Contract for providing hosting to your WP clients

My company builds WordPress sites. Up until now we have not provided hosting, we thought it best for the client to have the flexibility and full ownership with every account being in their name, including hosting.

We take a very agnostic approach, we want to re-earn our clients business and never have them feel forced into doing business with us because its easier then migrating their site away from us.

So in that sense for years I thought we were providing the healthiest solution to our clients by registering them for their own hosting account and just managing it for them.

We have found that lots of clients ... call you back 3 years later and ask for a feature or update. When logging into their site you realize they have not updated WP or their plugins for 3 years and have not paid us to do it either (even though we offered).

Nothing 'wrong' is happening here, they are nontechnical folks who didn't have the budget or desire to pay us to handle it (using our regular retainer packages at $120hr).

... but did I provide the best solution for them? Would the more healthy solution been to offer them a hosting/maintenance plan that gave them peace of mind and allowed me to sleep because I was not having nightmares of my clients sites getting malware due to my creating them all unique accounts! :slight_smile:

I have derailed myself a little, but since I am among WP friends here I wanted to share :slight_smile:

My answer to the above questions is to now offer a hosting/security maintenance plan through my company. The end result will be each client who signs up for it gets a "set it and forget it" experience. Meaning they know their site is backed up and the security updates are being made without any effort on their part.

This leads me into new territory! All our hosting is done through WP Engine (love them). Each new client will be a new user/site on our WP Engine account. But who signs what?

I would like the communities input on hosting/maintenance contracts in this scenario. What do you use with your clients? What sort of hick-ups might you have had that I can learn from? :slight_smile:

Bare in mind, I will have no access to the servers (beyond the FTP that WP Engine gives me). The client's site will be under my account but I have no control over their uptime, acts of god on server farms etc. I will be taking full responsibility for "pushing the update button" on their website when its time and making sure that it did not break their theme in some way.

It makes me giggle a little bit because every time I think of something cool to provide my clients ... the next question is ... what sort of paperwork goes with it?