We had developed a blog/sales website for a client about 6 months ago and while discussing the contract, they were sure that they won't need maintenance. Since last month, they have been asking for small tweeks to the website,really small tweeks like just put a hat on the logo (they gave the edited logo) or change the background color of a particular section. We have been accepting the request because they are as small as a copy paste and a git push but it is a bit annoying as they did not pay for this and I feel this will just grow, but at the same time it feels bad to ask for money to change a font's color. How do I handle it?

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are a number of common tactics to nudge your clients towards a more effective behavior:

  • Charge a minimum time, say 15 or 30 minutes always, no matter how small the task. Reason is that task-switching adds overhead. So if I stop my work and do something else instead I will loose that amount of time. Also, communication and invoicing adds overhead. Obviously let your client know of these minimum times.

  • Only answer such requests at a certain time of the day. If they contact you by phone, tell them you are in the middle of something and to call you again at that time.

  • Delay they work. Even if it is a small thing, just add this to you list of small things, which you will get to at the end of the week.

This will lead to either:

  1. They will pay you good money for the service, so you won´t mind too much.
  2. They will collect their requests to have enough changes in one go to make effective use of your time
  3. They will ask you for the service-contract again.
  4. They will go elsewhere with their little requests.

Either way, you have to educate them or it will go as @Scott said - they will expect more and more service for free.

  • This seems like the correct way to go about it.. Thanks – bhaskar Sep 12 at 17:04

For every 1 thing you do for free, clients will expect 3 more. And you've given them a perfectly reasonable expectation of that.

You need to take a hard stance... either pay for maintenance or pay an hourly rate (with a minimum fee) for each change.

It's business, not friendship.

If it’s a small change you charge less but not nothing. Offer a reasonable hours rate that makes both parties happy.

Even a 20 dollar per change is good enough.

  • I didn't think beforehand, but I think the region depends a lot. I am from India so $20 would be a bit too much for my client, at the same time Rs 20-100 is basically worth nothing here – bhaskar Sep 12 at 17:02

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