Best WordPress Website Maintenance Services
Best WordPress Website Maintenance Services – Running a website is hard work. It’s one of the main reasons why so many webmasters end up letting their website fall by the wayside.
A webmaster may be responsible for content creation, SEO, strategic outreach, social media, general website updates, security and administration. All of these tasks are time-consuming and can leave you with little time for yourself.
If you want to take a sizable number of WordPress tasks off your plate, consider signing up for one of the many WordPress maintenance and support services that are available online.
In this article, we’re going to share some of the best website maintenance services that you can use for your WordPress site.
What Are the Benefits of Using a WordPress Website Maintenance Service?
You are responsible for implementing WordPress core updates, plugin and theme updates, and maintaining website backups if you run a self-hosted WordPress.org website.
Unless you choose a managed WordPress hosting service like WP Engine, you’ll have to handle all of these activities on your own.
You may believe that these chores are consuming too much of your time, which you would like to focus on expanding your company.
This is where website upkeep services come in handy. The following are some of the services that a competent website maintenance provider should offer:
Back-ups are important
Your site should be backed up on a frequent basis, frequently more than once a day, by the service. This means that if something goes wrong, you can quickly restore your site.
Expert WordPress Support
As a newbie, you may require assistance from time to time to resolve typical WordPress difficulties.
You won’t have to waste time working through WordPress tutorials if your website maintenance provider provides experienced WordPress assistance.
It’s worth noting that support may be charged as an extra service in some situations. It isn’t always included in the standard website upkeep plan.
Your website maintenance service will execute automated scans to keep your site safe and secure. Most businesses can assist you in promptly dealing with issues such as malware or hacking attempts.
Note that many website maintenance services may demand an additional fee for virus removal. We recommend Sucuri since it is the best WordPress firewall plugin and all of their commercial plans include free malware eradication.
WordPress Updates on a Regular Basis
By keeping everything up to date for you, your website maintenance service will save you time. If you decide to update your plugins yourself, be sure to follow our step-by-step instructions on how to update WordPress plugins correctly.
Best WordPress Website Maintenance Services at Their Finest
It takes a lot of effort to maintain a website.
It’s one of the key reasons why so many webmasters abandon their sites.
Content production, SEO, strategic outreach, social media, general website updates, security, and administration may all fall within the purview of a webmaster. All of these activities take time and may leave you with little time for yourself.
Consider joining up for one of the various WordPress maintenance and support services available online if you wish to relieve yourself of a large number of WordPress responsibilities.
Are you looking for the best WordPress website upkeep services?
Website maintenance services administer your WordPress site for you. This includes backups, upgrades, security, and website modifications.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best WordPress website maintenance services.
- WordPress core updates, plugin updates, theme updates, website backups, security, and uptime monitoring are all examples of maintenance.
- Support: This can assist you with issues such as website outage, plugin/theme errors, and theme modifications, as well as WordPress guidance and troubleshooting.
WordPress maintenance and support services can help you spend less time managing your website and dealing with issues like spam, hacking, and mistakes. They take care of the tedious duties that must be completed — such as plugin and theme upgrades, security checks, and website backups — and are critical to any online business’s success.
These support services will be quite beneficial to those who are new to WordPress, as they will take charge of any troublesome situations you can’t manage on your own, ensuring that your website is back online as soon as possible.
If you’re a seasoned WordPress user, you might think that maintenance and support services are pointless because they don’t help you with anything you can’t perform yourself. That, on the other hand, is missing the point. Support services significantly minimise your workload and free you your time to focus on more vital activities.
Let’s take a deeper look at seven of the best WordPress maintenance and support services available, keeping these advantages in mind.
In light of this, here are our top recommendations for the finest WordPress website maintenance services:
10 Best WordPress Website Maintenance Services
WP Buffs is a WordPress maintenance and support service that provides email and live chat help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are based in Washington, DC, but have employees from all over the world.
WP Buffs is a popular WordPress website maintenance service that offers cloud backups, emergency assistance, weekly website upgrades, speed optimization, and unlimited website revisions, among other services.
They provide plans that are ideal for the average website owner as well as plans that are capable of handling eCommerce stores, membership sites, and more complicated websites.
