you’ll do this at the proposal stage, when you’re presenting to them and making the case for why they should work with you.
#4 All-in-one WordPress management app
It’d be remiss of me to not mention Glow in this article.
For the most slick and professional setup, you can open a Glow account and turn on the white-label feature.
Tell Glow how much you charge for each of your monthly maintenance plans, harness our Stripe integration and onboard your customers through Glow’s simple user interface.
You’ll get paid on the same day each month (minus some small charges from Stripe).
#5 Direct debit
Direct debits are another way to guarantee regular payments from your clients.
Slightly different to a standing order, this is where your clients authorise you to take money out of their account at regular intervals.
They’re a little more complicated to setup and manage than standing orders however.
For example, you’ll need to expressly notify your clients of any change to the amount or date on which their payment will be taken.
With something like a Glow/Stripe integration as mentioned in #4 above, you’re free to change pricing whenever you want.
Of course you should always notify clients of changes like this but you won’t need to involve banks in order to do it.
In conclusion, with the right processes and payment solution in place, receiving money from your clients should be simple.
It shouldn’t take up excess time in your already busy schedule.
Get used to talking to your clients as early in the process as possible about your payment terms and don’t change them just because one client doesn’t like them.
The right clients will respect your setup every time.
Offering an annual payment option with a discount is a great way to improve cashflow that you can reinvest into the business.
Some kind of automated monthly collection process is important too.
Whether that be a standing order, direct debit or a solution via your WordPress maintenance app.
Over to you now …
I’d love to know how you take payments from your clients. Just drop your answers in the comments below.