Client Relationship Structure (Inc. Core Coverage)

We deliver the most value when we have the chance to go deep on a client’s business and get to know their audience, then use that knowledge over a long period of time on a wide range of connected projects. Therefore we shy away from single project engagements but instead focus on long-term client relationships. We focus on being a true strategic partner for the client, helping fulfill their mission through our work.

Therefore, after a successful Diagnostic, we set up an ongoing agreement with clients and work on a six or twelve-month plan where we can have a significant effect on their business.

Note: Core Relationship is now called “Core Coverage”
Note: Core Relationship is now called “Core Coverage”

The billing structure we like to use is to have a fixed monthly “Core Coverage” fee, and to charge on hourly for projects outside of that offering, such as new websites or fixes and features within existing websites.

The Core Coverage covers all the work we do to evaluate the client’s needs and plan solutions for them. The client can ask us for insight on new features, or to think through a business problem they would like to address, without incurring any billable hours outside of the fixed Core Coverage fee. Once we get a grasp of what will be necessary, we will propose ways to proceed with an hourly project.

Most of the time the Core Coverage SOW will also include a project called “Planned Maintenance” or similar, which covers general odds-and-ends hourly work that is not worth putting into a specific project.

We reserve time in our schedule to handle the anticipated needs of our Core Coverage clients. We also provide a 25% discount on our a-la-carte hourly rates.

The Core Coverage also includes “Emergency Response” – the client’s security blanket. This means that they know that if there are any problems with the site, we are on call to fix them. They never have to wait for fixes based on our schedule. We include automated monitoring of the sites so most of the time we should know of a problem before they do, but they can always call us and we’re committed to responding promptly.

Core Coverage

Fixed monthly agreement

  • Strategy and pre-project planning work
  • Consultation & Triage of incoming issues
    • This means time we spend figuring out what we need to do.
  • 25% Discount vs. our a-la-carte rates
  • On-call availability for emergency response
  • Recurring client checkin meeting to plan future work (Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly depending on the volume of client‘s work)
  • Accountability to keep the client’s site(s) up and running
  • Automated monitoring of client’s site(s) so we know of any issues as soon as possible
  • The client Strategist’s availability to attend a company/leadership meeting with your team once a quarter to make plans for the websites
  • Reserved time in our schedule for anything you engage us for

What about non-website clients?

Planned Maintenance

(Billed Hourly)

  • Small tweaks and bug fixes
  • Small new features
  • Regular reporting on work in progress
  • Codebase version upgrades
  • Server maintenance
  • Helping with third-party tag implementation and maintenance
  • Related Project Management

Special Projects

(Billed hourly, generally more than 10 hours)

  • New pages and features
  • Full new websites
  • Large features within existing websites

We offer the same relationship model for clients for whom we are not working on a website – we will vary the terms that we use in those cases, and potentially the cost since emergency maintenance may not be required.

What Goes Where?


Clients and staff often ask whether a given type of work should fall into the client‘s Core Coverage or Planned Maintenance. Here is a quick guide:

The work likely falls under the Core Coverage if...

  • If it is unclear who should be doing what and we are doing research/conversations to figure that out.
  • We are doing weekly reporting or backlog grooming
  • We are fixing an urgent defect or problem with a site

The work is likely Planned Maintenance if...

  • The work has already been planned and clarified and we are now getting it done. This includes project management to facilitate getting that work done.
  • If the work has a specific separate SOW that was written as a result of Core Coverage work

Harvest Setup

Setting up our

in Harvest is a little tricky, but with a few key conventions is very straightforward. There should be at least two Harvest projects per Ongoing Agreement. These projects are not specific to any given time period and last as long as our relationship with the client lasts.

Note: Core Retainer has been renamed “Core Coverage”
Note: Core Retainer has been renamed “Core Coverage”

Core Coverage

  • Should be a fixed-cost project
  • The total cost should be equivalent to the client’s Core Coverage fee multiplied by the anticipated length of the contract.
    • Ex. If the client has a fee of $2k/mo, and their contract runs from January through June, the Core Coverage “Total Fees” should be $12k.
    • As we create invoices against the Core Coverage each month, Harvest will deduct that amount from the outstanding fees displayed on the project. Once we have completed the contract, the outstanding fees will be $0.
    • If the contract term is amended, update the associated fees accordingly
  • There are two standard tasks within the Core Coverage project:
    • Strategic Account Management (Or similar)
    • Emergency Response (if applicable)
  • You may want to add other tasks within the project based on the nature of the client and what we do for them within Core Coverage, as specified in the SOW
  • The tasks should have estimates per task. The estimate should be the “cap” from the SOW on each type of service within Core Coverage.

Planned Maintenance

(Sometimes called Planned Creative Services or similar)

  • Should be an hourly project
  • The hourly cost should be whatever is specified in the SOW
  • The budget should reflect the stated anticipated budget from the SOW and should recur monthly

Standard Fees

Each Core Coverage agreement is currently bespoke based on the client’s specific needs and other factors like legacy retainer agreement costs. However, this is a good breakdown of our standard levels and what clients get from each.

For more context, please see

Monthly Cost
Planning Meeting
Weekly, plus ability to have multiple planning meetings
Max Sites Supported
Ty’s availability to join a company planning meeting
Monthly Cap on Strategy Work
Monthly Cap on Emergency Support Work