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  1. #1
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    Sub Contracting Web Design Services--Any Advice?

    Hello. I am in the process of putting together a website and forum. One of the things I want to do is offer web design services to the traffic I get. I am not a web designer, and I don't want to do this for a living, most definitely. So I figured I could offer web design services, sub-contract out the work, and take 25% - 50% of the fee for myself.

    Any thoughts on this? Does anyone have any experience doing anything like this? If it is workable, what kind of split can I expect for myself?

    Does anyone have any advice for selecting a partner to do the web design work?

    Any input will be appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict jessebhunt's Avatar
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    Sure... there are lots of companies that subcontract some or all of their web design services (my company included.)

    However, you said "I don't want to do this for a living." You need to understand upfront that subbing out your web design work is not an easy way to make a few bucks. There is a significant amount of work that goes into subcontracting web design.

    Here's a VERY simplified version of what you'll need to do:

    1. You'll need to sell the projects (you'll need a fair amount of web design knowledge to be successful at this.) Depending on the scope of your projects, this could range from fairly easy to fairly difficult.

    2. You'll need to maintain constant contact with your client through out the design process. At times, this can be pretty time consuming.

    3. You'll need to oversee the designer to make sure things are being done to spec. They will occasionally make mistakes, or not meet deadlines. You'll need to have a backup plan if something goes wrong.

    4. You'll need to coordinate the various members of the development team (unless you designer is handling this part.) These members include the designer, programmer, copywriter, etc.



    Regarding your "cut" of the profits... This will depend on how much you can sell the projects for and how much your designer charges.

    So, if you manage to sell a project at a significant price, and your designer works for a very reasonable rate, you can probably make more than 50%.

    Likewise, if you sell a project somewhat low, and your designer is more expensive, you will obviously make less.

    I generally make my calculations in terms of how much compensation I need for the amount of work involved (not in percentages of the total bill.) You'll need to decide how much compensation you need for the amount of work that you'll be doing.

    HTH
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  3. #3
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Agree. Web design is a lot of things, but it's not 'easy money'!
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict LittleFigment's Avatar
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    And then there is drawing up contracts, meeting potential clients and sending out quotes for projects that may never happen. Translating requests and feed back between client and designer. And remember if the client doesn't pay in the end you still have a separate agreement with the designer and have to pay his fees. Especially if you want him around for the next project to make you money.
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict LittleFigment's Avatar
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    And also you mightn't want to do it for a living but the client might want to call you during office hours to check on progress etc.
    We are not saying its impossible but there is a lot more work to it then I think you realise.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessebhunt
    Sure... there are lots of companies that subcontract some or all of their web design services (my company included.)

    However, you said "I don't want to do this for a living." You need to understand upfront that subbing out your web design work is not an easy way to make a few bucks. There is a significant amount of work that goes into subcontracting web design.

    Here's a VERY simplified version of what you'll need to do:

    1. You'll need to sell the projects (you'll need a fair amount of web design knowledge to be successful at this.) Depending on the scope of your projects, this could range from fairly easy to fairly difficult.
    I kind of figured that the web designer who would be doing the actual work could help do some or all of this. Afterall, if I'm just a marketing front, the person who is going to know most about this is the actual coder him or herself.
    Quote Originally Posted by jessebhunt
    2. You'll need to maintain constant contact with your client through out the design process. At times, this can be pretty time consuming.
    OK. But what I'm thinking of is not very complicated. The most basic would be logo design and maybe a one page website. The most complex would be logo design and a multipage website with photo galleries.
    Quote Originally Posted by jessebhunt
    3. You'll need to oversee the designer to make sure things are being done to spec. They will occasionally make mistakes, or not meet deadlines. You'll need to have a backup plan if something goes wrong.
    OK. Basically I have to have someone dependable and trustworthy.
    Quote Originally Posted by jessebhunt
    4. You'll need to coordinate the various members of the development team (unless you designer is handling this part.) These members include the designer, programmer, copywriter, etc.


    Regarding your "cut" of the profits... This will depend on how much you can sell the projects for and how much your designer charges.

    So, if you manage to sell a project at a significant price, and your designer works for a very reasonable rate, you can probably make more than 50%.

    Likewise, if you sell a project somewhat low, and your designer is more expensive, you will obviously make less.

    I generally make my calculations in terms of how much compensation I need for the amount of work involved (not in percentages of the total bill.) You'll need to decide how much compensation you need for the amount of work that you'll be doing.

    HTH
    OK. I was thinking about this in terms of an experienced web designer giving me a ballpark amount of time it would take him to complete, then price based on an hourly rate on that (or more if I could get it ).

    As for the rest of the comments regarding it being more work and time than I realize, I suppose you are right. I guess I was thinking this would be easy cash. I was also hoping that the actual designer would price it and I would just take my cut off of that.

    Afterall, I've never met a computer geek who was interested in doing anything other than working on the computer. If a designer has someone "running interference" for him and hustling business, it could possibly be beneficial for him, too.

    That was what I was banking on. Thanks for the feedback. Any more? Please share.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict jessebhunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheesedude
    I kind of figured that the web designer who would be doing the actual work could help do some or all of this. Afterall, if I'm just a marketing front, the person who is going to know most about this is the actual coder him or herself.
    It sounds to me like you're counting on the designer to do too much.

    I wouldn't put the designer in direct contact with the customers.

    1. If the designer says or does something innapropriate, it can make you look really bad, AND you might not even know that it happened.

    2. If the designer is handling the customer contact, chances are the customer will contact them for future work. This will eliminate any recurring business.




    OK. But what I'm thinking of is not very complicated. The most basic would be logo design and maybe a one page website. The most complex would be logo design and a multipage website with photo galleries.

    If you're dealing with customers who don't know much about web development, a simple "multipage site with photo galleries" can seem pretty complex. They'll still expect you to maintain contact throughout the project.


    OK. Basically I have to have someone dependable and trustworthy.
    Of course... that's what we're all hoping for. However, things happen, and people flake out sometimes.

    I recently had a FANTASTIC designer. We did numerous projects together and never had any problems. Then, we were working on site and approaching the deadline when he decided to get a full time job and reduce his freelancing time. At the end of the project, he wasn't anywhere close to completion, so I had to pull the plug on him and spend NUMEROUS hours completing the project myself.

    Things CAN come up... you'll need to ALWAYS be prepared for the worst case scenario.




    I'm really not trying to talk you out of the outsourcing thing. I just think you need to understand that it is more work than you're anticipating.

    If you want this to be successful, you need to prepare yourself for a lot of hard work.
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  8. #8
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    Sounds like you should be looking towards a strategic referral partnership. This is something we have with a multitude of businesses and indivduals alike.

    First you'll need to find a reputable designer/firm to work with, then you need to cultivate a relationship with said designer/firm so as to build trust and mutual respect (very important, perception and reputation are everything).

    Once you have that relationship and of course a referral contract (as with any contract, have a lawyer sign off on it), you can take the requests for work (ensuring that you divulge the fact that this is a referred service you are offering) and pass them on to your newly acquired strategic partner, sit back, let them do their magic and watch your bank account grow.

    That being said, you probably won't get 25%-50% for referrals, however, depending on the total net worth of the referred work and regularity, you will be more than likely to make some decent pocket money from it.

    If you go down this route, it is less work but it is also less income - whoever said you could have your pie AND eat it?

  9. #9
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Agree - cheese should be in sales!
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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