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the dirty on your web budget

by Matt Adams

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The number one concern in any organizations quest for a new website is the cost. Everyone generally wants the best work for the cheapest price. I would say we see 4 out of 5 clients base most of their decision on the price. Sure some things like features, quality, and experience come into play. It just seems price always outweighs the others for many clients new to professional web design.

I wanted to take a chance to openly discuss how we come up with our prices.

Good web design costs good money. There is no way around it. Just the other day we picked up a new client, who thought our first proposal was too high, and went with a friend of a friend for a fraction of the price. You know this person, its your mom’s-co-worker’s-son’s-friend’s-cousin. They always swear that they can do $3000 worth of web work, for $500 and a smoothie. Here is the issue we hear time and time again, they get started, the project gets rough, and they walk away.

Here are the things that we take into account when we bid on a project.

The base:

We all start somewhere. We know roughly from our initial meetings how many hours are needed for planning, design, code, set up, and so on. We use this base for an hourly rate. We rarely ever share this rate, or the hours planned with you. The way we see it, this is our business, and we feel that if we disclose this info, it will usually be seen as a negative.

We are quick and we are pretty efficient. If we showed you the hours, you’d want a discount, or if we showed the rate, you’d flip out too. We are not over priced, but so many potential clients want to see rates between $50 and $75 per hour. Anyone who charges those rates, is often slow,  or overbid the hours to make up for it. We keep things honest. So we may charge more per hour, but we need a lot less hours than your friend’s-neighbor’s-uncle.

The meetings and hand holding:

We know that this is often a new experience for many organizations. Since the last site is often built by a volunteer, CEO, receptionist, or janitor; this is a big scary step. We always plan a few hours to walk you though every step of the way. We don’t set a limit on this time, but do try and account for it, this way you get the attention needed no matter what.

The polish:

Depending on the website size and needs, we often plan time for polish. This is extra time spent on every detail. We will get in and analyze everything. Not all sites need this. Its kind of like the difference between a good carwash, and a full detail. The differences are noticeable when you look close. We always judge the degree of polish needed when we review your needs. Sure we want every site to be the best. We also know not every site has the budget for this stage.

The content:

We would love to insert content for every site. We can make sure that all content is read through, and updated by a copy writer, and then polished up on our end. We will assess your needs for this in the beginning. If you can afford it, its one of the best things for your site, SEO and visitors. Otherwise, we often deliver content ready sites – where you will be able to enter in your own content using a sweet content management system, and our guidance.

The knowledge & experience.

You do pay for this. Its not an extra fee, but built into our other processes. We ask the right questions, and set up good milestones to achieve great work. Our client we told you about in the beginning of this post, who went with the cheap guy, told us that the original developers never asked half the questions we did. And they had tons of headaches because of their lack of planning and experience. We know this because we are now working on that project, cleaning up your uncle’s-dentist’s-sister’s web work.

The moral of our story.

You get what you pay for.

You will rarely find a car that claims it’s ‘just like a BMW’ and has all the same qualities. Usually it has some small features, details on paper that make it ‘just like a BMW’, but at the end of the day, its not. And a test drive of both will prove that.

So go, test drive. Ask to see live portfolio work. If the portfolio stinks, its probably the combo of a bad developer and client trying to make something work for cheap. Ask for references. Since most of our clients come to us from word of mouth, they already know about another clients experience, but we still openly share references with anyone who asks.

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