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  1. #1
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    Is it feasible to charge by pages?

    To all.... I've a question here on the charging and stating the project specs on the contract.

    Do you guys charge by number of pages/sections for your website design project and stated the number of pages/sections in your contract? And If there is additoinal pages, it will incurred additional cost.. does it work for you?

    When you come across an open ended project, what would you list down in your billing terms?

    I'm currently contemplating to set up a few packages for website design service and promote them. Starting from 5 pages, 10 and 15... etc. Do you think it works by selling this way?

    Looking forward to hearing from the veterans out here!

  2. #2
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    Interesting you didn't get any responses. Since I've been giving some thought to this subject lately I'll give you my 0.02 ...

    I have been building site pretty much flat rate for a while now. The prices I quoted were sometimes based on what I percieved the market price to be, what I thought the client was willing to pay, and sometimes just throwing out a number.

    I have one very big issue, poor time tracking skills. I very rarely know exactly how many hours I spend on a medium to large project, especially if it drags out for a month or two. This translates to never knowing if I'm making or losing money on the work I do. Of course, I know I'm making money, but I also know I'm working an insane number of hours on things I either didn't originally budget for etc.

    I make the best money on projects that are billed hourly. Primarily, this consists of ongoing PHP development work for several clients that use me almost every month. Those projects aren't the problem and because I know they will be billed by the hour I do track the time reasonably well.

    For the other work, websites for small-medium sized companies that range from simply brochure type sites to others that include some interactivity or database functionality I simply don't track those as well and truly believe I'm giving away a lot of time.

    How do I plan to fix it? My proposals and contracts are not detailed enough, for one thing. Going forward I plan to make them more specific, with per-page definitions and descriptions. The pricing will remain fixed for the specs of the proposal. But I will be clear that the pricing is based on the pages, content, programming, etc so there is a clear relation to the size/scope of the project to the price.

    I've been tracking my work lately and have discovered that is many cases it takes me 2 hours to build a form page (no database) with perhaps 15 - 20 mixed field types with javascript validation. This form would be delivered via email using either a perl or php formmail script. Add another hour for testing and minor revisions and that's 3 hour per form.

    So, if I propose a site with 15 pages I will price it based on the time spent to create those 15 pages, plus a margin for revisions, non-billable time, marketing, general expenses etc. The non-billable time is a critical component in this formula. There are only so many hours in a week. I seem to have too many clients calling to chat and while I try to be nice and give them the time for the sake of client relations, it sometimes eats up 5-10 hours per week. I still plan to do this, but the prices I charge will factor in this overhead.

    I don't (and never) plan to publish prices on my website based on the type, or number of pages in a website. I've seem many people list certain types of products like Silver Business Plan $... (includes 8 pages blah, blah, blah) up to a Platinum eCommerce Plan $... (and so one...) I don't work around this business model and prefer not to compete on price alone. Most of my work is referrals, almost non of my business comes from my website (that's another story...) and, I prefer to pitch a very comprehensive project that includes professional writing services and so on.

    I hope this was helpful...

    Milt

  3. #3
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Good post Milt, but your pricing structure is quite confusing! But I do think you hit the nail on the head right here:
    Quote Originally Posted by Milt
    For the other work, websites for small-medium sized companies that range from simply brochure type sites to others that include some interactivity or database functionality I simply don't track those as well and truly believe I'm giving away a lot of time....

    How do I plan to fix it? My proposals and contracts are not detailed enough, for one thing. Going forward I plan to make them more specific, with per-page definitions and descriptions. The pricing will remain fixed for the specs of the proposal. But I will be clear that the pricing is based on the pages, content, programming, etc so there is a clear relation to the size/scope of the project to the price.
    A five page site may be a "brochure" type site or a "content site" or may present a single product or two. Companies that offer a five page site at a single price are cutting their own throats, IMO, since every site should be different and developed to the needs of the particular client, providing him/her with the best chance of finding and converting his/her target market.

    Although I basically do content, my proposals are broken down by the page and I have different prices for the different services I offer. I do believe that's the way to go. I also charge an administrative fee because there is more work involved than just delivering the product. (like emails back and forth, phone chats, billing, etc.)

    I don't think it's wise to put design prices on the web. First, it puts you in a corner when you get the client that needs more work on a five page web than you are prepared to do. Second, it button holes your clients and gets them thinking about price first and quality second -- of course though they all want top-quality, just low-priced top quality. Third, the minute you decide to up your prices, you have to make the changes on your site. (been there-done that )

    Off Topic:

    Milt - have you considered some sort of time-management software? I use time tracker but there are many threads here at SitePoint that talk about different, good time-management apps.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  4. #4
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    Thanks both! I do agree getting price transparent will pose some problems but I thought of using that as a promotion tool to get my business name out and to promote my service. It gives a "reason" to cold call and arrange an appointment with interested parties.

    It's like.. I'll call and let the person in charge know I'm doing a promotion and this is a promotion package, I can arrange an appointment with them to let them know more about this package and it takes off from there.

    Do you think it will backfire or it might work?

  5. #5
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    I think you would be much better off to mail a letter of introduction to a specific number of businesses. Introduce yourself and your services in the introduction. Point towards your portfolio and end with letting them know that you will contact them in x days for their feedback.

    I would also phrase the letter in a way that would get them thinking about referrals for other businesses that may have interest in having a web designed or re-designed.

    To cold call a business with a promo offer is, in my opinion, a waste of everyone's time. I don't mean to be offensive here, but when you cold call a business you are taking them away from their work for your benefit and without their permission. Businesses get dozens of salesmen who drop in and cold call out of the blue. As someone who used to own a brick and mortar, I found them to be more of an annoyance than anything else.

    A letter introducing yourself and your business is less intrusive. Following up with a short call to make an appointment shows more professionalism, I think.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown


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