It is always a challenge to justify the price of web design and development when clients want special features. Today’s climate is one of an aggressive buyer’s mid-market, where prospective clients who ask for estimates for website builds will often negotiate project prices with interactive agencies down to the bare minimum of profitability with the threat of using low cost templated offerings or individual contractors with limited experience instead. When digital agencies possessing experience in producing high quality work are successful in winning deals with clients for fair prices, more often than not the clients expect the agencies — even when a very clear scope of work is produced — to design and build every customization, every toolset, every other feature “in their heads” because they have “given them so much money” to design their website, and provide post-support (often very complex post-support) for free.
We at Mitra Creative, like all agencies, have experienced similar circumstances. We are truly grateful to win the business, and support the needs, of our clients, but we often work very hard to educate them on how sometimes even their smallest perceived requests for custom features are not “so small.” In that light, related to something very different yet very much the same, check out this article from today’s edition of “The Wall Street Journal” (via “Yahoo! Real Estate”), entitled “A Dream House’s Difficult Birth,” by Nancy Keates, of WSJ.com. It tells of a couple’s pursuit to have their dream house built their way, and the impact of custom requirements on the budget of a project. Though people frequently perceive interactive projects differently, websites of true uniqueness, that differentiate brand and function not only properly but with tools, visuals and language that help to reduce the time of sales cycles, speed delivery of information/data to users and to the company that hires the agency (e.g. performance data), show up higher in placement in general and local search on Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines, and are secure and stable, come at a higher cost than often useless templates, and with measurably skilled labor. If new features are to be built, or if ongoing support is required, they too require, time, skill and attention, and agencies should be remunerated for their efforts.