[nycbug-talk] FreeBSD (and Linux) Support Contracts

Matt Juszczak matt at atopia.net
Sat Nov 24 19:01:47 EST 2012

Hi folks,

We have a few clients we do either:

   * FreeBSD Systems Administration
   * Linux Systems Administration
   * Database Support/Services

... through our LLC.

Many of our clients have requested support contracts lately (as in, a flat 
monthly fee for a certain level of offering and retainer).

In the past, I've just done an hourly minimum per month to cover the 
retainer portion (minimum: 10 hours per month), but many of my clients 
aren't liking this option.  They'd prefer a flat monthly fee and a few 
different levels of support.

I'm trying to price out some contracts.  I know I have some add-ons I'd 
like to include (such as monthly reports on infrastructure, 
recommendations, etc.) that make the support contract more worth-while 
than just hourly consulting.  However, some clients want 9 - 5 support, 
while others want 24x7, and others want quick turn-around, while others 
don't mind waiting a day or two.  And the hardest part for me is 
limitations... do I keep it at a maximum hours per month, or do I limit it 
to a certain amount of issues (as in maxiumum 10 issues per month, each 
issue taking no more than X hours).

Being a small business with limited resources, I can't really offer "24x7 
support, unlimited issues" for a flat monthly fee... at least I don't 
think I could.  I may be able to price that out but it wouldn't be 

What are other small businesses doing?  I know many of you own consulting 
shops.  I'd be curious to know what's working for others.



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