Here are some expectations, suggestions, and procedures for getting the most out of our relationship.
Welcome to BFC Support! We’re looking forward to working with you and your site.
Our relationship will be long and fruitful, and to get us off on the right foot, we’ve written up a few “rules of the road” to help you get the most out of your relationship with BFC Support. Please read them and ask your Support Manager if you have any questions or concerns.
Who’s Who on Our Team
Your dedicated Support Manager will be your first point of contact for any questions you have relating to your site. This includes most anything related to your site — whether it’s a new support item, consulting on a new project, an invoicing or payment question, or anything else. Your Support Manager can quickly identify who at our company is best suited to answer your question.
Your Support Manager (SM) is a web developer whose job is to get to know your site and take care of it as if it were their own. He or she will be in charge of monitoring for downtime, malware, and CMS updates, and he or she will contact you when he or she feels like action should be taken. SM’s also handle web development tasks on your site and will be there to advise or consult when you’d like to add or change something on your site. Please assign all Basecamp to-do list items to your SM, and make sure he or she is notified on all discussions.
You will likely not need to contact them directly, as your Support Manager will pull them in as needed. However, if there is ever a point where you would like to speak to someone who isn’t your Support Manager (to express a concern, for instance, or to provide feedback of some kind), please feel free to reach out to our Support Team Leader CJ or the team members found above.
How We Communicate
Communication is key in any relationship. Here are the ways communication should happen, ordered from most efficient to least efficient.
Basecamp is a web-based project management tool that allows members of teams to post messages, list to-dos, add items to calendars, and plan projects. It’s our preferred method of communication.
When to use it:
Always! This is our preferred method of communication and should be the default way to contact us. Please contact us in Basecamp whenever you have a new support request, a question, new information that we should have about your site (updated credentials, when a new employee is joining or leaving your team, etc.) or anything else to say to us. Try to resist the urge to email your Support Manager directly.
Why to use it:
There are so many moving parts to your website and Basecamp provides an easy way to keep everything in one place. When we talk in Basecamp there is always a paper trail that can be followed so we can pick up where we left off when new people join the conversation, when team members go on vacation and someone needs to cover for them, or when projects go dormant then return after some time.
How to use it:
Basecamp can be accessed in three ways:
- From the web. Log in at HTTP://BASECAMPHQ.COM and select your project. Click “post a new message” to start a discussion, or, if you have a specific task you would like us to start immediately, create a to-do item under the “Support List.” Make sure your Support Manager is checked off to be notified of the discussion. If adding a to-do item, be sure to assign it to your Support Manager. You can also upload files, add and edit text files, and comment on anything in the system.
- From your email. Basecamp communications can be started directly from your email if you don’t want to have to log in to yet another account.
- From the Basecamp app on your mobile device.
While not as efficient as Basecamp, email communication can be appropriate as well.
When to use it:
If you would like to share something privately with your support manager or with someone else at BFC and you want to be sure other members of the team don’t see it. Otherwise, email use is generally discouraged and we try to keep all written communication in Basecamp. If you’d like to loop someone in on a conversation who isn’t a Basecamp user, you can still do this in Basecamp. Under your comment where it says “Your comment will be emailed to:” click on “Change” and then “Loop-in someone who isn’t on the project” and enter their email address.
When to use them:
Sparingly. Sometimes phone calls are the best way to get across a lot of information at once or to have a back and forth about how to proceed with an idea you need consulting help with. It can also be nice to hear someone’s voice every once in a while! That said, phone calls are usually best left for specific situations such as the planning portion of a larger project or the beginning of our relationship so we can introduce ourselves. Phone calls don’t have the benefit of a written record that can be shared or returned to later like Basecamp communications. We recommend you limit phone calls for scheduled meetings and the like.
What is Maintenance?
All of our plans include services that are critical to maintaining the overall health of your website. We call this Maintenance! These services are performed by a dedicated Web Developer who knows your site and cares for it as if it were their own.
- site on-boarding for first time sites – $750 value!
- daily site backups (files and database) stored off-site
- uptime monitoring
- malware monitoring and security scanning
- monthly WordPress core, theme, and plugin updates*
- a development (or “staging”) site for testing updates and fixes
- a Github repository – version control of your site
- And last but not least – an approachable Web Developer that is familiar with your site whom you can contact for additional support!*
* Maintenance includes up to 1 hour of labor per month during regular business hours spent on the above items. Anything additional issues or time necessary to resolve bugs produced during updates will be billed as hourly support.
