If my clients find out what I use to manage their websites, they will get the tools themselves and stop paying me.
A part of my job is to talk to WordPress maintenance service professionals, and this is the number one reason why they white label it. It’s a logical assumption; after all, your clients already have a WordPress website and know how to use it. Most of the stuff you need for WordPress maintenance is either straightforward or comes with plenty of documentation and training material.
But if this is truly a no-brainer, how come a lot of successful WordPress professionals don’t white label their service? Troy Dean from WP Elevation shared his perspective on our AMA over at ManageWP.org
When I first started out I used a white label everything and as I have matured as a consultant and I have more belief in what I offer I have become less inclined to try and white label everything because I feel more secure in the value that I offer my clients. I think our tendency to white label everything when we start out is because we think if our clients know all the tools we use they can just do it themselves, when the reality is even if they knew how to do what we do they don’t have time to do it and that is why they have hired us as a web consultant.
Although some WordPress professionals choose not to white-label, many do! This is evident based on Joe Howard from WP Buffs and their successful white-label WordPress maintenance program.
Running and scaling a successful business is all about leaning into your strengths and getting help where you’re weak. White-labeling really is a perfect solution here since it allows you to keep what you’re good at in-house and get external support when you need it. Our white-label partners are agencies and freelancers who excel when it comes to areas like marketing, design, branding, etc. Most of them are weak when it comes to 24/7 support so our white-label program allows them to be an expert in website maintenance from the POV of their clients, yet they don’t have to dedicate time or financial resources to this effort. While-labeling allows you to quickly turn a weakness into a strength and we’ve seen hundreds of WP professionals transition from linear business growth to exponential through a white-label solution. Boom!
That’s why I decided to write an article that looks at the questions behind the “to label or not to white label?” question.
What Is Your Secret Sauce?
WordPress maintenance service is a broad term. Some consider plugin and theme updates, others include development, SEO, and even content creation a part of their package. Heck, even getting you on the phone and asking you for advice should be considered as a part of your service. Ask yourself these questions:
- How does my maintenance service stand out from the pack?
- What’s my secret sauce?
- Can it be easily copied by your competitors and clients?
If your secret sauce is a service like ManageWP, by all means white label it.
You also need to think about the long run, even if you’re just starting. As your reputation grows, your secret sauce should be something that’s not easily copied. Your secret sauce should be you. Clicking on the update button is easy, but understanding the process and being able to deal with the unpredictable is hard.
What Is Your Story?
Maintenance fees go from $0 to $1,000+ per month, depending on your scope of service. It also relies on another great factor: the one that secured Mr. Rogers a special place in our hearts. The same factor that helped Mr. Trump become a Republican candidate in the 2016 election.
You guessed it, it’s the art of storytelling.
I wrote an article about people providing maintenance for just $3/month, while others get $75/month for the same scope of service. A significant contributing factor is their core story. A core story defines what you are, and the value your clients get from you. Here’s an example.
Scenario A: No White Label
Let’s say you’re using ManageWP to manage websites. Your clients might or might not notice the plugin on their website. They might or might not care.
Scenario B: White Labeled Plugin
On the other hand, if you white label the ManageWP Worker plugin, you’re incorporating it into your core story of an expert that created his own plugin that delivers hi-tech maintenance service. Your clients will know your expertise is on a whole new level.
Scenario C: Hidden Plugin
The same goes for hiding the ManageWP Worker plugin; your core story is about logging into their website every day, checking it from top to bottom and make sure everything is running smoothly. You work hard for your client, you’re dependable and professional. You deliver, and you’re well worth the extra cost.
The ability to tell a good story often has more impact on your business growth than any other factor; being able to white label your service gives you more fodder for your core story.
There’s no single answer to the white labeling question. Both yes and no have their own merits, and only you can figure out the right answer for your WordPress maintenance service. To make this decision easier, figure out your secret sauce and your core story. These answers will help you to make not only this decision, but a lot of business decisions in the future.
Great post. We do white label, and I tend not to mention the platform we use to manage clients sites, for exactly the reasons you mention. The management of sites has become a main source of our income and keeps us going when we’re light on with new site projects. If it’s of value to anyone we call this our ‘full managed support service’.
We see so many solo business owners touting themselves as relative experts (especially on FaceBook) just because they solved one issue or learnt one new trick in WordPress, makes me chuckle, if only they knew the bigger picture. What you say about telling the story is so true and I think one thing we all need to remember is we sometimes take for granted what it is we’ve learned, and the value we bring because of the breadth of experience we now have.
You said that maintenance fees go from $0 to $1,000+ per month. I am interested in the range of services offered by Manage WP users, as in the details, and the price points that go with that.
I’ll kick it off, we charge 55 per month for dedicated SSD hosting, various backup levels, WP version and plugin updates/upgrades, premium backup license keys, 30 minutes support, support ticket system, phone support, video training tutorials, think that’s it. In the interests of transparency here’s the page we list our managed support program on.
Really keen to find out from others what they offer for how much.
I offer all of my clients the option of a WordPress site so they can have a CMS, empowering them to post themselves, make edits themselves, etc. 95% of my clients, half of which were chomping at the bit and couldn’t wait to start posting… …and then none of them ever did. When they need an update, when they want an edit, when they want new content, it always comes to me. The realization I had a few years ago is that my clients have businesses to run, and despite their intentions and desires, the proficiency and attention to detail an expert offers ends up being indispensable. This is why I never consider white labelling – I want my clients to know that I’m a long-term member of their business team and I want them to trust me, so I offer transparency and give them the opportunity to be entirely independent. I think they appreciate this, recognize that I’m a valued part of their overall plan and end up sticking with me anyway.
Couldn’t have said it better, Tony. My clients are welcome to maintain their own sites if they’d like, but I have yet to find one who wants even the responsibility of periodically updating plugins. Maintenance is not my favorite part of the job, but it’s essential and I love ManageWP for reducing the time I spend doing routine work.
This is a great way to look at it! I have been white labeling, but I didn’t look at it as clients would see me as an expert that created a plugin for maintenance. I just didn’t want them to get this on their own. Although, they wouldn’t understand what half the services you offer means lol 🙂
This was fantastic info thank you!!! White labelling was not something I had considered, I was previously hiding the plugin but after reading this article I realized White labelling was a better option for the services I provide.
You’re welcome, Cathy!