When shopping around for a company to build you a new website, it can be difficult to determine how much the build should actually cost. Many people have an idea of what they want their site to look like, they may even have a layout and design specifications, while others don’t know where to begin and are acting under the principle, “I’ll know it when I see it.” But almost everyone has a certain budget they’re willing to allocate towards the project. The problem is, most people’s budget is 2-3 times smaller than their desires or expectations. In other words, they describe a website that will cost 2-3 times more than the budget they’re offering. This puts SGD and other web design companies in a difficult spot when clients ask us for an estimate based on a description of what they want done.
That’s why we first ask our clients what they’re looking for and what they’re willing to pay. We then estimate the number of hours we’ll have to work building the site and compare that price to the client’s budget. We can adjust the cost to fit the budget, but we must still make a profit on the project or it’s not worthwhile. There may also be future costs in addition to the estimate. Sometimes we’re just not able to stay within the client’s budget. It comes down to the client’s decision whether or not to pay more to have everything they want. And they will decide based on how we present ourselves.
For instance, it may be tempting to turn to a freelance developer, as these are cheaper and faster and you’ll only have to deal with one person. However, it’s risky to hire a freelancer, whose credentials must be vetted and who can vanish at any moment if something better comes along. We know from firsthand experience that there are a lot of pretenders out there who will claim to have several years of experience, rattle off a list of generic skills and show you a portfolio of template-based WordPress sites. If you’re not careful, you can end up paying them for many hours of “work” but few results. On the other hand, you may find a superb developer who one day disappears without a word.
With SGD and similar agencies, you don’t have to worry about this. We do charge more than freelancers, but we will never leave you out in the cold. You’ll have a dedicated project manager a phone call or email away, a knowledgeable support team, at least one professional web developer to engineer your site’s functionality and at least one professional designer to beautify your site. Some agencies, such as SGD, never build websites from pre-built WordPress themes, but always create custom themes, coding them from the ground up to suit the client’s brand. You’ll usually have a long-term relationship with an agency, involving hosting support, site maintenance and updates and marketing benefits. Since agencies are businesses themselves, they understand the business needs of their clients.
The bottom line: your new site will probably cost more than you think and it’s not because you’re getting ripped off. It’s simply the nature of the complex, evolving thing we call web design.