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ralfy

23 Aug 2007, 1:00 pm

Client querying cost of website

I recently completed work on the following website…

http://www.flexitable.co.uk/index.html

I started work on this at the end of May and in total spent nearly 29 hours designing, testing and tweaking it. I have just invoiced the client at a rate of £30 per hour, which totals £870 + vat.

He has queried this cost, saying it is too expensive.

I would appreciate any comments.

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James Wilkinson

23 Aug 2007, 1:08 pm

Well, it would depend on the contract or agreement you had with the client… or did you? If not, then you’ll probably have to eat some of the cost I’m afraid. If you didn’t provide an estimated number of hours or negotiate a complete project amount, you’re now obligated to negotiate.

Best Regards, James Wilkinson


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On 23-Aug-07, at 9:00 AM, ralfy wrote:

[quote:7ae2bb61c4]I recently completed work on the following website

http://www.flexitable.co.uk/index.html

I started work on this at the end of May and in total spent nearly 29 hours designing, testing and tweaking it. I have just invoiced the client at a rate of £30 per hour, which totals £870 + vat.

He has queried this cost, saying it is too expensive.

I would appreciate any comments.

[/quote:7ae2bb61c4]

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ralfy

23 Aug 2007, 1:21 pm

[quote:02a496815b=”JamesWilkinson”]Well, it would depend on the contract or agreement you had with the client… or did you? If not, then you’ll probably have to eat some of the cost I’m afraid. If you didn’t provide an estimated number of hours or negotiate a complete project amount, you’re now obligated to negotiate.[/quote:02a496815b]

We did not agree a cost at the outset, but I have done plenty of work for this client over the past 5 years on the same basis. He just pays for my time, I don’t quote per project.

I do understand that i may have to negotiate because of this, but what I really want to know is what value other designers would put on the work that has gone into the site. Just trying to get a feeling from others before I negotiate downwards.

Mac Pro 2.8 Dual • MacBook Pro 17” • OSX 10.8 • FW Pro 6

James Wilkinson

23 Aug 2007, 1:45 pm

In the US and Canada - where things are HUGELY competitive (we deal with massive competition from outsourcing to India and the likes) the site in my opinion, probably would have gone for MAYBE and I’m being VERY generous here, 750US or £374. More realistically, between the 300US to 500US or £149 - £249 range. Bottom feeder price, 200US or £100.

If your client is looking outside the UK for pricing options then he’s going to find that it is MUCH cheaper outside the UK for ANY kind of design and development. I’ve found that traditionally, clients in the UK were more apt to use British companies and to not outsource - taking care of their own and all that.

More and more however, the British, like all the rest - are now looking outside the confines of the British Isles to find cheaper pricing. That means that folks in the UK, used to working for "normal" design and development fees, need to get used to a downward trend in your fees and less and less, the ability to set your own fee - in order to compete with new, super-low competition from India, and now, North America, too!

It’s been happening here for nearly 10 years in North America and we’re STILL having our fees driven further down by increased pressure to maximize OTHER people’s profit-margins… Terrible but true. Personally, I’ve seen the amount of work that I am having to do, quadruple - JUST to make what I was making 5-7 years ago - and back then, I could take a 4 week holiday! Not so anymore. I’m LUCKY to get half a day off on the weekend!

Best Regards, James Wilkinson


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On 23-Aug-07, at 9:21 AM, ralfy wrote:

[quote:e4c7b74c54] JamesWilkinson wrote: [quote:e4c7b74c54]Well, it would depend on the contract or agreement you had with the client… or did you? If not, then you’ll probably have to eat some of the cost I’m afraid. If you didn’t provide an estimated number of hours or negotiate a complete project amount, you’re now obligated to negotiate. [/quote:e4c7b74c54]

We did not agree a cost at the outset, but I have done plenty of work for this client over the past 5 years on the same basis. He just pays for my time, I don’t quote per project.

I do understand that i may have to negotiate because of this, but what I really want to know is what value other designers would put on the work that has gone into the site. Just trying to get a feeling from others before I negotiate downwards.

[/quote:e4c7b74c54]

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ColinJA

23 Aug 2007, 2:04 pm

Be careful ‘ralfy’. You’ve every right to hold out a little. It’s the age old problem of a client looking at what he has on screen and forgetting the chops and changes he probably asked for in getting there. For a bespoke web site, your cost in not unreasonable - many web designers would have charged much more.

