It’s the reaction web professionals often get from clients. While it is understandable that a client wants to get cheaper services, they may not necessarily be of good quality.
For example, the post on WPNYC website shows the lack of a client’s understanding about real value of an experienced professional by saying: “Our WP site has crashed and network server guy is MIA. We need a WordPress and network server person to give us about 5 to 10 hours of their time to solve some issues. Unfortunately, we are no willing to pay 150 hr which prorates to 310k per annum. Anyone with the knowledge base and willing to help please feel free to contact me.” To which one commenter replied: “Maybe your server guy went MIA cause someone offered him $150/hr.”
The commenter is right. In order to use quality services, you cannot expect a professional to be cheap – especially if they can solve a complicated problem in a short time. Anyone can do a website, but not as well as professionals do. As they say, practice makes perfect. Also, you cannot expect someone to do more things outside of their specialization. It often happens with web and user experience projects. To have a quality website, you need it to be done by more than one professional – especially for larger projects. You would not hire an electrician to do plumbing work in addition to his primary duties or ask a dentist to do cardiology work to get two types of services for a price of one. As they say – a jack of all trades and a master of none.
Another commenter states that his auto mechanic charges him $85 per hour and plumber charges $95 per hour. If maintenance workers charge that much per hour, you would not expect to pay $15-25 per hour to an experienced web professional. I often see those quotes expected by clients in their ads for services.
When it comes to creating a fully customized WordPress website, for example, you would not expect it to be cheap. As Chris Pearson states in his article, How Much Should a Web Design Cost?: “At this time, blog designs START at $1500. This price is for a blog that has minimal graphical complexity, no customized icons, and no logo production. What you do get at this price is rock-solid, hand-crafted, browser-tested CSS, XHTML, and simple (but striking) graphic design.”
If a client wants their website to be done for a few hundred bucks, they are limited to just having it set up based on a free theme they chose from a WordPress library with some basic customizations by a designer.
There are also other factors to keep in mind when creating a user-friendly website such as user research, content strategy, information architecture, etc. – as explained in my other article, Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover. If a project is large, I may focus on a specific task and collaborating with other professionals instead of doing all tasks by myself.
Another thing to consider is difference between an hourly fee and a flat project fee. It depends on a type of job. For example, when it comes to designing a website, I prefer to charge a flat fee for the project and an hourly fee for any additional work. Or when I do consulting work, I charge hourly. That’s the reason why I ask clients to file a questionnaire to better understand their needs and set up free initial consultation with them to discuss their needs in details before determining whether to charge them hourly or a flat fee or using a combination of both.
There’s a saying: “You get what you pay for.” In order to have a user-friendly website, it would be a better investment to hire an experienced professional (or more for larger projects), not an amateur, and do not compare their fees to those of your nephew, for example. Self-respecting professionals would not charge their service rates low.