Website Costs and Pricing
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 on some level: 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 the investment you put in it. Now, while our prices are competitive, you will need to contact us for a quote but please make a tentative budget for your website first. Also, 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 cap 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. In web design, there is usually a rate based on a per-page basis. We offer website packages, where we will build a static website with a pre-determined number of pages for a specific price, while a dynamic website, such as e-commerce or CMS, 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?
Our hourly rates are very reasonable for a company that provides the highest quality of services. However, we do not just come up with a random number looking at your budget or business size. We take into consideration all expenses incurred in the business divided by billable yearly hours; after that we aim for 10% profit:
- Hardware – usually amortized over several years
- Software – licensing fees to use various tools necessary for web and software development
- Office furniture – again, amortized over several 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
- Travel expenses
- Time off – either vacation or sick leave
- Management and administration.
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.