You get what you pay for

I’m not sure why, but lately I seem to have come across more than the usual number of articles explaining designers rates for different types of projects. These articles are actually helpful in the relationship between designer and client. The gap between what the client expects from a design project and what the designer expects can be huge. Add to that the misunderstanding over what they are really paying for and you get the reason why many projects never even get started. Having someone explain what you are paying for is always helpful.

I think that the great number of “do it yourself” web design applications, like Frontpage or a web based design site make the job seem much easier than it really is. A lot of people think that they can sit down for an hour and create a web site that will do just as much as one created by a professional. Sadly, this is a very common and very wrong idea. When you or your neighbors daughter or the owners next-door neighbors aunt fires up an application and uses a template to spit out a site in less than an hour…then, yes, you have a website. But what will that website do for you? How much time will you lose waiting for the site to be productive? Will it ever be productive? These are just some minor questions. There are a million more things that could be asked but I think you might get the point with these few.

When you hire a professional to design something for you, you are not paying for just a few hours of their time. You are paying for their knowledge, experience, talent, and insight. You are paying them for their time so you don’t waste yours. You are paying for their connections with printers, traffic providers, advertising, etc. You are getting so much more than can be included on a bill.

I take my van to the same person every time it’s due for service. I trust this person. I also trust that he can keep my van running oh so much better than myself, if I were to be the one to service it. Is it that he has the computers to do the diagnotics on it? Ok, that helps. But that’s not it. It’s more this…If I make an appointment because the van is making an odd noise, he can usually “see” the problem just by my description over the phone. He knows what to look for right away and doesn’t waste his or my time. He’s usually right. If I take my van to some place that has someone who isn’t as good or is new to the world of mechanics, I’m going to end up paying for many extra hours that they spent hunting for the problem and most likely also end up going somewhere else or needing more service later to fix what they didn’t quite get right. I’d rather pay for 3 hours of quality work time at a higher rate and be confident that what they fixed is really fixed. It should be the same with anything really, because no matter what service or product you are buying, you get what you pay for. If you want a $199 website then you’ll get a $199 website. You’ll most likely end up abandoning it and have wasted the money or you will have to buy “extras” to make the site actually perform like you originally intended. Or you go find a new designer and start from scratch. I can not even begin to count how many times I’ve been contacted by frantic people who have a site that is unusable just days before a very solid advertised release date.

I think I should write up a more extensive article on this since it does seem to be an issue for a lot of people. They request a quote and then get a shock when they get it. I have baseline prices on my site to try to eliminate that happening, but it’s still common. Common enough that I do think I’ll elaborate right after I get up and running. I’m hoping to get the free blogs section all sorted away today so people can start creating some new blogs. Those are my plans for today. I think I’ll get started on them now…

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