Terms of service
These terms apply to across all our services, including maintenance plans.
1.1. Invoicing and payments
Accounts receivables suck. We work extremely hard for our clients and in return, we ask that you not make us work even harder to get paid. Before any work is started, payment arrangements will be worked out ahead of time.
1.1.1. In case of late payment
If there is a problem with your payment, you’ll have 10 days to settle the payment. If full payment is not received on or before 10 days past support services and any other work in progress for your account may be paused until full payment is received.
1.1.2. In case of invoice issue or concern
If you are uncertain about the details or amounts of an invoice received from us, we will look into the matter and clarify everything with you at no charge.
1.2. Payment methods accepted for support services
We accept e-transfer or cheque. Credit card payments can be processed with an additional administration surcharge of 3%.
If you prefer, or if you don’t have a credit card you can use, we can handle payments and renewals for third-party services for you and then recover the funds from you at the end of the month. This way, you’ll know that we’re validating each tool and their costs to make sure you’re not overspending or using tools you don’t need, and you get a consolidated invoice for all your third-party costs. We will recover the costs of these from you following our cost-recovery process which includes the amounts spent + admin fee to cover our processing time. Our admin fee is calculated as 25% per transaction up to a maximum of $25 per transaction.
1.4. Our fault
We stand by our work and value our long term relationship with you.
If we conclude that any issue was our fault, all hours spent on the matter will not be invoiced to you.
If that happens, it’s an admin mistake. Simply let us know the invoice number OR the activity in question and we will look into it for you and clear up the invoicing issue as per section 1.1.2. In case of billing issue or concern above.
1.5. Parting Ways
If, at any point, you’re not happy with the direction our work is taking, we hope you will raise these concerns with us as early as possible so that we can resolve the issue. If you choose to part ways, then we will cancel all pending, in progress, and planned work for your account.
You can cancel at any time but we expect payment for any and all approved services rendered up until your written notice of cancellation is received. Refunds for prepaid services may be negotiated and issued based on what we deem to be reasonable.
Copyright for any assets we have created for you and ownership of any assets related to your account for which we had control over will only be passed on once we have been fully paid.
Refunds for unused prepaid bank of hours may be negotiated and issued based on what we deem to be reasonable.
These terms apply specifically to our support services.
2.1. Hours of operation for support
Our hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm EST. This includes phone calls and emails. You can call or email us anytime, but these are the hours when we will be responding. Off-hour support is available if arranged with reasonable notice. An on-call fee and rate increase may apply with your approval.
2.2. How to request support
Support requests can be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each new email thread triggers the automatic creation of a new support activity. Any replies to an existing email thread gets appended to the existing support request. We log all support requests in our client portal to ensure your request gets looked at promptly and is properly managed through our support workflow. Emailing a member of our team directly for support is NOT recommended, but we do encourage you to copy (CC) them in the email you send to our support inbox to make sure they are aware and included in the conversation.
You can also use our client portal to submit requests for support. Each submission will create an activity in our system and send an email to email@example.com, initiating the exact same support workflow.
Telephone support or text messaging us is NOT an approved method for requesting support. We do not monitor our social media platforms for support requests either. If you email anyone on the team directly, the response time is not guaranteed and when we do respond, we will direct you to use the proper channel.
2.3. Support request triage process
All support requests go through our support ticketing system where they are tracked and triaged by a very polite and smart human being into one of the following categories:
2.3.1. Triaged as ADMIN
Any inquire about billing details, an invoice concern, sharing some feedback with us, or requesting to cancel or stop service.
2.3.2. Triaged as INVESTIGATION
If we’re not sure and need to investigate further. See examples below. Usually, this pertains to issues where the website is not performing as expected and we need to troubleshoot. These are usually assigned to a senior expert on our team who will try to:
(a) determine the root cause of the issue and
(b) attempt to resolve it within the approved estimated hours.
For each investigation, we will request your approval on a reasonable amount of time – usually 1 hour – to conduct our investigation. We will stop as soon as we have either resolved the issue, need more information or more time, or have a clear estimate of the level of effort required to fully resolve this. If it turns out that this issue was caused by a recent mistake on our part then we will resolve it without any charges. Otherwise, our actual time spent will be invoiced to you upon resolution.
