January 23, 2006

Sticker Shock

First of all my I need to apologize for the link that I posted to Google’s Site Maps feature. I have corrected the link to the correct site now, so be sure to check that out.

Now onto the post for today…

A few days ago I was speaking to a client about a basic corporate website. The client had been researching many options online, including freelancers, template systems, and several other options that can seem extremely cheap and financially feasible. Our conversation progressed to the inevitable “How much does it cost” part the sales call when I threw out our ballpark number. Until that point he had been getting quotes up to ninety percent less then what we quoted. What do you say to this customer that you have just about knocked uncurious with the sticker shock of a custom designed website? Lets get into that very subject.

The thing you need to understand is that you just quoted them something that might cost them two, three, maybe even four or more times what they have been looking at prior to calling you. You must explain to them my the money is well spent, and what they are going to get with your business and not with the template system, or one of the million of freelancers that will do the project for next to nothing.

  • Live people. A warm fuzzy for many business owners, they don’t have to wait on hold, they can always get a hold of you when they want. Template sites will not give you this luxury, and who knows if your freelancer will stay where they are at or even in the business for more then a few months.
  • The comfort in knowing you are getting something that fits your business and not having your business shoved into a pre-built container. I like to use the analogy of building a house when talking about the web development process. With that analogy in mind, you wouldn’t build a house by first buying all your materials, then trying to build the house with someone else’s floor plan. Instead you would create your floor plan first, then build using the floor plan (site map).
  • I made short mention of this before. Freelancers are a dime a dozen. There are a number of great ones out there don’t get me wrong. The majority of them are young designers looking to make a buck any way they can. “What’s wrong with that?” I am sure you are asking. The problem with young designers is they lack the experience in knowing what a good business Web site should contain. Their youngness might lead them to take advantage of their clients not knowing about the Web and how it works and what they are actually paying for. Even once the project is complete and the client is happy, what happens when the client wants to add or revamp the site and the freelancer won’t answer emails, phone calls, etc? This is not a great option. Again there are exceptions, there are some great freelancers, you just need to do your homework.
  • Lastly you will have a design that no one else has. Your design will be though of and carefully constructed by a schooled and experienced professional in the industry. With a template system there is no telling how many people have the same design with a few minor tweaks. Same goes for a freelancer. You may not have any idea if he is pushing a template at you that he has used on ten other clients just like you. With a Web design company you should be able to see their work via their website or marketing materials.

These things although they might not sell the client on you, might create a little bit of doubt in the freelance or template systems that just might push them towards you rather then the others. Its seems a little cut-throat I know, but that’s business. Showing the consumer why you are better then your competition. Good luck!

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