If you visit WordPress WordCamp conferences, you’ve almost certainly run into WP Buffs, as their crew regularly attends events in the United States and Europe. WP Buffs also demonstrate how they used WPMRR to grow their business. This website explains how to use video tutorials and podcasts to generate monthly recurring money.
Website modifications, security, website backups, website updates, and basic WordPress assistance are all included in the WP Buffs support plan packages.
Maintain, protect, and perform are their three key care programmes.
The monthly fees for these plans are $67, $147, and $197, respectively. If you pay annual, these prices drop to $56 per month, $123 per month, and $164 per month. For those who have heavily customised WordPress websites, there are more plans available.
Daily cloud website backups, weekly WordPress plugin and theme upgrades, uptime monitoring, and weekly reports that provide an overview of how your website is performing are all included in the Maintain plan. This plan includes emergency assistance to assist you in dealing with disasters such as hacking or malware.
Upgrade to the protect plan to get twice-daily backups and access to premium WordPress plugins like iThemes Security Pro, WPMU DEV Smush Pro, and WP Rocket. This plan also includes unlimited website edits, which means WP Buffs can assist you with making changes to your website (for more information on what constitutes an edit, see the WP Buffs FAQ page).
The perform plan includes everything in the lower-priced plans, but it also includes four daily website backups. With this service, WP Buffs will also optimise the speed of your website and guarantee that the design appears nice on smartphones and tablets. Malware removal is also included, as well as priority assistance.
WP Buffs is a company to consider if you’re looking for a good WordPress maintenance and support service. They have a solid reputation for offering excellent customer service, and their plans are reasonably priced.
If you’re interested in their services, they recommend scheduling a call to discuss your needs and what they have to offer.
- WP Buffs will send you a well formatted.pdf report every week to let you know exactly what they’ve been up to on your site. You’ll see, for example, a list of which plugins have been updated and when they were updated.
- They provide support for complex web stores (eCommerce), but you’ll need their most expensive package for this.
- Throughout the day, WP Buffs keeps an eye on your site. If your site goes down, they’ll start fixing it within 60 seconds.
- Because WP Buffs has staff members all over the world, support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- WP Buffs provides a white-label option. If you host WordPress websites for clients, this is quite beneficial. WP Buff’s services can be used for your clients as if WP Buffs were a member of your own team.
- Only the most expensive of their three options includes malware removal.
- WP Buffs only updates plugins once a week, not on a daily basis. However, this does mean that they will have more time to test new plugin upgrades.
The cheapest package is $67 per month. If you want priority help, virus eradication, performance optimization, and a few other things, you’ll have to pay $197 each month. If you pay annually, you will receive a discount.
GoWP is aimed toward WordPress agencies and freelancers who give services to their clients. They provide white-label assistance. This means you may utilise your own branding while their team takes care of the maintenance.
- The basic site maintenance plan costs $29 per month. This includes not only backups and updates, but also malware removal.
- The monthly fee for the “maintenance + unlimited content revisions” package is $79 per month. This includes 24/7 assistance as well as a variety of small jobs (up to 30 minutes each) such as CSS modification, plugin installation, and more.
- Their “Visual Validator” software inspects your site when you instal plugins by collecting screenshots of up to 20 pages and comparing them to earlier versions. If anything changes, the GoWP team will be notified and will be able to examine your site.
- You can use GoWP for both your own site and those of your clients.
- The crew is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and attempts to complete all tasks in no more than 8 hours.
- If you require jobs that take more than 30 minutes, you’ll have to pay separately.
- WordPress freelancers and agencies are the target audience for GoWP. If you’re only using it on one site, you might notice that there’s a bit of a learning curve.
The standard maintenance subscription for GoWP is $29 per month, or $79 per month for maintenance plus unlimited content, CSS, and other adjustments.
You’ll need to pay for one-off assignments if you have difficult activities that will take more than 30 minutes apiece.
They also have the option of hiring a dedicated developer for $1799 a month for your team.
Codeable is a service that allows you to hire WordPress expertise. This could be a wonderful method to identify someone that can help you with a custom maintenance plan.
You might, for example, hire a developer to assist you in making your website quick and secure.
Unlike Upwork or other freelance marketplaces, Codeable has a thorough vetting process in place to ensure that you only work with the most experienced WordPress developers.
