I recently created a site in SharePoint and I need to setup a maintenance/support agreement for the site. In addition to the site, there are some custom modules that were developed that we monitor. What considerations should I be making when determining how much to charge for supporting the SharePoint site and any custom applications developed for the site?
Some determining factors should include your level of experience and the complexity of the custom applications and content that is hosted within SharePoint. Ask yourself this:
- Are you SharePoint Developers?
- Are you SharePoint Administrators?
- Are you SharePoint Architects?
- Are you SharePoint Designers?
- All of the above?
You've spent years learning your skills so don't drop your pants on prices. Get paid what you're worth. Break-down all the different aspects of the work you will/could perform so that users/customers will understand that different jobs/tasks require different needs/skills. Don't complicate it, but let them briefly understand what's involved. Otherwise they will under-appreciate all you do and then question why your asking the prices you do.
And then also consider the services you are providing?
- Are you writing custom applications for the clients hosted on your servers?
- What maintenance is being performed?
- Break down your services into small bits, not large groups so that you are paid for all the things you do. Plus, this gives your customers a solid level of expectations.
I would certainly request fees in several areas ...
- Monthly hosting fees ($30 - $200 / month)
- Custom programming fees ($150 - $250 / hour)
- Server maintenance fees ($150 - $250 / hour OR packaged fees by task)
- Data maintenance fees ($150 - $250 / hour OR packaged fees by task)
- Training fees ($25 - $150 / hour)
As far as contracts go ...
- Create SLAs - service level agreements including timeframes and duties
- Prices - state clearly your duties and the fees
- Include server and data security topics
- Add a section for backup/recovery - explain in brief detail what this mean - users will not understand unless you give them an explaination
- Hours of operation and emergency contact information
Additionally, make sure you have an insurance policy with a reputable company. Insure yourself or your company with a "computer programming" policy and a "data" policy. These policies cover coding errors, etc. If you run into a problem AND you don't have a policy like this it could be a problem.
This is just a starting point, so I hope it helps. :)
Easy: The first thing what you need to do is calculate exactly how much it costs you to make the site. Set a minimum wage for yourself also and calculate that in also.
Next, what you need to know is what the market prices are, what are others charging for such a service.
Third, and you won't always find this out, but you can manipulate your customer: what is the actual value of this service, perceived or real to your customer.
Once you got these figures, you can go and calculate a price, you want to make money so the minimum price will be your costs. You don't want to have your customers go to competitors so your maximum price is what a competitor (that your customer knows of) asks for the same thing.
Now you have a min and a max, and if the customers added value is between those numbers, you can go set a price.
This depends somewhat on your sites.
If all sites use the custom modules, then you should have one support rate that includes the maintenance of the custom module(s), and you should determine this rate based on how confident you are in the stability of the custom work.
You can either price the custom modules individually, as add-ons, pricing them each separately for each site that adds them, or you could bundle them.
If you have some sites that use the custom modules, and some that don't, it makes sense to have Rate A for plain sites and Rate B for plain sites + custom modules, either one by one, or as a bundle.
The hardest part is determining how to price the custom modules, since you want the people who use them to pay for them, but you may not want the accounting headache of pricing support rates for every single module separately, if there are a lot of custom modules.
If one module is complicated and large, it may require a larger support cost than a smaller module.