As any freelancer and web design and development agency owner is well aware, regulating revenue is a difficult task. Ebbs and flows of revenue have lead to the expression “feast or famine,” the roller coaster phenomenon that occurs without any seasonality or predictability. During the many years we designed web sites and developed web-based software, we had our share of ups and downs. But, we also had some success in regulating uneven revenue. Here are three business practices you can adopt to keep your web design and development business revenue steady.
Offer clients a prepaid retainer
Most companies have a web site, but they don’t have a web designer or developer to maintain the web site. Offering these companies a prepaid retainer for some of your billable hours benefits both you and your client, especially when offering a discount along with the retainer. You benefit by getting money up front and your client benefits by getting a discount, along with the promise that you will be there for them when they need web site design or maintenance work. It may not be glorious work, but it does result in steady and reliable revenue.
Partner with creative agencies
There are creative agencies in every metropolitan area of the world. Even small cities will have half a dozen agencies each inside their city limits. Most creative agencies focus heavily on the creative side of the web design process, churning out web sites as part of a larger array of services offered to their clients. However, many creative agencies won’t have the web development resources in-house and will often outsource the development work to freelancers or web development shops. Partnering with creative agencies will bring in repeat work, good budgets, and spare you from the client interaction process.
Encourage repeat clients
The best clients are the ones who keep coming back to you to design and develop additional web projects. A repeat relationship begins with your first client project. If you do good work, deliver on time and under budget, and most importantly, build a good report with your clients, they won’t be able to resist coming back to you with more work. Repeat clients are the ones who will tell you what projects they have coming down the pipeline, when they’ll need your resources, and how much they have to budget. Working with the same client on multiple web design and development projects is one of the best ways to maintain a steady flow of income, and spares you from having to drum up work with new clients.
You are working in a creative industry. Regulating your revenue is a business problem that requires a creative solution. As long as you are using your web design and development skills to help businesses solve their business problems online, turn some of that expertise inward and find more creative ways to address revenue shortages. The possibilities — beyond the three revenue strategies I’ve discussed — are limitless.
Photo credit: Mr Michael Phams