- Codeable carefully selects the developers with whom they collaborate. You’ll be working with someone who has a lot of experience as a result of this.
- You have complete control over anything you want. The majority of dedicated website maintenance services need you to choose from a set of options.
- You might utilise Codeable to get one-time help. For example, you might require assistance in setting up a WordPress membership website. You’ll be able to take care of the site on your own after that.
- Codeable has a support team that can walk you through the process of finding and working with a developer utilising their platform. It’s worth noting that they don’t actually give WordPress assistance.
- You’ll need to have a clear notion of what you’re looking for. You’ll almost certainly be asked questions regarding your project by developers. It can be difficult to tell what kind of assistance you require if you’re new to WordPress.
- You won’t know how much your project will cost until you start getting quotes, which normally happens within a day of posting it.
- Codeable will require an additional 17.5 percent payment (depending on the projected cost of your project). Even if the developer does not complete your project to your satisfaction, this cost is non-refundable.
Instead of a collection of bids, Codeable will provide you with a single quote. This is to avoid a “race to the bottom,” in which developers try to undercut one another, resulting in someone who is cheap but not necessarily skilled.
Their pricing is based on an hourly rate of $70 to $120, plus a 17.5 percent set service fee to Codeable.
Valet provides maintenance packages that cover everything you’d expect. Backups, WordPress core upgrades, and plugin updates, among other things, are all taken care of. All updates are tested on a staging site before going live on your site.
Valet is a WordPress maintenance and support provider with an excellent web reputation. Mason James and Kimberly Lipari founded WP Valet in the United States in 2011, and it was renamed Valet in 2016. They currently have employees working from all around the world, including Milan Ivanovic, who is well-known in the WordPress community for organising many WordCamp Europe conferences.
The Valet maintenance plan is $69 per month.
This subscription includes incremental offsite daily website backups that are saved for 30 days, CloudFlare CDN setup, and WordPress core, plugins, and theme updates. Valet, rather than employing cron jobs, manually updates plugins and themes.
Security scanning and uptime monitoring are also part of their maintenance plan.
There are three extra support and consulting packages available, each of which can be purchased once or on a regular basis.
The company differs from other WordPress support companies in that their basic plan is appropriate for websites with less than 10,000 monthly visitors, their professional plan is appropriate for websites with less than 100,000 monthly visitors, and their elite plan is appropriate for websites with less than 500,000 monthly visitors.
The most basic package is $300 per month and provides two hours of support. The professional plan is $750 per month and includes five hours of monthly support. This plan is recommended for eCommerce and membership websites.
Their most expensive plan, the elite plan, provides ten hours of support per month and was created to assist businesses who wanted additional marketing and IT assistance but didn’t want to recruit another employee.
Additional consulting costs $175 per month, and website assessments start at $1,400.
While Valet’s maintenance plan is a little more expensive than other options on the market, I believe their service is still affordable at $69 per month, especially since you’d be working with a prestigious firm with a lot of experience. Please keep in mind, however, that their maintenance package does not include assistance.
Valet has obviously positioned their support plans at the higher end of the market, so I recommend checking them out if you’re seeking for premium WordPress support.
- At $69 per month, the maintenance package is clearly and reasonably priced. There are no different plans to pick from, and you only pay on a monthly basis.
- If you like, you can add further WordPress support. This is an hourly rate that can be used for any WordPress project.
- The maintenance plan includes various items for which other providers charge significantly more. It provides uptime monitoring and support for eCommerce sites, for example.
- If you require further WordPress assistance, you can do so. This is an hourly rate that can be used for any WordPress project.
- Before signing up, there isn’t much information on the site. For example, there are no frequently asked questions. This means that some things aren’t quite clear. The maintenance plan promises “frequent reporting,” but what this entails is unclear.
- Pricing might be more open and clear. When you’re given the option of pre-purchasing “Consultation & Support Hours,” it’s unclear how much these will cost.
- The maintenance plan offers no assistance. You’ll have to pay an hourly fee if you have questions.
The monthly maintenance fee is $69 per month. You may hire developers by the hour to accomplish whatever you want with your WordPress site, but it won’t be cheap: $175 per hour or $150 if you pay in advance.
