How To Use ManageWP to Start a WordPress Maintenance Business

ManageWP-Ultimate-Dashboard

This is one of those posts you write while kicking yourself for not thinking of it sooner. Not just as a blog post, but as a business idea. Leave it to our founder Vladimir to catch on to a great business opportunity involving ManageWP before the rest of us!

Of course I’m talking about using ManageWP as an automation tool for a WordPress Maintenance Service. Enabling one or just a few people to maintain a massive amount of WordPress websites at very healthy profit margins with little manual work required.

While this may sound too good to be true I can assure you it is not. In this post I’ll show you a few examples of existing WordPress Maintenance Services as well as how ManageWP can help you start your own with virtually zero overhead.

A Look at Existing WordPress Maintenance Services

With the launch of the new blogging platform Ghost just around the corner I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the future of WordPress and where it’s headed as a platform. At the moment all signs seem to be pointing towards WordPress continuing to grow in power and flexibility; going beyond a mere blogging platform and CMS to an App Engine and Online Operating System.

As this evolution unfolds WordPress will most likely continue to be the best option for most website owners to build their online presence/businesses/etc. on. But with this added power, flexibility and complexity comes at least one big opportunity for savvy WordPress users to cash in on their expertise: Premium WordPress Maintenance Services.

These solo or small team businesses have been growing in popularity recently. Not only do they provide an excellent set of services for clients who’d rather not worry about maintaining their WordPress websites or those they create for clients, but the business model itself is extremely easy to start and scale. But we’ll get into that later on. For now, let’s look at some existing WordPress Maintenance Services and what they offer.

WPMaintainer

wpmaintainer

What They Do:

  • All WordPress Updates (Core, Themes, Plugins)
  • Free WordPress Migration
  • Compatibility Support (Plugins & Themes)
  • Preventative Maintenance
  • Scheduled Backups
  • Sucuri Malware Monitoring/Clean Up
  • Monthly WordPress Support (One hour support call w/ a WP developer)
  • Discounted Development Costs

What They Charge: $99/month

Maintainn

maintainn

What They Do:

  • General WordPress Support
  • WP Security (w/ Sucuri)
  • Backups
  • Updates
  • Custom WP Development
  • Dedicated Developers
  • Migration Assistance

What They Charge:

  • $35/month
  • $55/month
  • $175/month
  • $325/month
  • Custom

WP UPKeep

wpupkeep

What They Do:

  • Updates
  • Backup Core Files
  • Backup Stored Archives
  • Backup Media Files
  • SPAM & Revisions Cleanup
  • Database Optimization
  • Security Scan
  • Plugin & Theme Installs
  • Multiple User Creation
  • Clone or Migrate Website
  • Uptime Monitoring & Performance Scans
  • Email Support

What They Charge:

  • $9.95/month
  • $29.95/month
  • $79.95/month
  • $149.95/month

ManageWP Features

Ok, so now that you’ve had a chance to review three existing WordPress Maintenance Service businesses, let’s look at what ManageWP offers. I think you’ll see some similarities…

ManageWP-Ultimate-Dashboard

ManageWP Provides:

  • One-click access to all of your WordPress websites. No more logging into each independently. Just click on the WordPress site you want to manage and you’re instantly logged in and ready to get to work. No passwords required!
  • Individual or bulk updating of WordPress Core, Themes and Plugins.
  • Uptime monitoring
  • Email notifications and traffic alerts
  • SEO Analysis
  • Keyword Ranking
  • Google Analytics
  • Reliable backups with automated scheduling and total control over where your data is stored.
  • Easy site cloning with rapid deployment
  • Mass Migrations
  • Easy content management across all WordPress installs (including posts, links, comments and spam)
  • Bulk Posting
  • Industry leading security with Sucuri.net Integration
  • Beautiful and powerful mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices

With all of these tools and features at your finger tips you’ll be able to blaze through WordPress site maintenance like never before.

ManageWP-Speed

What You’ll Need to Get Started & How It Will Work

I think it’s easy to begin seeing just how good of a fit this new business model is for individuals and small teams when coupled with the ManageWP service. From what I can see, if you’re actually competent with WordPress then you will only need the following items to get started:

  • A WordPress website to market your services and sign new customers up. I’d recommend something running Easy Digital Downloads for quick and easy payment processing.
  • A support ticketing system for clients to submit (and for you to manage) support issues.
  • A ManageWP account to add each new client website to. If you start with our free account option then you won’t even have to pay ManageWP until after you’ve grown to six client websites! That means from day one your business could be profitable!

Obviously the big investment here will be in setup time. You’ll want your website launch to be as big as possible and for everything to function properly from the very beginning. You’ll also want to become familiar with whatever ticketing system you decide to use and only market the services you can actually deliver on. Which of course means at first you might want to offer less (so as to fit into our free offering) and add services as you gain momentum and make more money.

