Why are quotes for web design so varied?

Right, so you’ve decided you need a website. And now you’ve asked around for pricing. And you’re confused, because one company quoted you R3,000, and another quoted you R13,000. What to do?! Is the one trying to pull a fast one? Or is the other going to disappoint you? Why are their quotes for web design so varied?

We deal with this question quite often. The truth is, there is no golden rule, only a few important questions to ask the service providers.

The first, and perhaps most important question is “How long have they been in business?”. More established companies tend to be a bit more pricey, but they are less likely to disappoint. There are of course exceptions to every rule, but in this industry there is simply no substitute for experience. If they have “been there and done that”, chances are they won’t have to scramble to slap together a solution which even they have never tried before. Most new entrants into the market don’t last a year, so if they have been going for at least three or four years full-time they should have more than 100 standard websites under their belts, and the experience to quote accurately on your solution.

Secondly, make sure you compare apples with apples. It is not often that two companies will quote on the exact same items given the same broad specifications and requirements. Some will add hosting, search engine optimization, social media integration and suchlike to inflate the quote, while others will quote only on exactly what you ask for. Since each of these extras fall into the how-long-is-a-piece-of-string category, they can have a massive impact on the bottom line.

Thirdly, find out how big is the company. Although bigger companies tend to be more stable, they also have massive overheads and tend to have a lot of dead weight to carry. This means that by their very nature they have to charge more, albeit with a more effective sales force. Smaller companies tend to be more home-based, which means less overheads and a more personal experience. A good rule of thumb here is to rather deal with a company of similar size to your own business.

A last question is to ask whether you are dealing with a company whose sole focus is web design, or who does it simply as a supplementary service to another core aspect of their business. For example, you might be dealing with primarily a graphic design house or computer shop who also does websites because many of their customers demand it. Some of these companies will simply outsource your project, meaning you pay more because they mark up another company’s product. And beware of the part-timer, cousin, nephew and friend-of-a-friend who work a full-time job and does web design on the side! Around 60% of our clients have been burnt by this segment of the market before deciding to get professional help, mostly because the job takes months instead of days or weeks. And in most instances the job never gets done at all, simply because the provider is not skilled enough to deliver on all the requirements.

If you have asked all these questions and are still unsure of which quote to accept, why don’t you give Integriweb Pretoria East a call or drop us an email for some advice? We would be happy to help you make sense of the jargon.

About the author: Chris van der Walt is a Pretoria-based SEO consultant with more than 10 years hands-on experience in the field. Chris is sole proprietor at Integriweb Pretoria East.