If you are a web designer – or indeed if you run any type of business yourself you will know that one of your most precious assets is time. If someone asks you to give them a quote this will take time and if you move on to issuing a detailed proposal for the project the time cost can become considerable – especially when you are never going to win every piece of business that you quote for!
Even if you are self-employed you need to understand and bill for your time costs wherever you can. Of course you need to give your clients value for money and make sure your pricing is competitive but you also need to make a profit! Your biggest cost as a designer or web developer is time. So what is a realistic charge:
What are your competitors charging?
You are highly unlikely to know who you are up against for every job you quote for but you can find out what other local designers / web companies are charging as an hourly rate. If your prices are significantly higher than competitors offering the same quality of work you will probably not get the business. On the other hand, if you are significantly cheaper than your competitors clients may not believe you can deliver the quality that they are looking for, so again you will be unlikely to win the deal,
Finding out what others are charging will give you a good indicator of where your own pricing needs to be.
Get some ball-park figures from other designers in your area so that you have a good point of reference.
Who is your target market?
If you are aiming to attract business from a large ‘blue-chip’ corporate business they will obviously have higher budgets (and expectations) than a small local trader. If your target market is small to medium sized businesses then you should try and be as flexible as you can when offering payment terms. At WSI IMS we have standard payment terms of 35% with order and signed proposal, 25% on sign-off of graphic design, 25% on production of a fully working development draft with the final payment of 15% immediately prior to the launch of the new site.
If the client needs more flexibility, and your own cash-flow allows it you could offer more flexibility – even monthly payments over a 6, 9 or 12 month period. We have done this for clients that we know and trust – usually new solutions for existing clients or people that are new clients but who have been introduced to us be a trusted source.
However you get paid it is important for your pricing to be at the same level of within 10% of your competitors. You should not aim to be the cheapest nor should you set out to be the most expensive. In our experience clients are not so much focused on pure cost, more value for money and having the confidence that the job will be done well.
Have Price Menus
If you have your pricing structure written down – or even published on your own website you will find that people will more readily accept your price without trying to haggle and also they will know you have not just thought of a number based on what you think their budget might be!
We have three core ranges of website solutions:
- Basic / Brochureware website – typically £1500 – £2,250 depending on functionality etc.
- Intermediate Website – Offering more functionality and interactivity – £1750 – £3500
- Advanced Website e.g. complex databases, e-commerce etc £3,000 – anything depending on specification.
Your proposal should also be very specific about what is included in the specification and each component of the solution should be priced separately – then if the client says that you are too expensive you can say fine – so what bit shall we leave out to reduce the cost?
Finally make sure you spend enough time with the client at the outset to get a good understanding of what exactly they require. Finding out that they want something other than you have quoted for should be avoided at all costs.
If you can get a lot of information upfront, you’ll have a better idea of what time you need to allocate to the project and be better able to quote correctly for the job.
If you would like more information about our website development services please visit WSI IMS – WSI Internet Marketing services in Surrey, Sussex and throughout the UK.