Here are examples of requests that require an investigation:
> A possible problem, bug, or troubleshooting request
> Browser showing not secure warning
> Can’t find my website in Google
> Disk space limit reached
> Email issue
> Error message being displayed
> Hacking or Phishing attempt
> Notification from Google or third-party
> Your users cannot do something (asking us to provide support for your users)
> Page not loading fast enough or at all
> White screen of death (WSOD)
2.3.3. Triaged as NEW BUSINESS
Any request for new work in any size or capacity. This could be for technical support, a small job, a new maintenance plan, a marketing strategy, or a new project.
These requests will be assigned to a manager within the activity area of the request (Web operations, Web development, or Marketing) for further refinement and action. This manager will do their best to gather and clarify all the information required and to further triage the request into one of the following two categories:
184.108.40.206. Technical support
Your request pertains to the normal usage of your website, is clear and small in nature (typically less than 3 hours of work), and falls within the reasonable use of our support services. We will provide you with an estimate of the time required and seek your approval on that before proceeding.
Here is a list of examples we can take on as part of technical support:
> Help you log in to your website.
> Reset your password.
> Update your contact or billing info.
> Help on how to use the website functionality available to you to make content changes, add pages, edit links and more.
> Simple and quick configuration changes that are needed to provide you with a reasonable expected user experience.
> Access to any of your files we have such as logo images or other.
> Request a backup of your website.
> Getting access to third-party tools we set up such Google My Business, Google Analytics, email relay, or other.
> Assistance with spam-related issues on web forms.
> Request a change to a domain name (DNS) record, as long as we have access to your registrar.
> How to use the website functionality available to you.
> How to float text around an image using the editor.
> Add, remove, or edit text on a page.
> Add, remove, or edit menu links in the main menu or in the footer.
> Upload a new image.
> Use the page builder to layout content on a page.
> Upload new content OR make some content edits for me.
> Post new content for you on your website – could be a page, a blog post, an article, a news story, a new service, a new portfolio item, a testimonial received, or more.
> Update the contact or address information on my website
> We have a new member on our team, can you create a new email account for them?
> Update the form(s) on my website to send the submission to a new email address
> Access to or credentials for your website or any other third-party asset
> Questions related to platform upgrades or versions
> IOS verifications for Facebook or similar applications
Your request seems like it might require a quote for a fixed price. This could be for a small job, a new maintenance plan, a marketing strategy, or a new project. In this case, we’ll redirect you to our architect, web manager, and/or marketing director – depending on the nature of the request – who will set up a discovery call with you to capture your requirements and prepare a quote or proposal.
This type of request will NOT use up the hours in your bank of hours and will be handled separately. We don’t usually invoice for quotes unless a significant amount of research or preliminary work is required in order to quote, but we’ll let you know if that’s required.
Here is a list of examples that would require a consultation:
> I need a new feature on my website; I need it to do something new
> Can you train a new team member on how to update the content on our website?
> Create a new landing page for a marketing campaign
> Create content or web copy
> Ask to speak to an expert about a current web technology or marketing challenge you may be facing.
> Marketing strategy or marketing execution/support
> Graphics design or branding
> A new website or custom portal
> Customize functionality of my website
2.4. Response time
We are committed to providing you with excellent customer service and aim to acknowledge and triage all requests within 24 hours (one business day not including weekends).
All requests will be scheduled according to availability of experts. Small jobs can usually be scheduled with an expert within two business days or less, but we cannot guarantee this as it depends on our workload.
If you require immediate or off-hour assistance for URGENT matters, please let us know or contact us via telephone. These such requests will be invoiced at a rate of “time and a half”. For example, a request that requires 1.0 hour will incur a charge of 1.5 hours.
2.5. Not sure about your request?
Just ask. We are here to help! If there might be a problem with your website OR you want to discuss possible changes or improvements to your website, then don’t hesitate to contact us.
We will never invoice you for asking questions.
2.6. Getting approval on hours and billing
Before assigning or taking action on any support request, we will share our estimated hours with you and seek approval from you on how the billing will be handled.
When estimating the work required, we will do our best to provide solution options and estimated hours for each option so you can make a decision that fits best with your budget. These are NOT to be mistaken as quotes, but rather a quick estimate that may increase or decrease as we gain more clarity on the request. If we need more than the initially approved time, we’ll stop as soon as we realize this, provide you with our findings, an updated estimate for resolution, our solution options (if more than one), and seek your approval before we continue further.
To accelerate the process and have you requests assigned more quickly, we can proactively agree to your preferred billing model and use that by default for all your support requests.
Here are the billing models available to you for support requests and how each will work:
2.6.1. Bank of hours
If you do not have sufficient prepaid hours in your bank, we will request a top-up. If you have sufficient available hours in your bank, we will temporarily draw down the estimated amount of hours required for the request from your bank so that they are not reused on another request, and then assign the request to an expert.
