How to use turnkey websites to grow your agency

Morgan Smith's Layout avatar

As you’re taking on more web design clients and trying to grow your agency, eventually you’re going to run into the natural problem of scaling your services – it’s a growing pain every business must address. While the dream is to only work with collaborative, cooperative, and creative clients that have an unlimited budget, those unicorn customers aren’t always the easiest to find. And when you’re ready to scale your agency, sometimes it’s best to look outside the box of your usual clientele and explore a few simpler options that are easier to scale.

One of the easiest and most successful ways to do that is a little strategy revolving around turnkey websites.

What are turnkey websites?

Think of templated websites – super simple, incredibly easy to customize, and super affordable for those lower-paying clients. You can still put your agency’s signature spin on them, but the point is that they’re crazy fast to create and can easily be replicated from one client to the next.


If your agency tends to gravitate toward a particular niche, this method can be incredibly successful. Let’s say you focus on building websites for restaurants. You’ve probably identified a few things they all have in common: menus, hours of operation, photos of the food, etc. It’s noble to create a custom solution for every single client that comes knocking on your door, but the truth is – not all of them need a custom solution. Many will just want something that looks professional, works, and sticks within their budget. That’s exactly where a turnkey website comes in.

These templated site designs allow you to quickly swap out the content to create a solution for your clients that just works. Are they as creative as a custom site design? No. But do clients have a need for them? Absolutely!

Why turnkey websites help you grow

It’s important to note that with a turnkey website strategy, you can still build custom sites for those larger paying clients. It’s a great way to tier your services and hit different price points, all while maintaining a manageable workload.

While these templated sites won’t be the solution for every client you onboard, they will be for some – and that alone will start to make a big difference in your team’s workload. Even though turnkey sites are typically meant for lower-paying clients, they allow you to take on more work without cutting into development time, which means more money in the bank and an easy-to-scale solution.


The real key to making this strategy work is to price it accordingly. Instead of bidding out sites on a per-project basis with a focus on hourly rates, opt for a fixed rate or even bundle it into a monthly service. If you can generate recurring revenue from turnkey websites, you’re really going to accelerate your agency’s growth!

How to get started with turnkey websites

While turnkey websites are a pretty simple concept, you need to figure out a few things before offering them up on your services page. To get started, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the most common “components” clients ask for?
  • How can I build those components in a way to easily use them in the future?
  • What customization options am I going to provide? (Keep the list short!)
  • How long will it take someone on my team to go from contract signed to site online?
  • How can I improve the process to shave off even more setup time?
  • What is the hourly rate I’m paying my employees to launch these sites for clients?
  • Given great process, how many sites can I expect one employee to be able to launch in one week?

These types of questions challenge you to figure out a pricing model that scales. The lower the fee, the more attractive it is for prospects, but you have to balance that with making a worthwhile profit. That’s why you need a quality templated design that’s easy to customize and strong processes in place for keeping the workflow smooth and efficient.

Free ebook: The secret to scaling your agency


Turnkey websites are a great way to scale your agency, but they’re not the only option. Recurring revenue will allow your agency to maintain a healthy cash flow and work in a more stress-free environment. In this free ebook, we’ll cover four different ways your agency can start earning recurring revenue and actionable steps to start implementing those strategies.

Ready to grow your agency? Download the free guide today!

Comments ( 2 )

  1. Brian Reich

    July 19, 2017

    For my agency, it comes down to the question of what we want to be.

    We feel like a client that wants a budget fill-in-the-blank website has better options available that might fit their budget.

    Being honest about this and turning down projects that don't dovetail with our mission frees us up to focus on customers who value us as expert web marketers and developers, rather than just "template installers."

    But with that in mind, Flywheel has helped us meet our goals of offering quality over quantity. Anyone who has been burnt by budget hosting knows Flywheel is the "right" solution to WordPress hosting.

    Blueprints have been incredibly useful in developing about 75% of the websites we build. We have a theme that's super-fast and flexible (Enfold) and a small list of plugins that we trust implicitly (Gravity Forms, Yoast). Having that scaffold available to spin up a website that's immediately ready for customization shaves hours off of every project, no matter how custom or "cookie-cutter" the end product may be.

  2. Dan

    July 13, 2017

    Thanks for this article. What I was looking for was a discussion about how Flywheel could help with the templated website process. I *know* you can —right? — I just didn't see it in this post.

    • Morgan Smith

      July 14, 2017

      Hey Dan, you bet! Our Blueprints feature would be great for that – it allows you to save themes and plugins to reuse when spinning up a new site. You can learn more about it here!

      • Dan

        July 14, 2017

        Thanks Morgan. You folks really understand WP hosting from the agency point of view. What do I pay to store the blueprints on your server?

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