Closing Princeton Office
After considering a lot, that is the economy and many other factors, we are making some very big changes to our company starting with closing our office in Princeton, NC. However, keep in mind that we will still be in business. Like during COVID, we worked 100% from home without issue.
A lot of this is due to the economy. There aren’t many new customers coming in which as all of our customers know, we don’t ask for recurring fees unless we have to pay a recurring fee. That means when we design a website for someone, they pay a big lump sum and the website is theirs.
We’re also going to be cutting some projects from our line-up and certain contracts we will not be accepting again. I had a vision to once deliver similar high-quality websites to individuals without having to charge them $10,000 like some other projects. One project comes to mind, a totally integrated storefront with a POS system that we would provide. Instead of charging the full $12,000 that you would get with most other companies out there, we were able to scrape by with delivering a system in under $4,000. The problem was, such as in this case, the clientele in this lower market seem to be a “certain type” of client that nickel and dime and wants excessively more than even the $12,000 clients have paid, something you would generally pay in the ballpark of $14k – $22k for. Because our margin for profit was so razor thin expecting large volumes of small businesses, just one customer who decided to back out of the contract was enough to turn a loss for the entire program and thus, I’m making the decision to cut it entirely. Don’t worry, there are a few projects still on the board and they will be completed.
What that means moving forward is that you can expect the “Design Plans” and packages to be removed from our website and we will explicitly only work by the hour from here out. While our packages were also hourly, they came with huge discounts as they were items that we have done before and could pretty much do it again by muscle memory or by copying work we’ve already done expediting the process. But again the problem comes with the nickel and diming routine we got and having to go completely custom anyways and having a client not want to pay once they had requested $6,000 in work done which was the profit for that program for 3 months. I’ve also done some research into this and found that we were one of the only companies left still working on this model for this program with these companies citing very similar scenarios and loss in their own projects and budgets. Therefor, instead of just letting the company go, we’re going to trim the fat away and become leaner and stronger.
Moving forward, you will also see a message at the top of the screen from time to time. We will no longer schedule projects no more than 3 months into the future. Once the project board becomes full and due to labor shortages, we will simply put a notification at the top of the website to alert any potential client that we’re simply not taking new clients. If you see this notification, don’t be alarmed, it just means our schedules are packed.
We’re also going to move to a more development, on-site focus. That is, most projects we do accept from here out will focus on long-term relationships with our clients rather than the old model of delivering a website and handing it off. That means we’re likely to shift to a monthly or annual payment model in the future that will come complete with a labor contract for both onsite and offsite work (if the work is in the Wayne, Johnston, Lenore county areas).
One last thing. We’re also moving everyone to a data center back in New York again. I’m sorry, but Spectrum/Charter really stuck us with one hefty contract to host in-house. We tried to promote sharing out our networks with other companies and the likes but it simply didn’t pay for itself. The contract originally negotiated was supposed to be for 1gb @ $650/mo; while I was having to deal with COVID, they had my wife sign a contract for 200gbps @ $950/mo. That heavily ate the budget we had created for this venture. If there are any companies out there that are willing to provide fiber to the Princeton area at a far better price, by all means, let me know and I’ll consider this in the future, but as of now, I’m willing to cut our losses on this as a company and move forward with a web development focus. This also means that next year the hosting fees all get cut by 20% (as you notice they went up by 20% this year to pay for that surprise bill). To get an idea of my calculations on this, each website uses 0.1 Mbps on average throughout the day, we have a little over 10,000 websites. That is 1gbps we absolutely need which is why we could only host some of our clients in-house (and as those of you who see the in-house hosting on your bill, you’ll notice the latency, load speeds, were phenomenal).
So, that’s the plan. As far as the network move is concerned, that’s happening as we speak, by the time everyone is up and at their places of business in the morning, everything will be working just fine and will be transferred over. The one thing I did when I started hosting in house was to use virtual machines for our web servers to segregate higher risk customers from high usage customers in case they needed to be moved, I could just move the entire virtual machine almost seamlessly. In this case, I can move the virtual machines to New York without any disruption in service.