What should your business pay for a new website? Be careful, don’t get ripped off.

Want to know what you should be paying for your new website or redesign of an existing site? We understand the task can be complex, especially as there are so many ways to approach a new site. No wonder many clients feel as if it is confusing.

I recently undertook an exercise to get a quote for a new website for a client of our agency.

We have internal resources but I was really interested to see what others would quote for the work. So off I went with a full set of design files, briefing document, specification and a wireframe - basically, a web designer's dream to enable an accurate quote (in this instance, for an eCommerce site redesign).

The first couple of quotes that came back were miles apart (one at £1,500 and one at £11,300) which I thought a little odd to say the least. Internally, we had estimated that there were 80 - 100 hours in the project (so we would have been charging around £4-5K for this particular site).

What I did next was to say to myself, "Wouldn't it be interesting to discover what I should actually be charging my customer?" So I sent out a request on LinkedIn for people to quote me. EVERYONE who sent me a request to quote was furnished with the exact same set of docs and brief. Some came back with questions and they were all answered. Results as follows:

  • Companies and Freelancers who applied to quote: 84
  • Prices received back: 57. Quotes discarded: 11 (as did not appear to have interpreted the brief correctly), leaving 46 realistic options.
  • Prices ranged from £1,400 through to £19,500
  • All UK-based agencies who quoted (9), quoted more than £10,500.

The exercise did demonstrate the massive gap between having a website developed abroad and in the UK. As a caveat, I'd say there are some VERY good web companies abroad but expect to probably double the price once you add the amount of back and forth you'll have and there is a greater risk your site doesn't get delivered at all. Even looking at the UK-based designers though, ranging from £10,500 through to £19,500, that's an issue for me. I'd have expected them to come in perhaps + or - 20% with as clear a brief as I gave and with a reference site (this was a redesign project with no changes to the numbers of products) to work to. There is still a 'what do I think I should be charging and getting away with?' attitude in the web design industry. I know web designers that have a quote ready when they go to meet a potential new client and then pull out a 'Reccy Impression Person Place Offer Funding Feasibility matrix, also known as "RIPPOFF'' - It goes something like this:

Take a base website price and then look for the following = BMW or above in carpark +10%, Range Rover or similar +30%, glass offices for meeting +10%, iMac Pro on desk +10%, brightly coloured socks or wears sandals +2%, moustache +2%, banks with Yorkshire Bank +3%, looks at you funny +7%, asks for a discount +5%, wind blowing from the East +5%, uses an Android phone +4%, smells nice -5%, smells odd +20%, offers tea/coffee -5%, tea/coffee not from Yorkshire +10%, doesn't return calls within an hour +10%, staff look dishevelled +5%, has friends that also own decent-sized businesses -20%, business owner over 50 +20%... we could go on, and yes a lot of that is a joke but that's how some people are 'making up' quotes a lot of the time. It's not fair and there doesn't seem to be an actual formula.

So, in conclusion, business owners beware; there doesn't seem to be a set formula to calculate what you should be charged for a new site. You'd expect a web designer to treat a new customer fairly. However, there seems to me to be a culture within the industry where a finger is stuck in the air when quoting a customer a price (not by all to be fair), depending which way the wind is blowing seems to impact on the cost for the customer. Things need to change.

Now, I realise that is a pretty controversial statement and a sweeping generalisation BUT too long have some web designers said to themselves "Let's charge what we think we can get away with!" Or quoted 100 hours work when they actually can do the work in 20. The classic is getting asked to redesign a site and pulling into the prospective client's carpark to spot a Range Rover and adding a zero to the end of the quote. We all know it goes on and can you blame some people - it's the way it has always been, hasn't it?

It is not fundamentally fair and holds back many customers from re-designing new sites they desparately need. This, in turn, holds back their businesses.

We don't win every piece of business we pitch for, obviously. Who does? And there is a well-known saying which applies to many industries, not just web/marketing - "The person that has never lost a piece of business on price is too cheap". However, there should not be a culture where business owners are being fleeced by unscrupulous companies who are literally making up prices as they go along as they fundamentally don't know exactly what it is that they are buying.

All the great web design companies out there, are they having their pricing and reputation continually questioned? Is the industry itself awash with unscrupulous serial overchargers? Does the industry need a clean-up?

For those of you who got this far through the article, thanks for reading, it's appreciated. If you'd like to see if you are getting a quote that's reasonable, we have built a 'Website Price Checker'. Unfortunately, it doesn't include the dodgy RIPPOFF matrix, for those who were hoping it would. We think it does, however, give you a good basis for discussion though and stop your business being ripped off.

Have a look - if you've had a site designed recently or are in the process of thinking about or having one quoted, I'd appreciate the feedback in the comments as to how accurate (or not) the calculator is.

Try the calculator here: Website Price Calculation Checker

Hope this helps and saves some people money on their next site.


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