I was browsing through some bid requests a few weeks ago and noticed several common threads among postings. Clients want you to work as hard as you can as fast as you can for as cheap as they can get away with. For example, one request asked for TWO sites to be designed and coded and to be powered by CMS backends, but the budget was no more than $450…
I can totally respect budgets, but what about $450 for two complete sites design to code to CMS is fair? That barely covers the cost of the design for both sites, let alone the coding and implementation into a CMS! It certainly isn’t fair to any coder in the USA that would (desperately) take on that job.
A quote from another request:
I’m looking to have this done as inexpensively as possible (duh!)
When will people (ahem, clients) learn that if you want your website to be the best it can you are NOT going to get it for cheap. Good design takes time. Proper coding takes time. Testing takes time. The person you hire will spend hours and hours and hours on these things, for what? A measly $450? Let’s look into it.
Let’s use the job I mentioned above as a reference point – Two complete websites designed and developed for only $450. It’s deadline is 25 days (but the client will more than likely continuously push for an earlier deadline – fast and cheap, right………right?).
Two unique designs created in photoshop (or other graphic design program): 14 hours (estimate 6-8 hours for each BASE design, possibly much more depending on complexity and detail!).
Revisions to mockups: 8+ hours. (4 hours on each mockup, usually more, especially if client requests new design from scratch.)
Initial XHTML/CSS/JS coding: 32 hours ( (8 hours a day + 2 days)*2 )
Testing of initial layout with content: 8 hours (4 hours each)
Client requested revisions: 4 hours+ (Possibly less or more)
Integration with CMS: 16 hours ( (8 hours each)*2 — possibly more depending on the CMS )
CMS Testing/Revisions/Plugin Customization/ETC: 8 hours (4 hours each)
Client requested revisions/ Bug fixes: 6 hours
Time spent corresponding with client: 5-10 hours+ ((usually) more or less depending on the client personality)
Now, let’s add that up: 91 hours
Now, let’s divide that budget of $450 by the the 91 hours it may take to finish…
That roughly totals to a measly $4.95 an hour. That’s $2.20 less than the minimum wage of New York ($7.15 p/h). You’re better off working part time for 3 weeks at McDonald’s! (91 hours x $7.15 = $650.65).
So what’s a “fair price”? In a perfect world freelancers wouldn’t have to fight in bidding wars (against people in foreign countries willing to work for peanuts) to get new clients. We wouldn’t have to lower prices to get business (bills still need to be paid whether or not we are getting paid for what our work is worth).
I’d love to say stick to your guns – don’t settle for something less, when you know you are worth more… but let’s face it you won’t get clients without competitive pricing (at first), but there is no reason to settle for $4.95 an hour.
Just remember when starting out you’re not going to make loads of extra money. You’re not going to get rich quick. You are going to have to work your ass off to gain reputation, build your portfolio and prove that you are worth a client shelling out the “extra cash” to hire you.
To go back to our previous example, what would be the “fair price” for the scope of that project? Personally, I would charge something like $1000 flat for both sites. Although other things would definitely have to be taken into consideration – like how complicated the design and coding is, and what CMS is chosen. Also state specifically that this is only for X amount of hours (say about 50 hours in this case) worked. I may even break it down for each specific task – ex: no more than 8 hours on each graphical mockup, or no more than one revision for each mockup and include an hourly rate to be added on after those hours are exceeded.
What do you think? What is a fair price? What’s a solution to this problem? How can we educate clients that you really do get what you pay for?