Client Bill of Rights
CLIENT TERMS OF SERVICE
Hi! If you are reading this, it means you are a valued STORY client (or thinking of becoming one). These are your Bill of Rights as a client — it explains what you can expect from your relationship with us moving forward, in plain English.
We are here to provide you and your organization with great marketing, technical, and creative services, both on and off the web.
We want to be your favorite partner — the best company you do business with. We won’t bill you for client service meetings, travel time, or telephone calls moving forward. We won’t nickel and dime you. We will bill you to create or make improvements upon amazing websites, mobile applications, marketing pieces, and unique brands.
We think you’re going to love the results!
We use our web-based project management system to communicate with you on your projects. It is the best way for you to communicate your needs and requests as you can select our entire office as recipients of a message.
- Meetings and Phone Calls
Sitting down with you on a regular basis is extremely important to developing and maintaining successful creative and technical projects. We are happy to meet at your office, or ours, located in downtown Greenville. We do not charge you for client service meetings or phone calls.
If you need to meet or talk with a programmer, designer, marketer, etc... and utilize their respective expertise then we consider that valuable consulting time and we do bill you for that time. STORY does not charge for client service time. When you call your account manager with questions, or when you call, write, or meet about your current projects, you aren’t paying for that time. If a member of our technical, design or marketing team participates in a meeting with you, we will bill for their time but not your account manager’s time.
- Travel Time
We do not charge you for local travel time or expenses related to your ongoing projects (within a 25-mile drive from our office in downtown Greenville, South Carolina).
- Sales Time
STORY never charges you for sales-related time. For instance, we don’t bill a client or prospective client for holding meetings about our capabilities or for creating an estimate for you.
- Technical, Design, and Marketing Time is Billable
We provide technical, design, marketing, and other professional services to help your organization. We track our time when we work on your account. That time is billable.
As we describe above, client service time is not billable. But if your account manager provides marketing, analytical, or other professional services on behalf of STORY, that time is billable.
Occasionally there is confusion about billing when a client calls to request something and then is surprised to receive an invoice. To be clear, if you ask for us to accomplish something for you, we’ll do it and our work is billable. This includes urgent requests, which will be billed at a higher rush rate, as described in the “Turnaround Time & Rush Rates” item below.
- Estimates vs Proposals
We’re glad to provide free estimates for any future projects you’re considering. An estimate is a high-level analysis of how much time it would take for us to plan, design, develop, and test your project, and they usually take a couple of hours for us to put together.
Because they do not involve in-depth analysis, estimates are non-binding. If you decide to move forward, the final cost in our proposal to you may be different from the estimate. Estimates are free.
- Standard Hourly Rate
Our standard hourly rate is $175 per hour. We bill for professional services rendered, including Design, Programming, and Marketing. We offer a reduced hourly rate to retainer Clients. See the section below on “Retainers” for more information.
We quote some projects on a fixed-cost basis, which means we’ll deliver everything within the scope of the project at no additional cost to you. Of course, if you wish to expand the scope, that additional work would be billable separately.
- Turnaround Time & Rush Rates
Our rush rate is $225 per hour. If you are not a retainer client, we still appreciate you, however, we have to focus on our retainer Clients and ongoing projects. Our production schedule is booked 4-8 weeks in advance. This means that if you’re not a retainer client but you need something done in less than two weeks, we will need to reprioritize another project to make room for your rush project. We charge our Rush Rate to do this.
Additionally, our regular business hours are 9am–5pm, EST, Monday through Thursday, and 9am-1pm on Fridays. If you require professional services outside of these hours or on holidays, the work will be quoted at our rush rate.
- Sign-Off and Approval Delays
There are periodic milestones during the lifetime of any project. These include signing off on wireframe designs, home page designs, interior page designs, etc. We require written sign off through our project management system or email. Delays on getting your feedback on these types of approvals will result in a delay in the completion of your project.
Occasionally, Clients require substantially longer than expected to provide signoffs (e.g., a month instead of 2-3 business days).
We build our production schedule to include time set aside for your project, which means not taking on certain projects for other Clients at that time. Unfortunately, we cannot afford to keep our schedule open for you indefinitely. This may result in our invoicing you for some or all of the remaining balance prior to project completion.
- Scope Creep
Scope creep is any deviation from the development plan defined in the Scope of Work. Scope creep is pretty normal — it is natural for both parties to begin to consider how users may interact with a web project in ways they hadn’t when the project started, and want to make changes accordingly. This is why we really put a lot of time into the planning phase of the project.
You have a choice. After we quote out the changes as line items that will be billed separately from your main project you get to decide on whether that works for you. If you don’t proceed with it at the time of original development we can always revisit the feature request at a later date.
For those changes that are not included in the Scope of Work section, we’ll charge a standard rate of $175/hour with your approval on any line-item work. Line items are invoiced at the time of approval.
- After Launching Your Site
We love creating websites and marketing materials for you. But neither will function indefinitely without hiccups.
Web projects are like cars. You wouldn’t drive a car for ten years and never change the oil or rotate the tires. The same applies to our web projects — they need maintenance, and sometimes things go wrong. Fixing problems can sometimes be complicated but hopefully most of the time simple.
In order for the site to continue operating smoothly, you may need to make necessary changes or updates. We can address problems that you’re having and make updates when you need them, but there are costs involved for maintenance. We bill for that time.
Due to the complicated and evolving nature of interactive marketing, our websites and custom programming work do not have a lifetime warranty. What works when you launched your site may not work two years later. For instance, Facebook keeps changing its API, which means your site will need updates to stay current. And PayPal recently updated its Payflow Pro service, which required custom updates to keep Clients’ E-Commerce sites working. We are glad to handle these updates as an “on the spot” (project) or retainer basis.
The post-launch grace period of 30-days is your opportunity to create a “punch list” of things for us to address. If you request additional changes any time after the post-launch grace period, we will give you an estimate or quote to perform the necessary work, which you must approve (and thus agree to pay) before we complete the work.
We offer Retainers to provide ongoing support, maintenance, creative, and marketing services. We offer a range of retainer packages to fit your needs, ranging from as little as 15 to 40 hours a month, at a discount from our regular rate ($175) to $125/hour rate.
You get several benefits when you sign a support retainer with STORY. Specifically, you receive dedicated time on our production schedule, you get better turnaround time than non-support Clients, you enjoy a reduced hourly rate, you can better budget your monthly marketing expenses, and we can proactively identify ways to improve or maintain your website or marketing program.
Support Retainer Clients enjoy 48 hour response time (during normal business hours) for new support requests, and priority scheduling for retainer work on our production schedule, compared to 5-7 days’ initial response time for non-retainer Clients.
Retainer Clients have access to all of STORY’s services – Programming, Graphic Design, Marketing, SEO, and more – and you know exactly how much you’ll spend each month. You get a monthly invoice showing how you used your hours.
Your retainer fee does not include tangible products. For example, if we broker the printing of a brochure or business cards for you, you will receive a line-item invoice for the cost of goods. Monthly overage is billed at our standard hourly rate and may not have the same immediate turnaround as your contracted hours, depending on our production schedule at the time.
Based on your past and future marketing needs, we can recommend an appropriately sized retainer. If you need more than 40 hours/month of assistance, we can create a custom retainer package for you.
Answering Your Questions
If you’re a current or prospective client and you have questions about the Bill of Rights, feel free to give us a call. Contact your account manager directly, or dial (864) 501-5015. Thank you for your business!