The case for transparent web design prices

Published on: Updated: March 26, 2018

Last week we launched an online web design quote calculator. This allows people to get an instant price for a new WordPress website, without having to contact us. In this post, I’ll talk about what led to our decision to do this, and some issues around web design prices in general.

The case against transparent web design prices

Since Barn2 Media was launched, we’ve been looking for ways to make our web design prices as transparent as possible. But this level of transparency is sometimes frowned upon in the web design world.

Very few agencies publish their web design costs online, forcing people to contact them for a quote. In some ways this works as a marketing strategy. By insisting that potential clients contact you directly, you can make sure you impress them before they find out whether they can afford your services. This can make them more likely to go ahead with the project – even if your web design prices are higher than they expected. However, this approach has a downside for both parties:

  • It’s not fair to get potential clients excited about a website they may not be able to afford
  • It’s pointless for the web designer to spend time speaking with clients who can’t afford their web design prices

With so many web design agencies around, it’s not easy for clients to choose which ones to contact. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending time getting several quotes, only to find that you can’t afford them and having to start again.

For the vast majority of clients who have limited budgets, I think it’s impossible to make an informed decision without seeing an agency’s prices first.

How can you give web design prices online when all websites are different?

Another reason that so few web designers publish their prices is that it’s not exactly easy! Web design prices are complicated and every website is different. How can you create a one-size-fits-all approach that meets such diverse needs?

When we first started out, we published a selection of web design packages on our website. We soon realised that no one was actually ordering our packages – instead, people were contacting us to request individual web design prices and quotes. It simply wasn’t possible to offer generic web design packages as everyone’s requirements are different. However, I still believe that web design prices can be broken down in a way that allows them to be published online.

Whenever we do a web design quote, we have to calculate how much work it will be. We do this by considering each element of the website in turn – the number of pages, the features required, etc. So we thought, “Why not put costs against each of these things and create a web design price calculator!” Publishing this online would allow potential clients to get an individualised quote without the pressure of contacting us direct. It would also save us time in (a) speaking with clients who can’t afford our services, and (b) producing individual web design quotes.

What about people with more unusual requirements?

The web design price calculator is intended for fairly straightforward websites. A personalised quote would still be needed for more complex projects.

At the very least, the website quote form can be used as a starting point to give people an idea of our web design prices. This will reassure them that they can afford our services, showing that it’s worth contacting us for an individual quote.

Won’t people just go with a cheaper web design price?

We don’t aim to be the cheapest web designers around. But we do aim to provide high quality websites for reasonable prices.

Content managed websites such as WordPress are inevitably more expensive than basic static sites. But it’s worth the extra investment in the long run because you’ll have full control over updating the website. Unlike a static site, a WordPress website will grow with your business.

By publishing our web design prices online, there is a risk that people will only look at the bottom line and go elsewhere. I hope it won’t work this way and that the overall quality of our website and portfolio will show what good value we are. It will be interesting to see what happens…

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