I got upset today when someone stated that our prices are "too low" and why they went elsewhere. The thoughts that rang through my head were that you don't know our company or the cost of doing business -- every business structures their prices based on the cost of business plus the profits they want to achieve. Some are higher while some are lower. Let's dig into why our costs are the way they are.
I want to start with our three main plans that we offer so that you know where our prices are at a 30,000-foot view:
- Starter ($99.95/month) - This covers a complete website, on-going maintenance and security for the website, two hours of maintenance. The two hours can be used for anything from the website to graphic creation. This includes maintaining your Google My Business and Bing Places pages on the two top search engines and making certain your website meets all the latest standards to show up and work on getting you on page 1.
- Foundation ($225/month) - This has everything the starter does but extends the hours to three, adds a single social media channel, paid ads ($1 [minimum] - $20 [maximum] /day, online chatbot.
- Enterprise ($445/month) - This adds everything from the previous two but allows for business growth. Your ad spend is $5/day or more with no maximum amount, handles multiple locations ($35 per additional location), ability to add more than one social media channel ($120/each), and extends the graphic time to 8-hours per month.
Each plan has a reduced hourly rate that gets lower as you move up on plans. They are also price fixed so the businesses can more easily budget their expenses.
We are software developers and analytical thinkers. We spend half of the time on every client digging into the numbers. By automating, we are able to keep costs down and work smarter rather than harder. This allows us to more quickly adapt to changing needs of individual businesses.
Who are our clients
Not everyone is a fit for us. We will sit with any business owner for one-hour and help them make the right decisions whether it is with us or not. Yes, we want you with us but if you fall into an area we know we cannot help get a growth or what you are looking to achieve is outside our realm we will give you recommendations on companies we know can help you achieve those growths.
Doesn't that cost you business?
Darn straight! Our owner was brought up in the old days of a handshake and honesty. Thus, our rule #1 of no lying. We believe in being honest, working hard, and not making a fortune off of a few clients. We are in business for the long haul. You will see companies start up and be gone in a few years. We're now going on year 8 and stronger than any previous year.
Why don't you charge more?
Again, this comes down to pricing fairly and not going by what everyone else does. Our pricing is based on the following and is figured out every month when we determine our annual pricing:
- Hardware costs - laptops, servers, etc., that are needed to run the company.
- Software costs - Adobe suite, Microsoft Office suite, Dropbox, etc. that is needed to run the company.
- Labor & Expenses - the highest expense but the most important we have to help our clients grow.
- Taxes / Government - We figure out what the government is going to charge us.
- $30 profit - Yes, that is our "profit". We are not owned by investors or anything else. Some would say charge a percentage, etc., but that isn't who we are. Again, we are not your normal company.
What if a client goes over their budget?
If we consistently go over on a client, they are probably not on the right plan and develop those custom plans. If you are on the middle plan with 3-hours a month and we're doing 6 hours each month, we will talk with you, move you to the next higher plan or make a custom plan to save you money.
Isn't putting people on these "value meal" plans eating into your profits?
You could easily say yes but 90% of our clients fall into the standard plans and why we built them. Charging people by the hour makes it so that the team works less efficiently as if we need more money we just work slower. By having a plan we are able to look for ways to improve our efficiencies.
Give me an example of an efficiency you did
Reputation Management is huge and can be expensive in gathering testimonials and monitoring the internet for people commenting about your business. We were paying $39/month per client (times this by over 100 clients). That was a huge expense. We looked at the software we were paying for, what we were using, and it took three months to write a software solution that did everything the one program did. During those three months, we tested it side-by-side with the paid solution. It did everything the paid solution did and built it into our core software. Our costs now is around 4-8 hours of company time updating/improving the software. This gave the company an overall savings of over $3,000/month. The benefit is as we grow, there is no additional cost for us as we wrote the software.
What do you do for a client?
Although we have three main plans plus our custom plan this is what we try to do for every client. I say "try" as some clients want a more hands off approach. Our "ideal client" this is what we do:
- John goes to your location(s) and talks to the managers and members of your team to find out the latest and greatest things happening.
- Pictures are taken to add to the story.
- John inserts items into the tasks and assigns it to one of the key categories of
- Search Engines
- Social Media
- Other (catch-all for writing, video, etc.)
- The individuals in each of the departments then start working on the items and knocking it all out.
- The process repeats. Depending on your plan level John would come out either quarterly or more often to get more information.
- Many times coming out isn't done as clients call up and everything is done through a phone/zoom call.
- John currently spends 6-8 hours per day in the car/meetings between the Illinois border and South Bend, Indiana. Some trips are quick being 10-15 minutes while others can be longer.
But you say you don't raise your rates
We don't! If you sign up for the Foundation Plan, your price today and five years from now will be $225/month (note: price could change from the time this article was written). If you change plans, you will go to the current price whether you move up/down.
You must have crazy terms that lock me into you for life
Ah, we love this one. We look at it from our perspective. We lock you into 12-months as that way, we can show you continual growth. The first two months are always the hardest for us as we are doing a lot of cleanup of what you might've done in the past or it doesn't yet exist. After the initial year, we move you month-to-month. We don't want you locked into something you don't want. We know many of our competitors will lock you into 24-months or more as they are looking at their bottom line rather than yours. If we do our job right, you will never want to leave as you get results you can grow with. We need two-way communication where we work together as a team.
We consider ourselves part of your team. Your growth assures us that you won't want to leave us. If your business is changing and evolving, we want to know to help you achieve those goals.
So you treat our business relationship like a "Relationship."
Absolutely we do, and you should expect no less. If you've ever been in a relationship, and I am betting you, you will know that if both of you do not give 100%, then it is destined to fail. By both of us putting forth 100% in communication, we know that we will help you succeed. We are not here to run your business. We are here to keep you away from behind the screen and take care of your customers. If only one of us puts forth effort, then the business relationship will definitely die.
You wouldn't hire an employee, sit them in the corner, pay them, and expect nothing. You most likely will hire an employee, train them to what your business is about, what their job is about, and expect that you make enough to pay their salary and make a modest profit.
Yes, you can pay more. Every company has its own way of being run. This is our way. If this aligns with how you want to run your business, we would love to talk with you to determine if (1) we are a good match for you or (2) you are a good match for us. The worst thing that happens is we now know a lot more about each other and can recommend each other to our circle of influence.
The world is already a tough place. I know we can make it a brighter one together.