A common question, also known as ‘how long is a piece of string?’ Several times every week I receive enquiries from prospective customers simply asking what my prices are. No specification, feature requests or style influences from their side, just one simple question for me to go on. This article should shed some light on the factors that influence the all-important quotation.
The website requirements
What will the website do?
Is this a one-page, ‘business card’ style website, or is it a vast, multi-user, database-driven website? The former is obviously a web designer’s bread and butter and is achievable for a very modest fee; the latter falls more into the realm of development so will be subject to a four-figure fee at the very least.
As a general rule, anything that requires interaction from the user is expensive. (That includes e-commerce, scheduling and booking.) If it’s just a static website serving as an advertisement, the cost is low.
What kind of design does the website require?
All too often I’m reassured that a website ‘only needs something basic’, only to be directed to a model website constructed entirely in Flash. Some examples of websites in a similar field, plus general websites whose design and layout is considered a good model, are good barometers of what the client requires. The difference between a basic design and a complex design is can run into the hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds.
Once the website is in place, what happens next?
Nine times out of ten, the client has not considered this eventuality. Who will update the website when items need to be changed? If only text-based updates will need to be made, it is prudent to invest a little more money in a content-management system for the website. Using such a system, the client gets an online admin panel to add/edit/delete content from their website, without having to contract a web designer (at a web designer’s hourly rate!) every time. Adding a content management system to a quote is usually a surplus of a few hundred pounds, but it’s sure to pay for itself in the long run as the designer is written out of the maintenance equation.
Does the client have a domain name already? Is it a good domain name like www.theirbusinessname.com or is it something less palatable like www.lots-of-needless-hyphens.biz? If the latter, suggest a better alternative along with a list reliable domain registrars.
Is the domain name parked, or does the client have an actual hosting account? If so, will the hosting provided be sufficient for their website needs?
No two websites are the same, so I don’t employ a one-size-fits-all approach to my pricing strategy. Most clients pick me because my pricing is different – that is to say I’ve carefully considered their requirements to determine the fairest quotation.