Building a website is a lot like building a house. Cost overruns are common and these lead to angst for the designer, (having to explain extra costs is never fun) and dismay for the client, (because no one ever enjoys paying more than the quoted price).
Are there ways to ensure these cost overruns don’t occur on your web design project? Of course! I have five to offer:
1. Understand the limitations of your budget
The way most designers quote on websites is to get a brief from the client, quote to that brief, watch the client recoil from the price, and then try to meet the client in the middle somewhere. In other words, they will attempt to accommodate a champagne taste on a beer budget. This doesn’t work for anyone.
Not the designer who’s set a high expectation for what they’re able to deliver for a lower price (and then attempts to recoup costs at the end so the make some money on the job). And not the client whose high expectations haven’t been met and are now being asked to pay more.
A better way to get a quote is to be upfront with the designer about your budget before they run the numbers for you. They can then be realistic about what they can deliver to you for that amount.
2. Have a clear brief
‘Oh, you’re the designer – you just do your thing.’
If only I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard those words! As a designer, there are a hundred things I could do that would deliver precisely on any given design brief. But there’s no guarantee the client would like any of the things I did because everyone has quite distinct preferences.
It’s easy for cost overruns to occur in the design phase of a website if several different concepts have to be presented before one is chosen. If you’re able to tell your designer, ‘Hey I like this site because x, y and z,’ and ‘I hate this site because of a, b and c,’ this will give them a much clearer idea of your personal preferences and allow them to deliver a design you love much faster.
3. Keep variations to a minimum
If you’re building a house and you ask your builder to move a window or wall, you expect there’s going to be an extra cost associated with that. Once your website starts building, if you ask for something structural to be moved or changed, this immediately takes the job out of scope and results in extra charges.
This is why it’s always important to:
4. Read the contract carefully
Any professional web designer will present you with a contract that specifies the processes involved in the design and build of the site, and a scope that details exactly what they are producing for you. It’s important to understand that if you ask for something that’s not detailed in the project scope, it’s likely that extra charges will apply. So, read your contract carefully and ensure you clarify anything that doesn’t make sense before signing on the dotted line.
5. Have your content ready before the design phase starts
When the site’s content is provided at the end of a job, it often results in extra pages being added to the site, and can also require re-coding certain pages to accommodate sections, sub-sections and images that weren’t expected. Both these things usually incur extra charges.
When a designer knows exactly what pages a site is going to have and exactly what content is going on those pages, however, they can design with confidence knowing there aren’t going to be any curve balls at the end of job.