One of the first questions that a client will ask is, how much will it cost? And a lot of clients understand that its difficult to give you a cost without knowing the indepth details of what you want.
It is like asking, how much does it cost to build a house? Well, obviously that depends. Do you want a house with a large balcony? A 1500 sq foot house or a 3000 sq foot house? Do you want a garage? A sauna? Too many questions to simply just give you a price. Same goes with web design/development.
When I started out, many moons ago, one of my very first clients asked how much it would cost. I quoted them a certain amount before we discussed the details of what they wanted. In the end, they got a big website for 5-6x less then the normal website cost of a site that big. It had a lot of webpages to it and required a lot of time. At the end of the project I was probably working for minimum wage.
But, I stuck to my guns and did what I promise everyone, not to change my quote. Of course, this time I could have but it was my mistake for not getting the details.
Therefore, since then I always ask for the details of what they'd like. I don't get down to the nitty gritty of what text they want on the site but basic things such as determining if they want an e-commerce system or a blogging system. Do they want a site administration system so they can control their site (which is a big plus).
Of course, any new systems the client wants adds onto the quote. A lot of people may look at adding onto the quote a bad thing. But if it gives you more control and allows you to save more money in the long run, it is definitely worth it.
Kind of like a cold air intake for a car. The cost of a cold air intake system would be $200-$300. However that same system will help you gain 4-5 mpg. Over the course of the summer you will immediately gain that $200-$300 back in fuel savings.
A website is the same thing. Do you have us build a product management system that allows you to add/modify/delete products as you wish? Or do you pay us every time you want a change done? While we do charge per changes to some clients, most want access to be able to do it themselves. This also cuts out the lengthy "website maintenance" contracts. Why bother paying for someone to do something simple for you when you can very easily and quickly do it yourself? Sure I understand when it involves a super busy understaffed company. But for most companies, they can find someone on staff to do it themselves.
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