I was wondering if anyone might have any advice about selling support contracts for software? I’m in the process of turning my open source project ( http://datatables.net ) into a “proper” business, slowly weaning myself away from contracting to a more product based business structure.
One of the areas I’m interested in exploring is selling support contracts, for this software. I realise this in and of itself isn’t going to be what makes the business (at least I think it is unlikely!) but it would be another component that adds to the sum.
What I’m thinking of doing is offering support contracts, targeted more toward businesses that want to be reassured that DataTables, and its plug-ins, will be supported (with the contract term on a yearly basis) with bugs that are found fixed within a given time frame. There are two specific areas I thought of as being able to use as the different support tiers:
- Time to resolve issues (1 week, 48 hours etc)
- Which versions are supported - current major release, current + 1, all etc
Does anyone have experience in setting this kind of thing up? At the moment I don’t even know what such a contract might look like, or what I should be asking for from a lawyer to get one set up.
The other thing that I’m slightly concerned about is if a client purchases a support contract, is it typical for them to be limited by the number of issues they are raise over the contract’s term, so they don’t just require support 8 hours a day every day!?
Many thanks for any thoughts or insights you might have!