Any past clients looking to work with us directly are cared for on a retainer basis. This is how we manage your ongoing contract and keep up with details like your site logins.
|Features Included||Basic Retainer||Business Partners||Tinkerers & Perfectionists||Game Changers|
|How to Use||This minimal retainer keeps you updated in our records, giving you access to our team when needed.||Let us handle quick wins without hassle: you can focus on the food and content while we do the tech.||Maximize flexibility for every possible little fix: details, ends and odds, update quirks, & visual tweaks.||Early adopters that want all the new features, all the time. We’re your primary development team.|
The annual or monthly fee we’ll invoice you for, independent of any hours you use.
|(Annual plan req.)|
Adds $1,200 in value over last year
Fewer fees: free emails & estimates!
Billable hours worth $600 (save 33%)
Billable hours worth $2,600+ (save 42%+)
Receive two months free!
|Screenshot Request Tool|
You’ll have dedicated access to a tool for submitting bug and change requests.
|– NEW! –|
|Code Repository and Deploy Tools|
All of your theme + custom plugin code will be stored in a private GitHub repository for tracking and monitoring.
|– NEW! –|
Any widespread news we receive will be shared with all of our clients asap.
|– NEW! –|
|– MORE –|
If applicable, we’ll use your quick request to handle it.
Communication for questions, tutorials, estimates, etc. Keep in mind that we cannot answer how to make fixes without looking at your site & code, a billable activity.
|Billed at our hourly rate||– SAVE 💰-|
All requests (that are not considered quick support) will receive an estimate prior to work. We provide estimates in 1-hour increments.
|Billed at our hourly rate||– SAVE 💰-|
Free <=15 min
We’ll come to you with ideas for tasks we can implement using quick requests or billable hours.
|n/a||– NEW! –INCLUDED||– MORE –|
When relevant, you’ll be provided with pre-packaged upgrade plans you can elect to add on.
How much monthly invoices will charge for hours worked.
|$200/hr||– SAVE 💰-|
|– SAVE 💰-|
|– SAVE 💰-|
Any request we can do in 15 minutes or less, completed asap (without an estimate or back and forth emails for consent).
|n/a||– SAVE 💰-|
2 per month
|– SAVE 💰-|
8 per month
|– SAVE 💰-|
Pre-paid hours available each month. Hours do not roll over.
|n/a||n/a||– SAVE 💰-|
|– SAVE 💰-|
A standing planning meeting for our teams.
|Billed at our hourly rate||Billed at our hourly rate||Billed at our hourly rate||– SAVE 💰-|
Note that the hourly increase you see is independent of retainer changes and is our first hourly increase in over 3 years. We have taken the rate increase into consideration when building out benefits for retainer tiers.
What timelines can I expect?
We balance our workload so we’re typically able to get small projects done within the same week and bigger projects scheduled within a month.
(Expect longer wait times during our busiest times of the year, usually January and August.)
Do I need ‘quick support’ from you or my maintenance team?
If you also work with NerdPress, you’re probably familiar with their quick support requests. What they can do in 15 minutes and what we can do in 15 minutes will differ. We recommend you email all teams at once so we can communicate.
Our work will be focused on code in your theme and our plugins. The best use of our time is implementing new features, upgrading existing functionality, addressing technology updates, or troubleshooting bugs.
What’s not covered?
- Emergencies aren’t our forte. All of our projects and meetings are scheduled. We will provide timely fixes as needed, but our team prioritizes work-life balance within scheduled business hours.
- We also won’t be touching updates, caching, your server, or the backend of site speed like WP Rocket.
Do you handle emergencies?
No. In an emergency, we highly recommend emailing your maintenance provider and/or host first/at the same time.
Do I have to work with you?
No, however if you are not on our retainer we’ll only work with your development teams. To email us directly, you will be asked to sign up for a retainer.
We try to create reusable code, follow WordPress standards, and document our work so any developer can work for you. We do not have any retainer-type developers we can confidently recommend at this time.
How can I save money?
When it comes to working with us, communication is a big factor in how our time is used, so the following can help everyone see fixes and results faster:
- Use Marker.io to submit your requests. We get more details and can provide a more accurate estimate that involves less troubleshooting on our end.
- Use screenshots and videos. Seeing what you’re seeing is invaluable. Marker.io does screenshots (and includes short videos) but something like Loom is also great for adding context to a Marker.io task.
- Be as specific as possible. The more information we have upfront, the faster we can start actually coding. That is, the more time you spend writing an explanation the less time we’ll spend asking questions and making guesses.
- Make sure all logins and providers are up-to-date in our records. We handle this during the onboarding process, but any changes that aren’t communicated can cost developers time trying to access your site and make timely fixes.
Anything that cannot be completed using quick support requests will be estimated by our team in the available 15 minute timeframe. To provide an estimate, our team spends time on “discovery,” mapping out a task’s scope and associated costs. We provide estimates in 1-hour increments.
What impacts an estimate?
- Estimates are difficult to provide because (a) all of our clients run custom code and (b) we don’t always know what potential hiccups could come up when we go in to get the work done.
- Most of the time what causes an estimate to need an increase is a client wanting something else added on/investigated that is connected to the original task.
- We also see a lot of work result from plugins, WordPress, Google, and web updates which require troubleshooting. That is: simply the passage of time can make “simple” tasks become a challenge.
