A website is not a bottle of wine, it usually doesn’t age well.
Since I first started freelancing I’ve always been asked for a price list.
Yes, I do quote the work beforehand and I wait for the client approval, but no, you won’t find a price list on this website.
I never really had one. Or at least I have never published one.
Because a general request gets a general answer and that general answer means a general (read vague) price, usually between £x and £xxxx.
Even when clients know what they want, they rarely know what they need, or what it needs to be done in order to get them what they need.
Most asked question: ‘How much does a website cost?’
Most answered reply: ‘It depends.’
Round of applause!
I doubt we will ever get over these two lines.
It’s like asking about the weather trying to start a conversation. Talking about the weather is not the actual conversation, you know? You are breaking the ice, touching base, tasting the waters.
Designer/Developer: ‘What is your idea of a website?’
(Potential) Client: ‘I don’t know…’
The I don’t know bit opens the gate unleashing an increadible amount of ideas. Some will be good, some… well, not so much.
It often starts with a shy I want something simple, but few sentences in and it has already become a giant monster, king of all websites, ruling the internet world.
I am exaggertaing, yes, but you get the idea.
The whole process of discovering your client’s needs and how to achieve them via the web will be very much part of the quote you are going to write, you are working already.
There is no such thing as a perfect quick quote, especially for a flexible product like a website and I find it very hard to set a fixed price blindfolded. I want to know what I will be doing and I want my client to know what to expect.
Of course there are exceptions: a sign up form will take more or less the same amount of hours to be developed, a WordPress installation has a standard process (hosting nightmares excluded), a dropdown menu is easily quantifiable, can’t say the same about a homepage!
We all know how important efficiency is, time is money, my time, my money, right? The less I will spend writing a quote the more time I will have to actually do the work.
But a more detailed and dedicated quote will save you a lot of discussions and email exchanges with the client, hence it will save you a lot of time, plus the client will know what you are doing and why.
Experience helps you through the process, it becomes easier to quantify your time and anticipate issues that could make you slow down, it’s a learning process, but other than the vague idea of what everyone needs from the web (visibility), I feel that if I had a fixed price I would be cheapening the product depriving it from the personal touch that every work has attached, it’s a piece of my creativity that lives with them.
In conclusion, I don’t feel like writing a price list, it won’t make me save enough time to justify it and it won’t make me earn more money.
Few standard references are enough, the rest is always too attached to the project to be encapsulated in a standard category.
Is there still someone who thinks of websites in terms of number of pages? I don’t and I won’t. Shoot me.