What’s Your Take on This New Business Idea?

WordPress is somewhat infamous for having a steep learning curve. As the platform advances that curve will only get steeper. What that means for anyone willing to put the time and effort into achieving expert status though is the possibility of owning an easy to start and scale WordPress Maintenance Service.

I see this as a real smart move for anyone who can deliver the goods. And I do think that it’s going to come down to those who go above and beyond to offer insane customer service. They’ll be the ones who make it through any bubble this niche business model might see in the near future.

What do you think about this new business and its potential to scale quickly with the help of ManageWP? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

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30 Comments

  1. elmalak says:

    Hi,
    I really like the idea of this article and I am trying to implement it.

    Now, I see that recurring payments is not built into any e-commerce plugin, it rather costs a lot to purchase as a separate add-on module,
    Easy digital downloads: $83
    WooCommerce: $199

    And for me, Paypal won't work so I will need to purchase a 2CO plugin as well, which costs:
    Easy digital downloads: $49

    So, it's not as it seems at first, or am I missing something here?

  2. Fran@socialsparkmedia.com says:

    Like everyone else, I thought this was a great idea. However, when I looked into actually doing it, I couldn't find a reasonably priced hosting company that would support the ManageWP backup system. GoDaddy can't use zip files, and another host said it exceeded their PHP memory limit. If I pay more for a managed or cloud host, then I get a lot of the ManageWP features included in their price, so there's no point in having it.

    Does anyone know of a shared hosting plan that will support the ManageWP backup feature?

    Thanks,
    Fran

  3. Bettina says:

    I have a couple of clients for whom I do this type of thing, all of the sites I did myself so I know what's what. I've muddled once or twice in other people's sites and it's a minefield of problems for me. Things can go wrong, any update can potentially ruin stuff. I had that happen with one in particular, I couldn't even do a full backup and it was one big mess. Don't want to go into details, just mention what would really worry me is offering this for sites I haven't got a clue how they're set up and potentially mess it up.
    One click update in theory is a nice idea, but practically I haven't found it to be smooth operating. You do need to know your stuff and be prepared to muddle around when things don't go according to plan.
    I like the idea though, always been toying with it, particularly as a side project.

    • johnzeiger says:

      I agree…It's much easier to manage sites you developed yourself. I've come across some strange things developers do with their themes…like customizing an off-the-shelf theme instead of just using a widget to display contact details…that didn't cause anything to break during a plugin update but required a developer instead of the client to make the change when the contact details changed

  4. Ricki says:

    I have been maintaining WordPress sites for several years and use ManageWP now as well.

    The bulk of my Maintenance services is answering questions, cleaning up posts, setting up squeeze pages, etc. This is on a per hour basis rather than fixed price (like many web development projects are).

    Backups and upgrades give my clients "peace of mind" that if something were to go wrong, they have someone who can restore the old site. BUT to them the true value getting WordPress questions answered a phone call away.

    I don't like Freshdesk and many ticket systems out there. I use HelpScout.com for help desk support – a nice simple system. I can forward emails from my GMail account there and assign them to someone else on my staff. I use Freshbooks for billing.

  5. dorothy says:

    This is a fascinating thread. I've been wrestling with this issue for months now. I've picked up ongoing maintenance of some of my clients sites by default and the charging is very fuzzy. A couple I am basically maintaining for free because I don;t know how to go back to them and say "Oh, you know I've been looking after your site all this time, but now I want $XX/month".

    had thought I'd charge $10/month for basic updates (not hosting or backups), but then I thought that if I ever have to spend more than 10 minutes on their site then it's uneconomic. So then I thought maybe $25/month, but that makes it more expensive than a lot of basic hosting. Would clients even appreciate what they're getting for that money? Hmmmm.

  6. Suraj Sodha says:

    We also have a WordPress maintenance service called WPMaintain for UK based businesses where we charge £41 per month. We are relaunching the website this month. We have rebranded the Worker plugin and made the entire business run on ManageWP :)

  7. wwip says:

    I've been charging $99/month per domain for the following:

    – Keep WP core application up to date
    – Keep all WP plugins up to date
    – Keep framework and theme up to date
    – Install necessary WP patches
    – Clean post revisions
    – Clean table overhead
    – Clean spam comments
    – Scan and fix any broken links
    – Scan and clean any malware injections
    – Take care of any necessary redirects

    Hope that helps someone out there.
    ~Brett

  8. Ann says:

    This is a great post and thanks for the information. It will help me give my customers a clearer picture of the value they receive. As I am just starting my business, I added my current clients to my account. I never thought of marketing for maintenance to others. That is a great idea and will work on that. Thanks

  9. wwip says:

    I've actually been using ManageWP to manage the maintenance of a few of my client's blogs and it's worked great so far. I wish the ManageWP system would log everything so that I could generate a report that shows what plugins were updated, backups made, etc. This would help me justify what I charge to my clients.

