How to Add Recurring Revenue to Your Web Design Business


Booking new projects is a key revenue driver for any freelance web designer. But a lot of time and effort goes into both finding projects and getting the details hammered out. Then you still have to do the actual work. It’s not always an efficient process.

And, unless those projects are quite large, you might also need to find other ways to boost cashflow. Constantly chasing that next opportunity can be tiring – and may not be enough to sustain your business.

That’s why recurring revenue is so attractive. As the name suggests, it’s money that comes in regular intervals – weekly, monthly or yearly. It’s something you can depend on and, once a client is signed up, won’t require repeated sales pitches. Ideally, it will allow you to better focus on design and development.

Sound like something your web design business could use? Today, we’ll share some tips for adding recurring revenue. Let’s begin!

Find Services That Make Sense

Before you go and add a bunch of services that will generate recurring revenue, consider your options carefully. Because, once you start signing up clients, you’ll be committed to seeing things through.

For example, yearly maintenance contracts are a popular option for a lot of freelancers. They keep clients in the loop and can bring in some significant money. But if you despise this type of work, why offer the service?

Money alone is not enough reason to do something – especially when you’ll be responsible for it over the long term. The service should fit in with your particular niche, schedule and preferences. Otherwise, it’s likely to become something you dread.

Instead, try to focus on one or two core services that make sense for your business. Then take some time to gauge how things are going. You can always adjust or expand your offerings later.

A person viewing a menu board.

Working with a Vendor? Do Your Homework First

One avenue for creating recurring revenue is to offer services through a third-party vendor. Among the most common examples of this are web hosting and commercial software products. You buy from the vendor and resell those services to your own clients for a profit.

A lot of vendors will even offer affiliate program incentives. You may, for instance, receive a payment or discount for each new sale you make.

These types of deals often sound great and can be tempting ways to make “easy” money. Yet so much of your potential success lies with the service provider. If they don’t follow through, you’ll be short on profit and long on angry customers.

A web host with frequent outages and/or lousy support will only give you headaches. The same can be said for a software developer that offers more bugs than features.

Therefore, it pays to do some research before you sign any agreements. Look at the vendor’s reputation online or, better yet, use the product yourself for a period of time. Move forward only after you are convinced that the service is worthy. After all, your success is ultimately tied to theirs.

A person writing.

Add Value and Convenience for Clients

Whatever services you’re offering, it’s worth asking: what’s in it for my clients? This is important, as you’ll only receive that recurring revenue if people bother to sign up.

The first part of the equation is to add some value to your offerings. For example, you could provide a small discount for clients who purchase a maintenance package. One way to do that is by lowering your hourly rate for subscribers when compared to those without a package.

This gives you both some economic certainty while providing clients with a much-appreciated perk. They’ll be more likely to sign up and stay with a service that saves them some cash.

Convenience also plays a role. The goal is to make the experience as seamless as possible. It helps to keep clients happy and revenue rolling in. Automatically recurring payments, easy service upgrades or downgrades are a few possibilities. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

Most important is to communicate these benefits with your clients. It’s not enough to simply let them know you offer a service. Clearly and concisely explain what’s in it for them. They’ll be better able to rationalize the decision and more likely to join up.

A shop window.

Make Recurring Revenue Work for You

It’s easy to get caught up in the never-ending quest to book new projects. They’re undoubtedly shiny and can be lucrative. But they can also be difficult to get. Thus, relying on them alone can put your business into a tough spot.

Recurring revenue can be just the thing to add stability. It’s baseline income that you can turn to year after year. So, even if you hit a dry spell with new projects, there is something to fall back on.

Beyond the financial benefits, there’s also the ability to build a relationship with your clients. This keeps you in touch with their needs and can lead to further work down the road.

If you haven’t already implemented some sources of recurring revenue, now’s the time to start. And even if you have, take advantage of the opportunity to revisit them and make adjustments. It’s a great way to help your web design business flourish over the long haul.

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