Admittedly, just looking at the surface result, I would have suggested a cost of around £750 as an estimate for a similar site, plus extra for any original illustration or photography - but then I am a retired part-timer as far as web design goes, so that I can judge by value rather than strict hours. Something I would rarely recommend commercially.

Learn one lesson, though. Even if you agree to work on an hourly basis for smaller jobs, provide a clear estimate of what a larger project, such as a web site, may cost, what you are going to do within that cost and what might cost extra. Just a simple e-mail will alert the client to what’s involved, whether or not you have a formal contract. Then if costs escalate, keep him or her informed at every step.

Another point to bear in mind, should you negotiate, is to do it on a goodwill basis. Never imply that you were too expensive in the first place, or took too long over the job. However, whenever you do charge, be honest and look at any time you spent that you shouldn’t have done - and won’t next time around. It’s better to give a little than loose a good client.

Which only leaves one problem - you client may have seen loads of offers of cheap, template driven web sites. You need to educate his/her understanding that the site is individual and personal and not just a re-coloured copy of something found all over the web.

Good luck - negotiate - but keep it tight.

Colin

ColinJA

23 Aug 2007, 2:20 pm

Referring to James’s comments, that’s also true over in the UK, but not yet to quite the same extent. Larger clients are more likelly to put pressure on costs, but they also get their prices in before they start. You work to a budget and if it costs you more in time or supplies to get the job done - tough!

The world has long had a discount mentality and it can be seen in a general loss of quality (hence all those templates, again) and putting often unrealistic budgets first, before allowing good design to take projects that extra mile. Unfortunately, the workforces and management of the Western world, while not wishing to spend, have been a mite greedy in what they have taken for themselves. I’ve been on both sides in my life and seen the good, the bad and some very ugly!

(Steps down of soapbox).

Colin

Paul Bradforth

23 Aug 2007, 3:02 pm

On 23 Aug 2007, at 14:00, ralfy wrote:

[quote:142afc10ae]I recently completed work on the following website

http://www.flexitable.co.uk/index.html

I started work on this at the end of May and in total spent nearly 29 hours designing, testing and tweaking it. I have just invoiced the client at a rate of £30 per hour, which totals £870 + vat.

He has queried this cost, saying it is too expensive.

I would appreciate any comments. [/quote:142afc10ae] Balderdash. This is a charming not-so-little website and is worth every penny, if not more.

best wishes

Paul Bradforth

http://www.paulbradforth.com

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jeff

23 Aug 2007, 4:48 pm

On 23 Aug 2007, at 16:06, paulbradforth wrote: [quote:722f3f4dff] Balderdash. This is a charming not-so-little website and is worth every penny, if not more. [/quote:722f3f4dff] I’m with Paul. £870 is a very fair price for the UK. (Though it seems there should be a link to "Special Needs" in the horizontal navigation?) The site is flexible and accessible, looks easy to update as necssary, and has 15 or so pages, produced at around a couple of hours per page (I assume including design concepts, roughs, changes, etc.) How long does your client think it takes to produce each page? And £30 per hour is hardly a fat cat wage. I’d give him a detailed breakdown of everything I did, explaining the time and effort that goes into producing a decent site, and remind him how vital this site is as his shop window for the world and his sales driver, and then get him to suggest what he thinks is a fair price, so he really thinks about it. =

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Paul Bradforth

23 Aug 2007, 5:06 pm

On 23 Aug 2007, at 17:52, jeffstewart wrote:

[quote:12e48fec88]I’d give him a detailed breakdown of everything I did, explaining the time and effort that goes into producing a decent site, and remind him how vital this site is as his shop window for the world and his sales driver, and then get him to suggest what he thinks is a fair price, so he really thinks about it. = [/quote:12e48fec88] Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more. This is a nice job of work; how much did he think it would cost?

best wishes

Paul Bradforth

http://www.paulbradforth.com

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RogerG

23 Aug 2007, 5:23 pm

Hi Ralfy

Seems a fare price to me.

If you want to measure your costs against another supplier, you could start here: http://www.webcreationuk.com/websiteoptions3.htm

However, if you want to maintain the relationship I’d normally try and introduce a face saver. It’s another term for compromise and could just be a nominal adjustment of the price, he won’t then loose face, and nor will you.

Hope this helps Kind regards RogerG

[quote:ac90b844ba=”ralfy”]I recently completed work on the following website…

http://www.flexitable.co.uk/index.html

I started work on this at the end of May and in total spent nearly 29 hours designing, testing and tweaking it. I have just invoiced the client at a rate of £30 per hour, which totals £870 + vat.

He has queried this cost, saying it is too expensive.