Maintainn has a variety of plans to keep your website secure and up to date. Weekly plugin, theme, and WordPress updates are included in all plans. There’s also 24/7 security monitoring, so if your site is hacked, you’ll be notified.
Maintainn offers services like uptime monitoring and eCommerce support at the “Professional” or higher price plan levels.
Maintainn is a WordPress maintenance and support firm that provides weekly service reports as well as email and live chat help to their customers. WebDevStudios founded the business in 2012.
Off-site website backups, 24/7 security monitoring, and weekly upgrades to the WordPress core, plugins, and themes are all included in their maintenance plans.
You can place a support button on your WordPress dashboard once you’ve signed up for Maintainn, so you can obtain help right from your WordPress admin area. Maintainn can assist you with a variety of WordPress-related difficulties, including website migration, development, website faults, downtime, and more.
Standard, professional, and enterprise are the three maintenance plans offered by Maintainn.
The plans cost $59 per month, $179 per month, and $299 per month, respectively, if paid monthly. Paying annual lowers the effective monthly price to $49, $149, and $249 per month, respectively.
The base subscription includes daily website backups, weekly WordPress upgrades, and on-demand WordPress assistance. This package also includes security screening, but there is a $99 one-time price for cleaning up a compromised website.
The professional plan eliminates the website clean-up fee and doubles the number of daily backups. This package also includes uptime monitoring, performance assessments, and eCommerce and WordPress multisite capabilities. Maintainn will also appoint a professional project manager to assist you in managing your website and providing greater support.
The enterprise plan is designed for larger businesses. Customers get access to a collaboration environment, as well as website staging and version updates. Customers are encouraged to review website modifications in the staging environment before they go live, and website backups are performed four times a day under this plan.
Maintainn is a low-cost WordPress maintenance and support solution that will let you spend less time managing your site.
Their entry-level package is only $59 per month if you pay monthly, which is an excellent price since it includes support, WordPress updates, security scans, and daily website backups.
- After a hack, the “Professional” plan and higher provide free malware removal.
- Maintainn’s plans are less expensive than some of the other services we investigated.
- For all plans, there is live chat help as well as email assistance.
- You’ll receive a weekly report detailing what Maintainn has been doing to on your site.
- Design and development services, as well as website hosting, are available through Maintainn. This could be a good option if you want a single provider to handle all of your website’s needs.
- Only Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, is live chat available. If you regularly work on your site on weekends, this could be aggravating.
- If you want malware removal for free, you’ll need the “Professional” plan or higher.
The Standard plan at Maintainn costs $59 per month. If you have an eCommerce site, you’ll need at least their “Professional” plan, which costs $179 a month.
The Enterprise plan, which costs $299 per month, is their most costly regular plan. This includes features such as version control and a staging site. This makes it perfect for larger websites where multiple individuals may be working on them.
WP Maintainer is a WordPress site maintenance service that is simple to use. If you like, you may also pay for additional support and development time.
- WP Maintainer provides a free website scan. To get this, you’ll need to submit your email address, but you’re under no need to buy anything.
- A single $99/month maintenance subscription is available. You are not required to choose between various plans.
- If your site is afflicted with malware, the maintenance plan covers site cleanup.
- For $99 per hour, you may add development support. Most things you’d want to do with your website can be done with this, albeit it can’t be utilised for a complete makeover.
- Updates happen often, usually shortly after new versions of plugins, themes, or WordPress are published.
- If you need a new web host, WP Maintainer can set you up with one of their approved providers for free when you sign up for their maintenance package.
- There is no support included. You’ll have to pay if you have queries or need assistance with things like installing a new plugin or repairing a problem on your site.
- If you’re not satisfied, there’s no indication on the website that you’ll be able to get your money back.
The monthly maintenance plan is $99 per month. Support and maintenance time can be purchased for $99 per hour.
We hope that this article assisted you in locating the top WordPress website maintenance services. You might also be interested in our comparison of the top business phone services for remote teams and our guidance on key WordPress maintenance tasks to undertake on a regular basis.
GoDaddy WordPress Premium Support
GoDaddy was founded in 1997 and claims to be the internet’s largest domain registrar and web hosting firm with the most customers.
