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After a web design project has been built. Is it standard practice to offer a monthly retainer to support the software you have built?

Such as £100 per month that gives the client a maximum of 3 hours per month work and then anything over that would be say £40 an hour?

Does this happen in the industry?

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It depends on the type of client and project.

For example, an individual contracting you to create a website for his side project will likely not be interested in (let alone be able to afford) a monthly retainer.

However, a medium sized business that contracts you for a brand face lift and a redesign of their online shop very well may be interested in a monthly retainer—since they may need weekly email promotions, seasonal design updates and even help with social media.

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Retainers are certainly offered, but their acceptance and scope vary greatly depending on the type of client. In my experience post-launch retainer works best with larger client who need reliable access to web designer and developer who originally built the site and are willing to allocate budgets for support contract a year in advance. For smaller clients, and judging by the amounts you’re referencing that is the target audience, ongoing retainer might be a tough sell even with framework sites such as WordPress that require constant core and module updates.

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