Once the request is completed, we’ll return unused hours to your bank and let you know how many hours from the bank were used, and how many hours you have remaining.
2.6.2. Pay-as-you-go rate
This means that we will track the hours used and send an invoice to you for payment after completing the support request.
2.6.3. Fixed price quote
If you prefer that the support request be quoted, refer to section 2.2.3. Triaged as New business above.
3. Maintenance plans
These terms apply specifically to our maintenance plans.
3.1. Payments and invoicing for maintenance plans
> Billing cycle: All maintenance plans are invoiced on annual cycle. Exceptions can be made upon request.
> Renewal date: The period of service for your maintenance plan starts on the day we agree to the plan or we go-live with your website, not on the first of the month.
> Recurring invoices: After the invoice is issued for the first cycle, we will set up a recurring annual invoice due 30 days prior to your renewal date.
> Payment issues: If there is a problem with your payment, you’ll have 10 days to settle the payment. If full payment is not received on or before 10 days past your renewal date, then your website maintenance plan, and any other work in progress for your account, may be paused until full payment is received. Your website may also be placed OFFLINE and your email system may be disrupted until payment is received. Once payment is completed, all services will be restored and work resumed.
3.2. Payment methods accepted for maintenance plan
Credit card is our preferred method of payment for maintenance plans in order for us to set up automated recurring payments. Note that we do not charge any surcharge or convenience fee for using credit cards for maintenance plan payments.
Arrangements for other payment methods such as a check by mail or e-transfer must be requested to: firstname.lastname@example.org
3.3. Bank of hours
We don’t require you to keep a minimum number of hours in your bank. We will check it though for each support request and offer to use it when there are hours available in your bank.
3.4. Third-party services and costs
Third-party services are often necessary when you have multiple online tools that your website uses or integrates with.
Some third-party tools are free version, or offer a free version up to certain levels. We can advise you on the required version of these tools.
For instance, verifying your SSL certificate is active is part if our maintenance plan, however the cost of purchasing an SSL certificate is a third-party cost.
If your website is integrated with third-party applications or APIs, we will verify that they are functional as part of our maintenance cycles, but we cannot guarantee their uptime as we are not in control of them. If the third-party makes changes that affect the functioning of your website, we will provide an estimate for the level of effort required on our part to get things updated and working again. If the third-party has stability issues on their end, this is outside of our control but we can coordinate status updates between them and you as part of the plan.
Here are examples of items that are considered third-party:
> SSL certificates
> Email relay
> Plugins or modules
We can make the purchase of most third-party services on your behalf using Support hours, especially in situations where there are some technical language or decisions to be made. By default, we’ll request your credit card and use your contact information during the purchase to ensure you are the owner of the licenses and accounts. If you’d like us to pay for the costs and recover the funds from you later, we can do so following our cost-recovery model outlined above in section 1.3.
3.5. Unanticipated impacts
Most of the systems we maintain are built upon open source code or third-party code which was written by other people. The benefits are important and known as you get more functionality, tools, features that don’t have to be “re-invented”. However, this does mean that we are limited in our area of control.
Platform or CMS updates: Our maintenance plan only includes minor version upgrades to the CMS or platform. As part of our maintenance plan, we test updates offline and spot check the website. That being said, issues caused by these updates can require billable time to troubleshoot and resolve if there are major changes that are found. Major upgrades will require a consultation and be treated as new project.
Plugin/module updates: When we update your website’s plugins/modules, we are upgrading them to their newest versions released by the open source community or vendors – we did not write them. Conflicts between plugins/modules or with the CMS or its theme can occur. As part of our maintenance plan, we test updates offline and spot check the website. That being said, issues caused by these updates can require billable time to troubleshoot and resolve if there are major changes that are found.
Third-party services: Any third-party services, including the hosting, is a third-party service. We can coordinate with them on your behalf as part of support but the hosting account is not the responsibility of our maintenance plan.
3.6. Cancellation of maintenance plan
We require at least 30 days notice in order to cancel your scheduled maintenance plan cycle.
Refunds for prepaid months of services not rendered may be negotiated and issued based on what we deem to be reasonable.
Your success is our success
We believe in clarity, openness, and transparency. We do our best to understand your perspective and to keep you informed and in control. Our success depends on your success. We value our relationship with you as a partnership that relies on mutual trust, and you have our commitment that we will do our best to maintain that trust at all times.