I would appreciate any comments.[/quote:ac90b844ba]

thatkeith

23 Aug 2007, 6:29 pm

Sometime around 23/8/07 (at 10:04 -0400) ColinJA said:

[quote:5362ecaed2]looking at the surface result, I would have suggested a cost of around £750 as an estimate for a similar site, plus extra for any original illustration or photography [/quote:5362ecaed2] And £750 plus extras for original graphics is certainly within the general area of the £870 (plus VAT) price. This site has a fair amount of work in it, that’s obvious. It uses embedded video and an email order form, it is reasonably well suited to search engine indexing, and it holds up very well to scaling type to different sizes. It looks well suited to the audience - very clear and logical, and easy to understand and navigate.

It would be perfectly possible to recreate this in less time, sure, but that’s the difference between real design and production work and just copying.

Did the client have any involvement during the design process? Did they suggest changes as things were coming together? In short, are they in fact partially complicit in how long the site took to develop?

[quote:5362ecaed2]Another point to bear in mind, should you negotiate, is to do it on a goodwill basis. Never imply that you were too expensive in the first place, or took too long over the job. [/quote:5362ecaed2] This advice is absolutely golden. Never, ever, ever turn around and say "well, perhaps I am charging you too much for what I’ve done"; that way lies your exit for this whole field of work.

Be confident that you are worth your hourly rate (which isn’t all that high anyway), and be sure that you’re charging for hours worked, not for your own experimentation time (unless that’s a necessary part of the job).

Yes, now may be the time to introduce a goodwill gesture. But absolutely not as a backing-down process. See if you can come up with a way to allow the client a bit of a face-saving discount, but make sure it is understood to be a goodwill thing, not a capitulation.

And be ready to insist that the client ceases to use your design if they won’t pay for it. Or at least gently imply that this is the logical and legal conclusion of the situation if a mutual agreement cannot be reached. If the client doesn’t pay the bill they don’t get (to keep) the work.

k

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diarbyrag

23 Aug 2007, 7:05 pm

[quote:1a143fb4e3=”ralfy”] I would appreciate any comments.[/quote:1a143fb4e3]

I’m with the others and I think the price is fair

when i did my first site i realised it was very easy to put too much time into a project

because a/ there were things to learn b/ mistakes to make c/ you did some work and then half way along you found a simpler way to do something so you backtrack

costing is never easy, especially when clients think they know all the costs.

look at digital photography - everybody is an expert now ( apparently )

I bought a program called officetime which I can stop and start as I go along - so if I reach a point where I need to experiment I "stop the clock" and then restart it when I’m back on track. it allows you to keep notes with each session and to actually generate an invoice complete with the notes and what was done. I give this to the client ( after a minor bit of tweaking of course ) and no-one has moaned yet despite having completed two projects which were nearly twice my original guesstimates.

Some clients will complain just for the heck of it just to try and push you into a discount.

I think you should stand your ground and justify all your efforts, but be prepared to give a little bit - otherwise the alternative could be no money and ‘suits’ involved and they are never cheap !

Just my ten pence worth

Gary

” The wrong answers… are the ones you go looking for when the right answer is staring you in the face… “

  • Eeyore

ralfy

23 Aug 2007, 8:21 pm

Thanks for all the positive comments about the design and the value of the website.

jeffstewart - the "Special Needs" navigation item doesn’t have a link yet, it may be added in the future. Thanks for reminding me.

RogerG - thanks for the link to WebCreation. I think that will help justify the cost.

thatkeith - the client was involved throughout the design process and approved things as the site developed.

diarbyrag - I have just downloaded a time management program called MacFreelance that was recently reviewed in MacUser. Now I have to consider Officetime as a possible contender! Confusing.

Some of the site was a learning process, but I made sure that when this happened I didn’t record the extra time I spent.

I have sent the client a partial breakdown and explanation of the time spent. We will probably have a discussion about it next week after the bank holiday. I have a friendly relationship with him, so I am not too worried about being able to sort out a mutually beneficial outcome. I will let you know how I get on.

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diarbyrag

23 Aug 2007, 10:54 pm

[quote:fccfd6fe8d=”ralfy”]Confusing. [/quote:fccfd6fe8d]

Hi Ralfy,

had a quick look at macfreelance and I still think officetime is easier to use.

you set up your rates for various types of work, you can switch projects easily, the invoice template is quite simple but customizable, but it just sits in the menu bar and you press go, stop. pause whatever.

