As a freelance Web Developer who prides themselves on creating meaningful and long term relationships with their clients one thing I need when it comes to a client’s budget is transparency.
In order to maintain long-term relationships with my clients I work hard to make sure they trust me to provide honest proposals for projects and reasonable fees for new projects or alterations to existing ones. But to achieve this reputation I need one thing back from you, and that is an upfront budget so I know what to work with.
You see, approaching a web designer or agency such as me is much like wandering into your local bike shop searching for a new bike. No trust me, it is.
If you walk into a bike shop and ask “how much does it cost to buy a bike?” the answer from the salesman will probably be “what kind of bike?”. To which you might reply “well, I’d like a road bike with 22 gears, 28mm wide tyres and disc brakes”
In this example the salesman might turn around and offer you a Cannondale Caad13 worth £1800 or they could show you a Specialized Venge with a carbon frame, aerodynamic handlebars and wheels, electronic gears and probably a power meter worth closer to £10,000.
To avoid this confusion when you go to a bike shop looking for a new bike you probably have a budget in mind, and you will also likely get the best bike you can for your budget because the more you spend the better the bike.
Now to get back to the digital world. This might sound unrelated to web design but the same can very easily happen. People have got used to not disclosing their budget when approaching a design agency or freelancer for fear of letting the agency dictate what they get for their money or hoping they will get a good deal long term which rarely happens. Luckily for you it doesn’t have to be that way.
Beyond this the analogy continues to work because of the number of variables each product has. Just as with a bike where you can customise the spec down to the quality of your tyres or size of cassette websites can be made to measure and meet your exact needs. In both examples the additions to the specification costs you money. There are simpler or more complex ways of reaching each of the end result for both of these examples which is where more differences in cost comes in.
But where a website can differ is the visible or in fact invisible features that improve its performance but at the same time can make it much more expensive to build.
People will happily upgrade the wheels on their bike because it is an easy way to instantly feel faster but much more effective is buying a power meter. The issue here is that trying to persuade someone that a funny looking and heavy box attached to their cranks that spits out the number of watts they are producing will make them faster, but it will. With consistent training the speed gain from a power meter will be much greater than the wheels, but it is harder to feel the difference as it takes place over a much greater time.
If you are buying a website then the backend systems architecture key for longevity, speed and scalability are crucial likewise the front end development technologies all of which will add cost to the build but not be very tangible to the client.
You might well be thinking at this point that if you tell me your whole budget then won’t I just use all of it. And you’d be right, I will.
The reason people come back to me time and time again is that I always try and find the best solution I can for my clients‘ budgets. In web design the more you pay the more time you will get people working on your project. Therefore spending all your budget will get you a product that has had the most time spent on it and will therefore be the best solution to your web needs.
Going back to our bike shop analogy for a second. If you didn’t tell the salesman what you wanted to spend then they could end up spending two hours selling you the Caad13 when actually you really wanted the Specialized Venge. This would be a waste of everybody’s time and is something I really don’t want to do with my client’s.
My advice for any client approaching an agency looking for a new website:
- If you don’t tell me your budget I am going to have no idea what sort of specification you are after.
- If you do share your budget I will always create a detailed proposal of where your money will go. In turn I will be more motivated to deliver you a targeted and focused proposal, an absolutely optimal solution, a smoother running project and an end product that will offer you the best ROI on spend.
- If you approach an agency/freelancer and are concerned they are trying to get as much money out of you as possible with little evidence of where it is going then avoid them and look for an agency with a solid reputation, good testimonials and lots of experience.
- Finally to create a long term, successful and meaningful relationship with your designer look for someone who you can trust, it makes a massive difference.
A good salesman stands nothing to gain from selling you the wrong product. If we go back in the bike shop for a second, it makes little sense for a bike shop to sell you a carbon race bike for commuting as you’ll hit a pothole and crack a wheel rim or have someone steal your handlebars and then they’ll be responsible for either sorting out your warranty or wasting their time fixing your bike when they could be forging a new relationship with someone else.
One thing I should add is that although I have just made it clear I want my clients to have a clear budget when they approach me I am also equally happy to help them assess what their budget should be.
My ‘how to work’ page explains this in more detail but essentially I always start with a chat. I have years of experience which means I am in a good position to help you know what to spend and how sophisticated your website needs to be for your exact needs. Get in touch to find out more, after all I would love to help!