Getting a quote can be daunting. Especially if you don’t know how much you’re expected to fork out. You don’t want to waste your time with a designer only to find out what they charge is way out of your budget range.
Or, even worse, you don’t want to get a quote from a designer, start the project before realising there are a lot of extra costs involved to get your project completed.
This guide will talk you through how to go approach the B-word (that’s Budget, by the way) and also how, with a bit of careful planning, you can ensure that you get a super accurate quote with no hidden costs.
Don’t make the first thing you say a question about price
For a lot of people, the first question they want to ask a designer is “How much do you charge for a website/brochure/logo?”
Designers are a sensitive bunch and don’t like to think you’re hiring them just because they can hit rock bottom margins (you’re not, are you? Read Finding a Designer to see all the other important qualities your designer should have).
It’s perfectly ok to ask about costs up front if you’re on a budget but asking how much a website costs without any background information shows a lack of understanding that would send most designers running for the hills.
Think of it like asking how much a car costs. I’ve seen cars for about £200… and I’ve also seen them for about £200,000. You need to provide a bit more information on what kind of car you’re after before you can get some ideas of costs. It’s the same with most design work
Instead, try starting the conversation with something like:
“I’m looking to get a website designed, it’s for my [insert business description here]. I’d just like something that showcases my [cupcakes, photography etc.] and lets people get in touch with me. A website I really like is [insert a website you like] - what are your typical Budget ranges for projects like this?
Note the key word there ranges. All designers with a bit of experience know how much their projects tend to cost. They may need to ask you a couple more questions but then you can at least get it narrowed down to a ballpark figure.
This then let’s your know quickly whether you can work within their budget ranges. If not, simply thank them for their time and move on. I promise you, they’ll greatly appreciate your honesty.
Don't try to swing a discount
You might be tempted to try to swing a discount by adding in a “we’re really looking to keep costs down as much as possible” or something similar.
Please don’t do this. And I’ll tell you a secret as to why: When most designers hear this (and trust me, they hear it a lot) it gives them a bit of a red flag and they’re actually more likely to quote you higher prices. Yes, higher.
It’s treated as a sort of tax for people they think are going to be hard to work with.
Think of it this way, everybody is looking to keep costs down. Nobody will ever say “we’re looking to over-spend, this money is just burning a hole in our pockets!” (though that would be pretty cool, right?). So just assume that we know you’re looking for the most cost-effective solution and we’ll give you an honest and fair price.
Getting a bullet proof quote
The key to getting a quote that is going to be set in stone is fairly simple, it just involves a bit of planning.
Before you start approaching designers you need to take some time and think about why you’re doing this project and what you hope to achieve.
This will not just benefit your bottom line but is also a great way for you to get some real clarity and set some goals that will keep you on track throughout the process.
So here are some questions you can ask yourself about the project. Grab a coffee, put some mellow music on and take your time with them.
- If this project could achieve only 1 thing, what would that be?
- What would a successful project look like? How will I measure it’s success?
- Where do I see this going in 5/10/20 years?
- How will this make and continue to make money?
- What is unique about what I’m doing?
- Is there a specific date this needs to be finished by? (ASAP doesn’t count ;)
Hopefully that has given you a bit of clarity as to why you’re taking on this project and what you stand to gain if it goes well. Feel free to share these answers with your designer too, it’s always a good thing if you both know exactly what the goals are you’re working towards.
Let’s get specific
Now you’ve got the ‘why’ down, let’s focus a little button the ‘what’. List all of the key features you’d like your website to have.
Bonus points if you can separate these into Must Have and Nice To Have lists (this means you can have more flexibility in what you will spend. Add more features for a bigger budget, and put some on hold to revisit later if you need to keep those costs down).
Some common features you may need on your website are:
- E-commerce system. Do you want to sell products online? Are they physical or digital downloads? Do you want to accept card payments or will PayPal be enough?
- Blog. Do you plan on writing informative blog posts for your visitors? See Should you blog for more on this.
- Graphic styles. Do you prefer websites that are heavily illustrated or more minimal? Be upfront about the kind of visuals you’d like as this will impact cost.
- Social integration. If social media is a big part of your business, you may want to integrate some feeds into your website.
- Newsletter sign up. Do you have an email newsletter? Or will you be starting one?
- Forms. Maybe a contact form or something else that needs to be submitted to you?
Don’t hold back with your features, it’s much better to get all of your ideas out now as it’s easier to cut back than to add more.
Getting an accurate quote shouldn’t be a headache. Hopefully this article has given you some food for thought in terms of your business goals. As always, the more information you can give, the better.
Now, go get those quotes and start your project!