- Finally, work by other teams can lead to extra work for us as we could have to undo their work, redo it elsewhere, and then still complete our original todo. This will be included in our scope & estimate where relevant.
(We do love to partner with other teams, the costs of working with two differently-built teams may be lower overall, but a specific task’s estimate can be impacted.)
Can the estimate be exceeded?
Yes, but we will communicate with you when we see this happening. At that time, we’ll revisit the task scope and help you decide if/how to continue.
We’ve had several customers compare us to the automobile industry, so let’s lean into that. Let’s consider your website a car. Or rather, a truck: a food truck.
- Your truck is built on a base manufactured by a company: Hummer (or something). This is the Genesis theme.
- Our auto shop has heavily customized your truck to fit your needs: your truck is completely unique from any other of our clients. This is your custom theme.
- You’ve filled it with a lot of food, and those foods are making you a bunch of money. So it’s pretty important that your truck continues running smoothly. This is your content & business.
- Finally, those are delivered to your customers using appliances that prep, cook, and even plate the food. These are your plugins.
Let’s say your truck starts shaking when you’re driving. Something is obviously wrong but you have no clue what. Our auto shop has to be an expert in your base manufacturer, your personal–which we maybe haven’t looked at/worked on in a while–customizations, and the tools you’re specifically running. Without a fix, you make less food and thus money. So our priority is to help you find the fix.
Because we have no clue what’s wrong and there’s no way to tell without taking your truck apart, we charge an hourly rate to do so. Unfortunately, we’ve determined that your transmission is… wonky (sorry, not actually a food truck expert). We can now estimate how much the fix will cost. Even if you decide you’re willing to live with a transmission that’s gone wonky, we still bill you for the time we spent taking your truck apart and putting it back together.
In the new retainer processes, we’ll let you know that we need to troubleshoot the issue and work with you to define an estimated budget.
Fixes & Work
In our continuing example, we’ve determined that your transmission needs work and you’ve decided to move forward with a fix. We’ve estimated the work will cost Y. Because your truck had so much custom work (by our team and often by other teams since then) we’ve tried to overestimate the cost for you.
Possible route: when we get into the work, everything is easy! The cost ends up being X, instead, and everyone is happy. My team can work on the next important project sooner and you get a faster, cheaper fix.
Alternative route: we start to work on your truck, but we realize:
- you changed the locks and we can’t get in
- the appliances have been upgraded recently and there’s no information on how to work with them so we need to wing that
- another truck shop made some “fixes” we have to undo & re-implement before we can do our work
- the wonky transmission caused a secondary problem, which you also want to get fixed while your truck is already in the shop
The cost ends up being Z instead, and we’re all frustrated. My team needed to get you up and running ASAP, but you’re disappointed the estimate wasn’t accurate.
In the new retainer process, we’ll be more specific about the work included in our estimate and communicate surprises when we come across them so you can choose to halt work or maybe go in a different direction.
Beyond as-needed fixes, regular updates are recommended. Think of them as your truck’s annual tune-up… a very complicated one.
- You changed appliances (plugins), so we need to redo some of your customizations (theme) to make them fit & easy to use.
- The FDA updated their regulations (Google), so we need to modify your base Hummer (Genesis/settings) to optimize for those.
- Consumer tastes have changed (reader user experience), so we need to repaint the exterior/menu (visuals).
- Zoning laws have changed (browser updates), so we need to give you new features to qualify for exclusive areas.
A tune-up isn’t required to keep your car running, so you can skip them to save money. However, you do run the risk of (a) needing a more expensive fix down the road or (b) needing a new food truck sooner.
In the new retainer process, we’ll be offering regular updates in special packages to help make this option more accessible & affordable.
Similar to updates, and almost the same, but let’s say these are more “on demand.” For example, let’s say the latest trend on food trucks is to have a rotating menu. It’s harder for your team to produce different recipes each day and, in addition, you need a way to change the menu every day (as in, you can’t have a permanent menu painted on the side of your truck).
If you want to be on the cutting edge and be an early adopter of this trend, there isn’t an appliance on the market for it yet. And while an update might eventually include a solution to this as a standard feature, in order for that to happen someone has to want this and pioneer a solution for it. At that point, it’s a customization you’re adding to your food truck–even if you’re copying the idea from someone else–because this customization has to be made specifically for your already-custom set-up.
These sorts of upgrades are the most expensive and–depending on the age of your truck/what industry changes have occurred since you bought it–might actually require some updates prior to implementation, as well.
In the new retainer process, we’ll be informing you of possible or recommended upgrades, offering them in special packages where relevant.
On the other side of updates/upgrades, let’s say a specific warning light comes on: for example, an oil change is needed or tire pressure is low. These are standard changes most auto shops could make for you. Since our shop specializes in custom work, we recommend finding a trusted partner to do the regular maintenance in between. This sort of team usually has more staff members, longer hours, and lower rates. They also do these exact fixes over and over again for far more clients, so they’ve got a lot more experience and are the best fit overall!
We continue to not offer maintenance (e.g. plugin updates, site backups, speed monitoring) in our retainer process.
- If you’re interested in moving to a new plan, please send us an email. 📬
- Otherwise, you’ll automatically receive these new benefits as part of your existing retainer as a former client of Once Coupled. 💯
We are excited to offer these retainer services and hope to:
- Make you feel like you have choices for working and growing with us
- Empower you to spend more time in money-making activities
- Demonstrate that we want to be a trusted partner, not just an agency