Finding the Right Drupal Maintenance Partner: Tips and Tricks
Finding the right support and maintenance partner for your Drupal site is easy if you know how
What is a support partner and why do I need one for my Drupal website?
If you are not an expert in Drupal security, patching, and bug fixing, you will quickly realize that you need a Drupal maintenance partner. This is why some organizations have internal engineering teams whilst others use specialist Drupal web development agencies when they need help.
How to choose your Drupal maintenance partner
Finding a trustworthy partner may take a little time and research but it is worth the effort. Your Drupal development partner should not only be an expert in Drupal with extensive experience, but also an agency that is transparent with its clients. This is why the ideal fit for a support partner would be an agency that has good experience relevant to the nature of your business.
We recommend you search for the following things when you are choosing a Drupal partner.
1. Ask about specific client challenges the agency has faced before and how they were resolved. Then you will know if their experience fits your needs, and understand how they deal with unexpected issues.
2. Choose a team that will be involved in the project till the end. You should feel like you are working with people who will treat your ongoing needs as their own.
This will save you a lot of effort and time in the future as you won’t need to look for a different Drupal agency for every new project and can trust one for all future projects. This sort of single-supplier or one-stop-shop approach saves you money (in supplier management time) and dramatically reduces the learning curves of both parties for each project.
3. Work with a partner that doesn't just fulfill your requirements, but is invested in the vision of the project. Make sure they belong with you AND your project.
The easiest way to understand this is to ask them to do an audit of your current sites. This would show you how well you work together, what their attention to detail is like, and whether you are aligned on what the most important issues are for your websites.
4. Ask the agency for references from previous clients so you can understand their experiences. If the agency you are interested in says no, this might be a sign you should look for an alternative one.
We recommend you also look up the potential agency on a reputable review site like Clutch. Clutch is great because they independently verify each review by interviewing the client themselves. Check out our Clutch reviews as an example here.
5. Find a partner that offers support AND maintenance services - as well as general development. The best people to support and maintain your sites are the people who build them. This is because they know the code and already understand what’s important to you as an organization.
Good support and proactive maintenance will mean that any bugs that possibly come up will be resolved quickly and effectively and that your sites will be kept secure.
6. Plan out your budget and choose an agency according to your available funds and project needs. However, be aware of prices that seem very low or costs that seem fixed. You should also ask for transparent pricing.
All web projects have some degree of uncertainty in them, so an estimate of a price range is likely to be more truthful than a fixed-price quote.
It’s also a mistake to focus only on the hourly rates of the team you are considering. One support engineer may only take two hours to complete a task that takes someone else 10 hours. So, ask your potential support agency how many senior, mid, and junior developers they have. If they have all or mostly senior staff, your tasks are likely to be completed more quickly but their hourly rates are likely to be higher.
In terms of support costs, an estimate of price range is likely to be more truthful than a fixed-price quote
I hope these points will be useful when you start your search for your next Drupal partner.