GoDaddy has been aggressively targeting the WordPress market for the past five years. Their WordPress.org profile emphasises the many WordPress plugins and themes they’ve developed, and they’re a regular presence at WordPress WordCamp conferences.
They gained a head start in the WordPress support world in 2016 when they bought WP Curve, which was at the time one of the leading WordPress support services. GoDaddy’s WordPress support service is now known as GoDaddy WordPress Premium Support.
Their service is limited to assistance and does not include basic maintenance such as plugin and theme upgrades.
GoDaddy will assist you with theme updates, database administration, image optimization, URL redirects, and more, and they’ll back up your website before they start any work so it can be restored if necessary.
GoDaddy’s customer service is based on a credit system.
Each work you assign to them costs one credit, regardless of how long it takes to perform. If a problem necessitates the completion of numerous tasks, you will be prompted to approve the use of additional credit.
It’s evident that determining whether certain challenges are one or two tasks is difficult, but if you’re confused, you can ask them to clarify.
Monthly support plans from GoDaddy feature a set number of credits, and the effective rate for each decreases as you purchase higher-priced plans. Credits that aren’t utilised aren’t carried over to the next month.
One credit costs $49.99 per month, three credits cost $79.99 per month, five credits cost $99.99 per month, and ten credits cost $149.99 per month.
If you need assistance with WordPress modifications, website optimization, or WordPress issues, GoDaddy WordPress Premium Support is a good option. They may also assist inexperienced WordPress users with simple operations like installation.
Please keep in mind that GoDaddy will not assist you with any WordPress maintenance. Additionally, those of you who require a lot of assistance with WordPress can benefit from a package that provides infinite support.
WP Site Care
WP Site Care is a WordPress support and maintenance company that has been around since 2012. They’re centred in Atlanta, but have employees all around the country, including in Montana and Salt Lake City.
Most WordPress maintenance duties may be handled using WP Site Care. Every day, they take a cloud backup of your website and update the WordPress core, as well as your WordPress plugins and themes, to the most recent version.
Their service searches for security vulnerabilities and tracks activity on your website in real time. They charge a one-time cost of $100 to clean up your website if it has been hacked.
Customers can submit an unlimited amount of support requests, and if your request isn’t covered by your subscription, the staff will provide you with an estimate for the task.
Because WP Site Care’s support hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, their services may be more suited to North American customers. If you contact us outside of these hours, we may not be able to respond until the next business day.
WP Site Care has a straightforward pricing structure.
Customers can choose between two plans: their basic plan costs $99 per month, or an effective rate of $79 per month if paid annually; and their pro plan costs $399 per month, or an effective rate of $299 if paid annually.
Upgrading to the pro subscription unlocks a slew of features, like increasing backup frequency from daily to hourly and ensuring that your support tickets are prioritised. This package includes two hours of development time, as well as a staging service for eCommerce websites. You can also track changes to your code using version control.
Additional security features on the pro package include priority support and Sucuri’s cloudproxy firewall.
WP Site Care is a service that takes care of WordPress maintenance and provides backups, security checks, and support when you need it.
They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on their plans. You’ll get a full refund if you’re not satisfied with their service throughout this time.
WP Tech Support
WP Tech Support is a WordPress maintenance and support firm with locations in the United Kingdom, the United States, and India. Their global locations enable them to provide customer support via a secure customer panel 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
WordPress upgrades, security scans, offsite website backups, performance optimizations, and general WordPress support are all available.
WP Tech Support is unquestionably one of the cheapest WordPress support services online, with support options starting at only $25 per month.
They offer four different levels of support: basic, standard, pro, and business. These plans retail for $25 per month, $36 per month, $48 per month, and $68 per month, respectively, based on a six-month purchase.
Weekly reports, daily security checks, and weekly WordPress updates for WordPress plugins and the WordPress core are included in all plans.
The basic package includes one emergency patch, weekly website backups, and Monday through Friday ticket help. If you spend an extra $11 per month to switch to the standard plan, your website will be backed up daily and you will have access to support on weekends as well. There’s also a website health check.
The $48-per-month pro package includes unlimited emergency repair. This package also includes updates to your WordPress theme, virus eradication, and 60 minutes of website improvement assistance. The business plan is the most expensive, costing $68 a month and including 90 minutes of website improvement, an SSL certificate for your website, and SEO and performance optimization.