Maintenance to Support
Responding to a hack or downtime is something we take seriously. If your site has one of these issues, your dedicated Web Developer will be notified and they will take the steps necessary to restore your site as soon as possible. Your site going down should never be the norm, but if it happens we will have a fix. The time required to do this is considered Support and not Maintenance.
Additionally, we take keeping your site updated and secure seriously. To maintain that standard, we perform monthly updates to the WordPress core, themes, and plugins. Should this process require more than 1 hour of the dedicated developer’s time, the excess time will be considered Support and be billed as such.
What is Support?
“Support” refers to web development and consulting, performed on your site by our team. Examples of how some of our clients use Support are:
- consulting, or gathering ideas and helping you find the best way to achieve your intended goals with your website;
- adding new functionality to your site;
- improving the way the site looks;
- migrating your site to a different host or server; Website migration (changing hosts/servers);
- installing or configuring a new plugin or module;
- changing the backend structure of your site — for instance, by adding new menu items, new content types, new organization or taxonomy terms;
- making Drupal core and module security updates to your site;
making design improvements, including logos or slideshow images;
- adding content to the website;
- training — help with how to use your WordPress or Drupal site;
- creation and maintenance of a GitHub repo for your site to manage and deploy code changes
bug fixes of all kinds; and
- many more
Services we don’t provide
There are, of course, a few services we don’t provide:
- anything having to do with your internal office network (this often includes email services);
- any work on a website that we are not maintaining;
- anything that is being actively worked on by another contractor or 3rd party; and
- writing content for your site. This is best left to copywriting professionals.
All of our plans come with monthly maintenance which starts at $150 / month. Maintenance helps us keep your site healthy in the background. For everything else, we bill for our time by the quarter hour as Support. If you request our services, our policy is to begin work as soon as possible, even if it’s just to gather details on your issue to provide you with an informed answer. To help you stay on budget, we do our best to give you a time estimate for items we expect to take longer than an hour or two. If at any point you’d like to know how many hours you’ve used for the month, please contact your Support Manager, they’ll be happy to give you an hours report!
We offer support plans including a retainer of hours. These lock you in at a discounted rate and helps our team with scheduling. This way the more planned work you have with us, the less you pay per hour. Retainers do not include unlimited work; however, using all of your retainer hours for the month does not mean you have to halt work with us and wait until the following month. In fact, it’s typically more efficient if we continue working on any open items rather than stopping and picking up again later. As long as your support manager has time in their schedule, they will default to proceeding unless you tell them otherwise. Note: you are billed at the same discounted rate even if you go over your retainer! If you are on a fixed budget, you can always request that your Support Manager give you a heads up when you hit your retainer hours.
Please contact your support manager if you have questions about pricing.
Changing your plan
Our contracts are month-to-month, making it easy for you to upgrade, downgrade or otherwise change your plan. We ask that you give us 7 days notice before your next billing cycle to make sure any changes are reflected in your next month’s invoice. You do not have to sign a new contract with us to change the plan.
Hours and Response time
BFC prides ourselves in being responsive to your needs. When you contact us, you are getting in touch with a real person who is invested in your website, so it’s important to set expectations for timeliness. We respond to Basecamp messages or emails within 1 business day (24 hours), even if it’s simply to acknowledge receipt and estimate a time for task completion.
Of course, turnaround time on completion of web development tasks varies depending on the complexity of your request. We try to complete simple requests, which we define as things that take up to 3 hours, in about 1-2 business days. Items in the 3-5 hour range might need a bit longer (2-5 business days), and we will fit larger projects (over 5 hours) into our schedules as time allows (sometimes these require working with the schedules of a few different team members so can vary).
Though there may be times we work late to accommodate emergencies, we are not a 24/7 shop — business hours are 9 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday.
File Changes and Codebase Coordination
For most clients who need web development on their websites, we take charge of the site’s codebase and track it in a GitHub repository, which allows distributed teams to make trackable changes to websites and rollback in case of emergency. This means, however, that we must coordinate with you in order to make sure we don’t overwrite any changes you are making and vice versa.
If you do need to access your codebase, let’s speak directly to come up with a plan. Our goal is to provide the most stable yet flexible environment to meet your organization’s needs.