    • ClockworkHero says:

      I agree – this functionality would give me the tools I need to start charging for services that so far are done "for free". It would therefore lead to me seeking more clients, and thus more sites and greater revenue for ManageWP!

  10. khawaja1971 says:

    The worker plugin would have to be white labeled for anyone to do this on any sort of a large scale.

  11. Craig Grella says:

    The prices for these maintenance services are absolutely ridiculous. Way blown up for the service that is offered, in my opinion. WP is so well supported, I think these services are superfluous, especially when being charged out so expensively for management of just one site.

    Updating themes and plugins is elementary, even for the most basic user. The most complex update a user might need to do is to update a premium plugin that requires FTP usage.

    My company, OrgSpring, offers maintenance plans in relation to web sites we design and support, and we do use ManageWP for some of those services. We also find that to be an affordable and efficient way to provide some maintenance, but we also support the site itself, including some light coding, theming, and support of the site as a whole, not just the maintenance of WP.

    What I like about ManageWP is that it offers multiple site management at a much more affordable price point. I wonder though if the maintenance sites featured in this post were chosen specifically as a stark contrast to managewp, cost wise?

    • Rob says:

      I think you're underestimating how little the website owner market is. I deal with users daily, who do not know, and find it very challenging to create proper spacing on a page, or install a plugin, or erase a comment.

      Someone who works with technology finds this childs play, literally, but to the majority of "non-technical" users who own a website, own a business, and want to blog and have salespages DO NOT know how to embed code from their newsletter, or find and install a plugin. I know we all have different experiences, and in mine, it's laughable to think my users could do this.

      • Craig Grella says:

        I'm all for offering the service, and certainly have no problem with those who do so.

        Sure, there is some subjectivity there especially when dealing with a system that can handle backups. You can ask the question how much is your data worth? But that muddys the water with pricing in my opinion, and I think $99 per month is overpriced for someone to update 1 site with core wordpress (which can be done with the click of 2 buttons), or to update standard plugins (again 2 buttons).

      • johnzeiger says:

        Most of my users are a lot like yours. And the ones who are more technical, don't have time to do it themselves; their time is better spent elsewhere…especially if updating a plugin doesn't go smoothly and the site needs to be restored from backup (if they are performing regular backups)

  12. This is actually one of the KEY INGREDIENTS we were baking up for our new Digital Media Management Biz we are looking to launch soon. You saved me a ton of work in spelling this out….thanks.

  13. johnzeiger says:

    I only offer this service to current customers…ones whose sites I have designed or was hired to update. In other words, I don't actively market it to everyone.

    What is an appropriate amount to charge per month to maintain a WordPress site (excluding content management or design changes). I currently charge $10/month which includes free basic hosting if needed. Is that too much…too little?

    • Rob says:

      It totally depends on what you're offering, I have a service priced at $50 and do mostly what you're doing, offer it to those I've done work for if they want ongoing service and somewhere to turn.

  14. Nathan Weller says:

    Dossey,

    That's a good idea. Something touched on in another recent article here: https://managewp.com/web-development-company

  15. Chris Haught says:

    I've been doing this for a while with multiple sites, I don't create the content for my customer's websites, but charge an hourly fee to keep sites updated, suggest plugins, keep spam under control and be there when they have a question. The ticketing system looks interesting, currently I just use a Google Doc for each customer!

    • Nathan Weller says:

      Hi Chris,

      I've used Google Docs for small stuff but never anything I wanted to scale to hundreds or thousands of clients. I'd definitely recommend the ticketing system!

      Best,

      Nathan

    • Craig Grella says:

      @chris,

      you should look into desk.com, now owned by salesforce.
      They have a support system not unlike zendesk, but (if i'm not mistaken) desk is free for just one support person.

  16. Outing my business model as well. It's been a really good fit for the existing WordPress support and development I've provided. Managing someones site makes fixing any potential problems so much easier as you've 100% familiar with everything going on.

    • Nathan Weller says:

      Totally agree Chris, being in the driver's seat from the beginning really helps to ensure that things stay on the up and up. Nothing worse than handing a site over to a client only to have them come back a month later with the most bizarre problems/issues you've ever seen and the majority of your work undone. A huge headache, lol.

  17. Dossey02 says:

    I love you guys, but you're really outing my business model here…

    I'm mostly kidding, but this is certainly something I've looked into. Currently, I don't charge my clients for this updating and maintenance, but I do use it as a tool to encourage them to host with me. I show them the pricing for maintenance at other companies and then explain that I include that in the cost of their hosting.