Website Costs and Pricing
How much does a website cost?
It’s like asking how much does a house cost? What kind of house? What do you want in your house? Big house with many rooms, granite counter-tops, interlocked driveway? Structurally sound? Same kind of questions apply when you look for website cost. Hopefully, you are not just price shopping! Looking for low-cost with no regards to quality will cost you lot more soon enough. A website could make your business or break it, you cannot take it so lightly. Lets simply not go for those $99 website signage you may have seen on some lamp-posts around McDonalds drive-thru. Let your website generate sales and leads for you instead.
Now, everybody wants 3 things: Highest Quality > Best Service > Lowest Investment! Since that’s an impossible combo, you will need to decide which of the 3 things you are willing to sacrifice: Highest Quality? Best Service? or the Lowest Investment? If you are willing to sacrifice the highest quality or the best service, you have come to the wrong place. However, if you can sacrifice lowest investment for a more reasonable, cost-effective investment, we can certainly help. Please remember websites are NOT expenses; they are long-term investments. If done right, websites will return 10 folds the investment you put in it. If you need more info on cost please read below to see how website costs are calculated.
Hourly Rate or Fixed/Flat Rate?
As we often embark on large projects difficult to put a fixed price on, we mostly work at hourly rates. For our clients with basic website requirements, we can start with a base price. Hourly rates are typically better if you want real quality work done, but a fixed price may give you a bit more peace of mind. We can give you a base price for static websites, standard e-commerce, or CMS-driven dynamic sites. We start by estimating how many hours it would take us to build a basic HTML/CSS site multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate and then put a cap on that amount; many years of experience allow us to estimate costs more accurately. Now, a price that is fair for us might be well over budget or way under-priced for you. It is helpful for us to know your budget for a project ahead of time. This way we can base our strategy on your specific needs and budget.
When Does Fixed Rate Turn Into Hourly Rate?
Flat or fixed-rate billing is very straightforward. Once upon a time, web design used to be a rate based on a per-page basis. Today, most websites are dynamic so gives you option to create your own pages once we have completed development. A dynamic website, such as e-commerce or CMS, price depends on minimum features common for all such software. Most customers like flat-rate billing because they believe there won’t be any hidden fees – they will get exactly what they asked for. But, some clients have more specific requirements than others. This could result in us spending more time on-site that is not included in a fixed rate. In these circumstances, we will request additional changes (more than feasible changes allowed by contract) be paid at an hourly rate. Some examples:
Too much content: You might have a flat-rate based on a set number of pages. But what if you want 3Gig of data crammed into 5 pages? Sure, this may not be ideal, but you might still have us to build a 5 page site that should really be 500 pages or more. Even if we define in our contract how many images we will create for your site and how much content is allowed on the site, we could end up with more content than we have allocated resources for. Therefore, we will request all additional work be paid at an hourly rate.
Too many change requests: This is a very common issue, especially with inexpensive design jobs. You may want to have a lot of say in the design process. Perhaps you may even desire daily conferences to discuss progress. If we are building with a flat-rate, all of these conferences become essentially unpaid. We do our best to allow you to request changes in your design. However, if we feel you are going overboard with change requests, we will request all additional work be paid at an hourly rate.
Change in requirements: If you add requirements that are not defined in the scope of the project contract, we will require that you pay for additional work at an hourly rate. This will be brought up to you ahead of of time, so there are no surprises later. We allow for limited and reasonable change requests, and this is built in to the contract or fixed rate.
Does Free Open Source Cost Money?
A common misconception is use of free open source means free or at next to nothing. If we use a free open source software for your project, we do not bill you for the software. However, you cannot be expecting our time for the project to be free of charge as well.
We may very well be adding a lot of custom codes on top of a free open source only to reduce development cost for your website. Not to mention, we ALWAYS custom design your website for you instead of using over-used templates; both custom designs and integration in a software regardless if it is free or paid takes time, and you are only billed for that time.
How Do We Determine Our Hourly Costs?
We run a very tight ship so our hourly rates are also very reasonable. If you run a business you already know what hourly rates include, however, let us still tell you what web design companies consider when deciding on their hourly rates.
- Hardware – usually amortized over number of years
- Software – licensing fees to use various tools necessary for web and software development
- Office furniture – again, amortized over years
- Office supplies
- Office equipment beyond the computer – amortized
- Utilities Hosting and Internet fees
- Office rent/mortgage
- Advertising, marketing, and promotion costs (our cost-effective marketing strategies such as SEO lower such expenses)
- Average salary paid to designer or programmer for specific technology requested
We do business with you, together. Over the years, we have built this company with utmost honesty and integrity. Therefore, we have your needs in mind by doing our best to keep website costs to a minimum. At the end of the day, the costs need to be something that we can both live with, without sacrificing quality of service. More importantly, when we work together, we want to nurture mutual respect and professionalism.