When it comes to web design and development, it seems all typical pricing guidelines are thrown out the window. Website designers are often taken advantage of – I have personally been on several occasions, but you learn from your mistakes. We are in a professional industry, and of course there are going to be designers who offer lower rates, but you get what you pay for. As the video demonstrates below, although a lot of what we do(platform, tools, design, etc.) is similar, there is a significant difference in the final product and service provided.
I offer a “basic web design package” and a “premium web design package” so the client and I know exactly what the design and cost expectations are throughout the process, and there aren’t any surprises when invoicing. I charge flat rates, time always fluctuates into the designer’s favour; but it’s not good business.
A good way to weed out the potential clients who aren’t serious is to ask for a down payment before you start the web design. There are start-up costs(domain, hosting, email and labour), so this isn’t an unreasonable request. If your client’s unwilling to sign a contract and/or give a down payment – I typically do 1/3 before the design, 1/3 when I’m half done, and 1/3 when complete or 1/2 when I start and 1/2 when complete, depending on the length and complexity of the project – they aren’t someone I want to work with. I don’t take on every project that I am presented. This way if the client flakes out on you(a lot of them do) you aren’t left high and dry with a website that you have invested a lot of time and energy into, which you cannot use.
A good analogy would be when you go and eat at a sit down restaurant. Yes, the restaurant will charge more for your meal than if you went to a fast food restaurant. A sit down restaurant offers better service(waiters), variety, personalization, checks up on you, and is there to ensure your overall satisfaction.