Be Upfront About Your Design Budget

Some people base their “Which web designer do I hire?” decision solely on the dollar figure in the estimates they receive when they go web designer shopping. The cheapest one wins. This is truly not the way to make your decision. When shopping for a designer, one needs to have an open mind and consider other options. Cost is not all there is to consider when building a web site. Your web site reflects on your business which in turn reflects on you. Ask yourself: “How do I want a my website, a key element to my success, to portray me and my business?”

Cost vs. Quality

It’s not just the dollar amount but the quality that’s important. I can’t stress enough that there is a major difference between the all to common general public’s “If you build it they will come.” belief and the truth behind building a quality web site. Just about anyone can create a web site, but not just anyone can create a successful web site. By the time your web site goes live, you will more than likely have learned there is much more that goes into developing a web site than you ever imagined!

About the Web Site Budget

True … most folks have no clue how much a web site will cost and it really does depend solely on each individual site. A flat figure doesn’t get you your small web site and the Fortune 500 company across town a large web site for the same price. What you paid for your compact car is far different than what the Fortune 500 company CEO paid for his Mercedes! The important thing is that you provide a realistic figure so you can get a realistic estimate. It’s nothing more than a waste of time for both parties to estimate on a false budget amount or no budget amount. Unless you submit very explicit needs and wishes (including your budget) for your site through my website planner, you will probably be spending a considerable amount of time answering questions in order for me to nail down what you really want or need for your site.

My knowing what your budget amount is can cut down significantly on the time you spend answering questions and the time I spend preparing your estimate. I haven’t had a client yet that has been specific enough that their submission doesn’t require a pretty extensive Q&A session after they submit their website planner. Remember, what you’re getting is an estimate, not a guarantee of total cost and so I try to nail everything down to the best of my ability in an attempt to save the client what could be a pretty nasty surprise when that final bill arrives.

A bit of thought provocation:

Your Thought Process May Include …

Here are a few thoughts you may have about telling a web designer what your budget is:

  • “My budget is to small. I can’t have a web site.”
  • “I’m to embarrassed to say I don’t have a lot of money to spend or I might insult them by giving them a small dollar amount.”
  • If I give an amount, the designer will take advantage of me and spend all my money when maybe I could have had it done cheaper if I hadn’t said anything.”
  • “I’m just shopping around.”
  • “Isn’t it your job to just tell me how much my website will cost?”
  • “It’s none of your business how much I want to spend, just give me a price.”

But Reality Goes More Like This …

“Don’t be so quick to judge!”

If your immediate budget doesn’t allow for all the bells and whistles you want, there are always alternatives that make for a very nice web site. I can also help you to constructively scale your site down a bit until you have the funds to add the fancier features. Alternatives are not the same as skimping! Don’t be so negative! Remember the little train? “I think I can, I think I can!” Your interpretation of a small budget may not be the same as mine. Because of the way I estimate your cost, I’m often able to “package” all or portions of your Wish List which in most cases means I can combine site needs and features. The end result? You save money!

I don’t automatically charge what the client gives as a budget amount. This would not only be unfair to you, but I could very likely cheat myself out of full payment for my services. Why would I want to do that? Telling a client that I can do their website for what they tell me they can spend is like developing a website for a fixed amount. I learned many years ago that this is not the best option and that working at an hourly rate is much more fair to both parties. Do you really want to pay a flat fee for your website if I’ve actually been able to do it for a lesser cost but charge you the full amount anyway?

Even with a website planner and a client who seems to know exactly what they want, there is no telling what may happen during development. Seasoned web designers have experienced many a site where the client changes their mind about this or that, decides they want something additional, new technology or researching scripts may turn up a less costly way for me to provide one or more of the items on your wish list or any number of other things may happen to increase or decrease the final total.

Yes, its a web designer’s job to give you an approximate cost. However, without telling me what you want and providing a budget to work from – you’re making me guess. In order to do the best estimating job I can for you, knowing where you’re at with your budget allows me to prioritize your list of needs and wants. In order to do this to the best of my ability, I need to view the entire picture because if necessary – alternatives can make the difference as to whether or not I can develop your site or not. Believe me, preparing website proposals is not a fun job but my goal is to do the best I can for you within or as close to your limitations as I can. Tying my hands renders me helpless.

If the designers you contact ask you for your budget it’s in your best interest to give it to them. Why? Because you’ll get a good chance to see which ones will be best able to help you within your means. Just randomly getting estimates will not give you the best picture. You could have one designer who estimates on the high end, another on the low end and then there are those who will fall somewhere in the middle. By giving them a starting point you’ll be able to see which ones are more flexible with giving you other options, those that are willing to and best able work with you. Remember, a web designer should not be hired based on cost alone. There are many other things to consider.

Why Do I Ask Your Budget Amount?

Simple … because it helps me to help you and helping you helps me. I really don’t care how much you make, what you pay in taxes, what you spend on entertainment or anything else regarding your financial status. That’s your business and not mine.

When you go to the jeweler to buy a diamond, an appliance store to buy a new washer and dryer or a car dealer to purchase a car, they normally ask you “What (can you) or (do you want to) spend?” We aren’t mind readers. We try to help you buy the best diamond, the best appliances or the best car for your money. Armed with this simple bit of information,we’re better able to do this for you. It helps make your buying experience more pleasant and saves you time in the process. Knowing what you can spend helps your suppliers point you in the right direction immediately instead of making you dizzy with choices you can’t afford. I don’t know about you, but I like it when a sales person is able to zero in on my needs based on my budget and get me in and out of the store … happy with my purchase.

The Bottom Line

Knowing ahead of time of what you are comfortable spending speeds the entire development process. Having a starting point is soooo very important! It can take a substantial number of hours to put together an estimate. If I’m estimating a site for which the client has given an inaccurate budget amount or no budget amount, you’re not doing either of us any favors. The end result is that I’ve spent quite a bit of time putting your estimate together and you receive an estimate that does you no good whatsoever. What was the point in going through the process? Being up front with your budget amount nets you the best results and I’ll work with you every step of the way to get you a web site you’ll be proud to call your own!