Posts Tagged: Brass Tacks

Getting Paid for your Late Nights

I came across a very nice new site today from a new WordPress development shop, The WP Co. They seem to do custom WordPress design, PSD > WordPress, and plugin development. But that’s not what’s interesting about their site. What’s interesting is their Request a Quote page.

While I was admiring the handy JavaScript work, Matthew was actually reading the content:

They’re more concerned with explaining what they’re getting paid to do….not just giving a long reem of past work

Which all seems simple and sensible enough. What he (and I) love about their quote page is that they spell out what’s involved in creating a website for a client. As designers and developers, we almost never actually spell out what’s involved with taking a pile of a client’s ideas and putting them, lovingly and carefully, on the web. If you’ve done it before, you’ll know that it’s a lot work.

Going from a client’s ideas and concepts and wishlists to a working design, to working code, complete with JavaScript enhancements, image galleries and sliders, mailing lists, eCommerce capabilities, is a huge pile of work! WP Co. did a great thing here by actually spelling out these things individually. Designing a mockup takes time. Writing the HTML and CSS behind the design takes time. Revising the design and the code takes time. Making the site work in IE6, 7, 8, and 9 all take time—and lots of it. Teaching the clients how to actually use WordPress takes time.

There’s always this strong reluctance when we give people cost estimates. Maybe we feel like we’re not good enough to command a high price tag, or maybe we feel like if we quote too high then the client will go to someone else for cheaper. I certainly feel the latter all the time, and its really because clients generally have a poor understanding what’s involved in developing a site—through no one’s fault but our own.

Obviously we need to be more open and direct about exactly what’s involved in developing a website. We need to spell things out better instead of just wrapping the whole thing up into a magic dollar figure at the bottom of a quote.

Postscript: I intend to write more about this soon, but having your code on Github is a great help. By looking at a project’s commit history, a client can see exactly where their money is going. A project with 100+ commits over 2-3 months, for example, is not a small project and hence not well represented by a small, conservative quote.