I tried a couple and this was the most straightforward in my opinion.

you can download and try it for freehttp://www.officetime.net/

but you have to choose the one that suits the way you work and we are all different

I’m sure this problem will resolve itself

Gary

” The wrong answers… are the ones you go looking for when the right answer is staring you in the face… “

  • Eeyore

ralfy

24 Aug 2007, 9:04 am

[quote:61417181ff=”diarbyrag”]you can download and try it for freehttp://www.officetime.net/[/quote:61417181ff]

I have downloaded OfficeTime and so far I find it easier to use than MacFreelance. I particularly like the way it integrates with iCal and that I can start, stop and pause multiple projects from the menu bar icon.

Maybe Keith Martin could suggest a review in MacUser. By the way Keith, do MacUser really pay Christopher Brennan £120 per hour for Masterclass and Workshop features? - see the screenshot in the MacFreelance review.

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thatkeith

24 Aug 2007, 9:57 am

Sometime around 24/8/07 (at 05:04 -0400) ralfy said:

[quote:39f03eb2d0]I particularly like the way it integrates with iCal and that I can start, stop and pause multiple projects from the menu bar icon. [/quote:39f03eb2d0] I am liking the sound of this. I’ll give it a whirl and maybe talk it over with the guys back at the MacUser ranch.

[quote:39f03eb2d0]By the way Keith, do MacUser really pay Christopher Brennan £120 per hour for Masterclass and Workshop features? - see the screenshot in the MacFreelance review. [/quote:39f03eb2d0] :-) No, he’s teasing someone with that. He does have a fairly dry and well-developed sense of humor. Of course, I’m sure he’d like to get that much per hour!

k

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diarbyrag

24 Aug 2007, 1:51 pm

[quote:ed94a8b495=”ralfy”]I particularly like the way it integrates with iCal and that I can start, stop and pause multiple projects from the menu bar icon.[/quote:ed94a8b495]

Glad you like it so far Ralfy,

I forgot to mention the ical bit ! btw if you add something to ical using the same job naming system it puts that info back into officetime.

that could mean you could keep track of your time from another mac when out of the office via a .mac account using the sync facility I presume ?

plus several people can work on a project and it calculates the totals, who did what etc.

my favourite bit as regards the invoicing part is that it can invoice a section of a job but then shows the invoiced part as greyed out in the running totals and then does not re-invoice the same thing later. very useful for someone like me who is not as thorough with my office paperwork as I should be.

Yes it would be interesting to hear Keith or a macuser verdict. they may even point out a few things I haven’t yet discovered

Gary

” The wrong answers… are the ones you go looking for when the right answer is staring you in the face… “

  • Eeyore

LauraB

25 Aug 2007, 6:33 pm

I’ve used OfficeTime for close to two years now. I had tried others, but OT is so very, very simple to use. Indeed, if you walk away from your computer andd forget to stop the timer, when you return it’ll ask if you want to keep the idle time or not. It’s a beautifully done program, and enormously functional without having to hurt your brain.

The Big Erns

25 Aug 2007, 6:59 pm

Thank you James for broaching the globalization aspect, and for speaking frankly about your own experiences. Many people think I’m kidding when I say that we have become little more than high-tech day laborers in this country. Unfortunately, we have no enduring memory by which to calibrate our existence.

I’m up for a revolution, if anyone’s got any ideas…

JamesWilkinson wrote: [quote:f86f6baffe]In the US and Canada - where things are HUGELY competitive (we deal with massive competition from outsourcing to India and the likes) …snip… Personally, I’ve seen the amount of work that I am having to do, quadruple - JUST to make what I was making 5-7 years ago - and back then, I could take a 4 week holiday! Not so anymore. I’m LUCKY to get half a day off on the weekend![/quote:f86f6baffe]

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no longer subscribed to this discussion…

madmacstoo

31 Aug 2007, 7:56 pm

Ralfy

The price you’re charging is just about spot-on.

How have you structured your invoice? In situations like yours I send my reluctant-to-pay client chapter and verse on how the project proceeded, including dates, design/construction work done and most importantly, the time taken to make [b:7d2ddd1245]Author’s Corrections[/b:7d2ddd1245]. Invariably, the client comes up with a plethora of "could you justs" and they need to realise that the work done to backtrack and/or work on something they hadn’t told you about before, should be paid for. It also helps to chuck in a bit of information about photography day rates (assuming you did do any photo work) and how hair-curling they are and what a generous cove you’ve been by cutting the costs considerably to accommodate this.

In fact, you may even come to the conclusion that you’ve under-charged, but that’s a bigger can of worms and I’m not going there…