This is probably the question I get asked more than any other, and the one I have to answer daily in the form of the quotations we issue. With so many web design agencies out there and various different prices being quoted and floated around I can understand how it can be very confusing for clients.
Essentially designers and web designers are selling their time, because our work is very much labour intensive. But the idea of receiving an itemised bill based on the time a designer spent on your website, is sure to put most customers off. But billing by the hour is the most accurate way of determining the true worth of the work being done, so how does one get around this problem of needing to have fair exchange and not scaring potential customers off?
One way of solving this, and it’s the practice we most commonly try to use, is to do as much research as you can and create a fixed quotation for your client. This puts the risk on the designer of course, but we believe this is where it should be. After all your client knows very little usually about what it takes to deliver the product he needs, and you as the designer should. It’s very important that agencies using this costing method make sure they do their due diligence and specifically mention every feature and functionality in their quote, so as to make sure they do not short change themselves.
But what if the agency or designer makes a mistake? It does happen sometimes that an unforeseen issue comes up and this should be seen as an opportunity rather than an issue for the designer. This is where you can either decide to take the hit and do the extra work and in doing so give exchange in abundance, or use your excellent communication skills to explain to the client why the original costing was incorrect and see if he is willing to fund it.
Exchange in Abundance
Exchange in abundance simply means you give a little more than what is received.
We always try to give exchange in abundance, as we feel that in doing so we will ensure a massive level of customer satisfaction and that this increased flow will flow back to us eventually. In some cases though it is impossible to do this, as the cost to do the additional work might just be too much to absorb. In these cases we have always managed to successfully negotiate with our clients to ensure that both parties are happy and that the project gets delivered in the end.
What is Affordable?
A good way to know whether we are giving our customers affordable quotations, is to estimate the amount of time that would be spent on a project, plus any additional hours that could possibly be spent on something unforeseen and then multiply it by our hourly rate. In most instances this value will be way over the fixed quotation we supplied, and is a good indicator that we are keeping to our motto of giving exchange in abundance. Obviously we cannot price ourselves so low that it ends up not being worth our efforts.
Low Prices Sometimes Means Low Quality
Clients should try to keep quality of work and service in mind when comparing prices. Alarmingly cheap prices should be just that – alarming to customers, as this could mean that the quality and commitment might just not be the level that they would want.
So as you can gather by now, the work of estimating costs for design and development can be quite the task for a designer or agency, but the single most important factor will be transparency and communication. As a client you should always make sure you ask enough questions and designers and agencies will do well to answer them as best they can to ensure that a strong and long lasting working relationship, built on trust and good communication is the result, regardless of the price of the project.