5 Ways to Slash and Reduce Ongoing Web Development Costs – A look into tracking, planning, retainer, hourly and other labor related items and non-labor related costs and some answers as to how to reduce ongoing web development costs.
Tracking and Planning Helps You Develop and Understand Budget Requirements
Nobody likes the feeling that unexpected expenses create.
- Keeping track of your actual expenses and when they are due sounds simple until you are into a web project that might be using multiple plugins, extensions or 3rd party services.
- Without these being organized, it’s not long until the expenses just keep flying in on you unexpectedly, often at unplanned times. This can be an uncomfortable situation.
- Organizing and understanding expenses and how to budget for them can tremendously impact and lower the aggregate yearly expenses for the project.
It always seems like signing up for a needed service or extension will be easy to track, but most projects with significant impact use many of these and depending on when they were signed up for, the renewal dates (and even necessity) can vary greatly and create quite an unpleasant consequence when not expected. Many fall behind and fail to reduce ongoing web development costs just due to being disorganized.
Organize Licenses Paid as Part of Operation and Set Budgets to Track
Use tools to keep track of when expenses come due relative to your budget.
- Create tracking and organize when licenses (such as for plugins or other project related services come due). Track web development expenses on a separate Google Calendar, in a Document, Spreadsheet or utilize some other tracking method.
- Prepare a budget that is allocated to plugin licenses and use tools to take all potential items info account for a preparing a website development budget based on your above summary
You have to do the work to know what expenses are likely to be, but it’s work that keeps on paying off.
Understand Lock-Ins in Planning
Staying on top of renewals ensures you can properly allocate budget, take advantage of prepayment discounts where beneficial, and avoid scrambling with last-minute unplanned expenses.
- Pre-paying yearly vs monthly for hosting and licenses and licensing can have some negative effects such as precluding the hosting be changed without losing money, often at time when it needs to be for important things such as performance.
- Same goes for license costs when contemplating a switch. These pre-payments often making a difference
- Sometimes the after costs of pre-payment can be much more than the discount on pre-payment in terms of lost business, additional development costs and possibly not offering beneficial features to your users.
- Understand where prepayments make sense and where flexibility outweighs upfront savings before committing budgets.
Waiting to take action on an important item can often have impact well beyond the benefit of pausing due to a prepaid advantage.
Setting Up Retainers for Multiple Requirement Types Contributes to More Control in a Project
Having a quarterly or monthly retainer for ongoing website development projects in place for unexpected or new project focus items gives flexibility to take on additional work without having to go into panic mode in a cool and collective fashion. It also incentivizes the contractor to deliver high-quality work within the paid hours to provide for a continued renewal of the retainer.
Budgeting for common predictable tasks in a retainer ensures they get done on time and don’t create a negative financial circumstances relative to deferral. It also allows you to control costs by setting fixed rates rather than variable hourly charges.
Retainers give the ability to budget a set amount upfront instead of variable per request charges. This can be a major impact to your initiative to reduce ongoing web development costs.
Setup Retainers for channeled items. A few are listed below, but this can expand to marketing, sectors of marketing , etc. (across multiple active service channels that you have where you may utilize contract or continual assistance)
Examples of Retainer Types
Retainer 1: Retainer Setup for Ongoing Work or Unexpected
- Block hour retainers generally let you bulk buy hours upfront at a lower cost.
- Purchase retainer hours in 10, 20 or 40 hour increments (as an example) at a reduced hourly rate to save money.
- Set this up separately than common tasks
How this might work:
- You pay quarterly for 20 hours of (possible or expected) development work
- You upfront purchase 10 or 20 hours of work to be applied to expected projects
Retainer 2: Setup a Retainer for Common Tasks
- Retainers give the ability to budget a set amount upfront instead of variable per request charges.
- You can appropriate funds for a monthly review, share your renewal calendar with your developer and have them check both the status of plugin updates (ie: which are critical, if any) and run those ahead of regularly scheduled time in the retainer for things like updates, say quarterly.
- Set this up separately from the Ongoing retainer
How this might work:
- You know you have recurring updates to do for plugins and core systems
- You want to do updates quarterly and have them be a part of a retainer
- You know you want an in-depth review of the site each month to take into account which updates should be done or which licenses for extensions may no longer be needed or whether there might be a component change suggestion
- You pay for quarterly updates and monthly reviews in a monthly or quarterly retainer
Labor with Continuity Provides a Higher Quality Infrastructure Maintaining a Valuable Resource – People!
Capable service and availability over a continual period should be more important than obtaining a low rate with someone who is providing a temporary for-hire solution as traction in a project leads to cost savings on items that you’ll undoubtedly have to seal with in the future. This is technology overall. You want an experienced website developer and support staff that’s ready at a moment’s notice to handle any emergencies or important items. Temporary labor can lose traction as they apply their available time across many small projects and small items.
- Use contractors proven by experience.
- Send them continual work based on your setup budget
- This keeps the contractor engaged and current
You don’t need a huge team, but you do need people you can rely on with short notice as technology issues can arise from a variety of different directions that are often out of control of either you or your service providers. Examples of this are software updates, conflicting scripting within module technology, server or hosting issues. The list really goes on and on as to what you might need a relationship with a capable provider for and it’s a tremendous asset to have somebody onboard to handle WordPress Emergencies, WordPress Repair or other important web development items that are present on an ongoing basis (or items on other platforms if you aren’t using WordPress).
Wisely Utilize Hourly Service to Reduce Ongoing Web Development Costs
Hourly labor can be a tremendous asset to your growth, but it can also become a costly endeavor.
- Use hourly engagements for items you don’t have covered with your existing help.
- These also serve a dual purpose that they allow to confirm things such as skill level and help evaluate somebody you might consider for a retainer.
- Hourly initiatives should not have be your go to, but a tool to put you in contact with those capable of handling a more robust collection of objectives.
It takes time to establish good relationships that make your business more solid. This comes with the territory and working with hourly or small contract labor typically has to be a part of this. Use it as a crutch to get to where you can maintain one or more solid providers and the benefit will carry through to a more stable footprint for your business.
Avoid False Promises and Deals Too Good to be True
Vet marketing partners carefully and understand if their incentives (and actual capability of delivery and subject knowledge) fully align with what’s best for your company before overcommitting budget.
- Networks such as Fiver can be great for temporary low cost help, but may not sustain an overall goal of safety and security that simply budgeting for can achieve
- Much time of a professional developer often has to be spent for low cost solutions previously worked on from a discount service. Finding a discount implementation actually often leads to more cost expense later to fix it. Keep this in mind.
Companies are now changing their “in” with business owners to marketing for you with less emphasis being placed on the platform and sustaining it, which can often lead to non-delivery or other unexpected consequences (for not having the appropriate amounts budgeted relative to real world costs that are actually needed to run the project)