Common sense, fixed and transparent pricing with protections like price locks, spend limits, and competitive hourlies.

No hidden fees. No surprise invoices. Pricing practices that build confidence and peace of mind instead of uncertainty or buyer's remorse.

No Surprise Pricing

Modern web projects often require software licenses, paid memberships at online services, complex patches and updates, and more. Some of these special expenses are only incurred during initial implementation leading up to launch, but most of these requirements actually need to be funded continually throughout the life of the project.

Rather than burden stakeholders with unexpected and often steep renewal fees and unplanned charges arising from sporadic or unplanned maintenance labor, we guarantee transparency and predictability by pricing in a manner that eliminates surprises:

  1. Every feature has an Implementation Cost which covers all labors and licenses that are required to implement the feature in your project according to the agreed scope.
  2. Every feature has a Care and Maintenance Cost which covers all labors associated with patching and updating the feature, as well as continued funding of all applicable licenses, memberships, and other recurring obligations.

Since some features don't cost us anything to implement or support, the Implementation Cost or the Care and Maintenence cost will sometimes be $0.

Fixed and Transparent Pricing

Everything we deliver is packaged as a "Feature": Infrastructure, imaging tools, e-commerce, email, and even bandwidth allotments, onboarding support for new staffers, and troubleshooting engagements are all treated as Features in our offerings.

As such, each and every one of these is priced clearly and transparently (even when the cost is $0) so that we can reduce or eliminate uncertainties about what you're paying for when you invest in your project.

And our methodology, which includes a great deal of automation, allows us to apply fixed prices on a feature-by-feature basis, further reducing or eliminating ambiguity.

Four Implementation Models and One Care Plan to Serve Them All

Our WordPress projects are implemented in one of four models:

  1. Protect and Serve: Migration and reimplementation for existing sites that are in trouble (or expect to be in trouble soon because of lack of time to maintain the work), need regular updates and better reporting, and the option to grow in the future. Suitable for lower-budget projects.
  2. Substrate Now: Infrastructure, architecture, and automation substrates with advanced development and maintenance features, ready to support the implementation of advanced WordPress features. Suitable for agencies and freelancers that need to go after big projects but don't have (or don't want) heavy IT capabilities.
  3. Rebuild As Is: Replacement sites that mimic existing projects, but using modern tooling and automation to enable easier growth going forward. Suitable for projects that already meet the design and content needs of their stakeholders, but are running on old stacks that hard to maintain.
  4. Build and Design: Complete site with all the substrate, tooling, automation, performance, and security features that our ecosystem has to offer. Includes a complete modern design experience, support for cooperative content development if needed, and more. Suitable for project teams that don't have internal web development and design workforce or an existing digital agency.

Competitive Hourlies

Though the vast majority of our work is delivered at fixed prices, some duties must be charged hourly. Tasks such as live event support, repair of breakage caused by third parties, and various R&D engagements cannot always be scoped accurately, so fixed pricing is not available.

In such cases, we charge $120/hour. The discounted rate of $90/hour is applied automatically until your allotment of discount hours is used up.

Spending Limits and Pace Controls

Fixed prices allow a great deal of control over spending, but hourly work can introduce challenges to your cash flow and planning.

To offset the risk and inconvenience, all hourly work is supported by two safeties that you can use to protect yourself from surprise invoices:

  1. You can set spending limits on the work you approve. For example, if you request work that we estimate will take between 6 and 10 hours to complete, you can specify that we stop at 8 hours. If any work remains after we have invested those 8 hours, you will receive an updated time estimate and options for continuing the work immediately or at a later date of your choosing.
  2. You can also set pace controls on the work you approve. For example, if you approve 8 hours of work, you can specify that it be performed at a rate of no more than 2 hours per week, 3 hours per month, or any other maximum number of hours that works for you. You can also request a minimum number of hours per week or month, but minimum hours cannot be guaranteed, while your max specified hours will always be honored.

No hourly work is ever performed without your prior approval. Any risks that might be introduced by restrictive spending limits or tight pace controls will be disclosed in detail before work begins.

Price Locks and Price Increase Caps

Current and quoted prices are locked for no less than 1 year, and as many as 3 years, though we have never experienced an across-the-board price increase, and the few narrowly applied increases that we have implemented have been far less frequent than every 3 years. Nevertheless, economic volatility increases the likelihood that our own costs will go up, and this is why a few of our prices can only be locked for 1 year.

When we are finally forced to raise prices, we reset the lock period and cap increases at the following maximum rates:

  1. Features and extensions: 10%
  2. Design packages: 8%
  3. License plus related testing and deployment: Provider cost change + $4/month
  4. Hourly rates: 16%

To date, we have never raised any prices by these amounts for any existing projects. New projects for existing clients are also protected by the same price locks, but increase caps are not applicable unless there is an overage retainer on file.

Pricing that helps you plan instead of breaking your plans

Ongoing investment in your web projects increases their value to your mission.

However, of course, you also have a long list of other important investments you must make to continue and grow your achievements. And the combined volume and complexity of all these endeavors and their costs can significantly complicate plans for your core objectives.

Understanding this risk, as we have to contend with the very same challenge ourselves, is the reason we have developed the pricing practices you are now reviewing, the sum total of which is arguably one of our most important guarantees: Never a surprise invoice. Ever.

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