You Get What You Pay For

Yesterday I went to meet a new potential client who sells a very high end product (upwards of £70k per item) who also wants to produce a website for each product that is sold, to essentially give the purchaser a turn-key solution from the word go.

My job would obviously be designing the sites that get sold onto the clients.  When the initial enquiry came in we had a chat over the telephone and I asked how much he was currently paying per site, he said “£400”, to which I said that I would be considerably more and would he still like the meeting, he said ‘yes’ so I went and had a face to face chat with him.

Without going into too much detail, as I truly do not believe this is the clients fault, I’m just seeing an increase in this across the board, the client in question was thankfully a web savvy client who knew the difference between a table based and div based website, albeit all of his websites contained tables used in the wrong context but that’s by the by for the moment, he was very easy to chat with regarding the best solution for his site(s). I certainly came up with an excellent solution to his problem that would provide him with an superb selling point to his customers and also considerate of him making a nice profit on each site too, solutions which no other web designer had suggested to him.

Back to the office, write the proposal, send it. Wait.

Wait some more. Phone rings. It was the client calling to let me know I was too expensive and that if I could negotiate down on price..

Somewhere in the region of £400, like we’re currently paying…

He would be able to use me. I should point out here, I have the utmost respect for clients who have the common courtesy to call/email to say “Thank you but we won’t be using you for x,y,z reasons” – as normally, as we all know, a proposal gets sent with out so much as a “Thank you” to be had, let alone a response if you haven’t quoted what they thought you should.

The price point however, is of course an issue. After posting to Twitter I realised there’s a small minority of people “making websites” who just don’t understand pricing on the web, this small group don’t realise how much harm they are causing our industry.

I had quite a few messages sent to me on Twitter, including:

forward this to @**** he would knock out a website for that price.. plus hes good.

and

pass that site to me … i will look on it ..

And I sent back the same response to both, saying they are not understanding my point. If I wanted to I could “knock out” a website for £400, I could “knock out” a website for £10, unless I’m needing to licence something, my only outgoing cost is my time, therefore anyone could do a website for any cost, but there’s a reason we don’t and this is the big black hole many people are just not grasping. What we do isn’t easy folks, we take it for granted because we know it inside out and this is our professions but for many people, turning on a computer is about as far as they go, let alone all the many things we have to do to produce a site – just like any other service industry (solicitors, physiotherapists etc. etc) , we have specialist knowledge of our sector but a small minority are completely undervaluing that knowledge.

It’s all about integrity, integrity for what you do, integrity to the web community. By “knocking out” websites the care and attention to detail ultimately must suffer and in turn, give web designers a bad name as inevitably, the client is going to come into problems later down the line and turn to someone for help, and then expect that person to be super cheap too.

It’s about value for the client, how much is that website worth to them? Not a lot if someone down the road will produce it for £400.

Apple are a great example of brand and price point awareness, the products are high end, they do their jobs spectacularly and the price points are the same across the board, you won’t find Apple stores with differentiating prices and they never have a sale. They have a product they know consumers want so they have no need to drop the pricing substantially – people will still buy.

As web designers, we are holding the largest marketing portal in the palm of our hands and yet people still don’t understand it’s value.

It’s up to the designer/coder if they want to accept £400 for that job.Some people don’t have the luxury of turning down work – a response to my tweet

and

i got your point …i am saying that send that project to me … send that client mail to me …

No one has the luxury of turning down work – even web designers who are busy and booked up obviously still need a stream of enquiries to enable us to carry on into the future.

Put it this way, if the Yellow Pages, (the traditional printed book) 10 years ago said to everyone “You can have a full page colour advert for £10 per year” can you imagine how big the book would be? They didn’t, because this would devalue their product. This is a very basic way of me trying to get across what some web designers are doing to our industry, only it’s worse because it’s starting to filter through to clients who we then have to work with.

Let me go back to a quote from above regarding Apple:

They have a product they know consumers want so they have no need to drop the pricing substantially – people will still buy.

We have a product consumers want, we have the ability to pretty much set the pricing based on the value to the client however, it needs to be done by every single web designer. If the price point was, for arguments sake £1000 + to build a basic site, clients would get to know this and everyone would gradually see budgets increase to make allowances for this, yes including you Mister “I will produce a site for £400”.

There’s so much more to this argument than I can even get into now however, let me just check, you want me to plan, project manage, design, develop, jQuery, cross browser test, validate, seo and respond to the countless emails you are bound to send me, all minutes within you sending them, for £400?

Sorry, but I’d pay £400 to keep my integrity.

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