Additional emergency fixes are available for $65 apiece for basic and standard plan customers. A $115 one-time performance tuneup is also offered, as well as $115 per hour custom development.
WP Tech Support offers some of the most affordable WordPress support packages available. For many WordPress users, this alone makes them an appealing option.
However, you should double-check that their programmes provide exactly what you require, as some may fall short. For example, to obtain WordPress theme updates, you must purchase their pro or business plan, and even their top support plan only includes daily backups.
WP Tech Support is still easy to recommend because their plans provide excellent value for money.
Website backups, WordPress updates, security scans, and hack clean-ups are all services provided by Newt Labs, a WordPress support firm.
Newt Labs, based in Cambridge, UK, works with a number of well-known firms and customers all around the world. Customers outside of Europe may wish to seek a different provider due to their support hours, which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. GMT.
Their monthly maintenance and support subscriptions begin at £59 per month. Newt Labs offers one-off emergency solutions for £75 and emergency clean-ups for £175 in addition to monthly WordPress maintenance and support.
All Newt Labs prices are in US dollars and do not include VAT.
The proactive plan from Newt Labs costs £59 per month if paid monthly and £49 per month if paid annually. This subscription provides limitless small website fixes, managed WordPress updates, and daily website backups to the cloud, as well as email and live chat assistance. This package also includes security scanning and hack clean-up.
If paid monthly, the performance plan costs £119 per month, or £99 per month if paid annually. A shared cloud hosting package with 4GB of memory, two core CPU, 80GB SSD, and 4TB of bandwidth is included in this plan.
This package also includes Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, Cloudflare integration, uptime monitoring, website performance optimization, and website staging, among other premium services. This package also includes the WP Smush Pro image optimization WordPress plugin, as well as version control to keep track of modifications.
Newt Labs’ protection plan is the most expensive. It comes with a dedicated cloud hosting package with 2GB of RAM, one core CPU, 50GB of SSD, and 2TB of bandwidth for £239 per month if paid monthly or £199 per month if paid annually. Hourly backups of the website are performed, and a separate backup location is incorporated.
The package also includes Sucuri’s Cloudproxy firewall, as well as the premium WordPress plugins iThemes Security Pro and WP Migrate DB Pro. Customers’ assistance requests are likewise tagged as high priority.
Newt Labs clearly considered client needs when creating their support plans, as they’re well-suited for key WordPress jobs and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Their entry-level maintenance and support plan includes everything you’d expect from a maintenance and support plan, but their more expensive plans include hosting and a slew of other premium features.
I urge that you take a look at their website.
There just isn’t enough time to discuss every WordPress support service, but I’d like to give three more firms an honourable mention.
WP Site Plan is a WordPress support firm situated in the United States, with plans starting at $29 per month. Daily off-site website backups, uptime monitoring, security scans, and WordPress core, theme, and plugin upgrades are all included in their entry-level service.
WordXPress is another option to consider. The company is situated in Idaho, but has employees in the Philippines that assist them in providing 24/7 service.
WordPress support, website backups, malware scanning, database optimization, and iThemes Security Pro integration for security are all included in their support plans, which start at $79 per month.
FixRunner is my final recommendation.
Their entry-level package is $59 per month and is available in Israel, the United States, and Serbia. WordPress updates, 90 minutes of assistance each month, speed optimization, website backups, and security scanning are all included in this package.
Because the WordPress support business is so competitive, I recommend that you shop around and chat with several firms about your needs.
When choosing a WordPress service, there are a few things to think about:
- Do you require a company to handle WordPress updates, security scanning, and uptime monitoring, or do you prefer to manage these activities yourself?
- Support: How vital is it for you to have support? Do you require frequent assistance from expert WordPress developers, or do you only require assistance when your website encounters a severe mistake or hack?
- Is it crucial to you that the support firm is based in your area?
- Level of Assistance: Do you get unlimited help, or are you limited to a set number of hours of support or a set number of fixes?
- Do you require telephone support, or are you content to receive assistance via email and live chat?
- Help Availability: Do you want to limit support to office hours or do you require assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
- Price: Can your company afford the bundle you require? Are there any less expensive options? Would it be more cost-effective to hire a new employee instead?