There’s only one other thing in life that’s as certain as death and taxes; web design companies will continue to be asked the following questions on an almost daily basis.
1. Why do we charge in fifteen-minute intervals for a two-minute job?
Nothing really takes two minutes.
Let’s say we’re asked to deal with a coding problem. Our office takes the call and listens to the problem. We then decide who to pass that problem to within the company, based on expertise. We communicate internally until the correct employee is made aware of the exact nature of the issue and assigned. They log in to your website and they spend time diagnosing and fixing the problem. They report back that the problem is fixed and then we generate a detailed invoice. Everyone spends time on the phone or on email.
Nothing really takes two minutes. Did I mention that?
2. Why does my quote not contain more technical information?
There are a couple of reasons. The first is that the more technical information we include at the sales stage, the more work we have to do. From our point of view, we know that we have the personnel and the ability to build your site. There’s no need for us to begin the process of negotiating those technical hurdles at the sales stage.
The second reason is the same reason service stations don’t just give away free fuel when people really, really need it but can’t afford it. It’s why government benefits are means tested. It’s why you have to produce ID at Officeworks to get your Click and Collect. It’s human nature.
Although not you – maybe – believe it or not, some people do look to get stuff for nothing. “They’re ruining it for everyone else” is probably what your Mother used to say – and she was right.
Most web design companies are careful about including technical information in quotes during the sales process – to do so constitutes work, and some people will walk away without committing to a purchase, but still use the work we’ve done.
3. Can you help me to scope my project?
This is related to question two, and the answer is yes – but we can’t do it for nothing. It’s not that we won’t – it’s that we can’t and still stay in business.
When we custom-build a website, scoping comes a way down the line in that process. To scope your project accurately, we have to do more work and data analysis than you might think. A wise man once described the process of custom website design step-by-step, and it’s worth a read.
4. Why is our hourly rate our hourly rate?
I often get asked about hourly rates for web development and maintenance. These days, clients who shop around are likely to receive a broad range of quotes. Why is our hourly rate higher than that of a freelancer?
Well, I think to answer that question, it’s helpful to be aware that web development is a fast-moving industry, where innovation happens daily. The prevalence of freelancers is not a bad thing. It’s important, though, to recognise the differences between what they offer, and what web design companies bring to a job.
Education: Helping our innovators to keep innovating
My team are all innovators in their respective fields. As a company, we work non-stop to keep them up to date with everything that changes within the industry. And man, does it change quick.
For a development pro, one of the main benefits of working with FutureLab is staying on top of all those fast-moving developments – because we budget for training.
Training forms part of the cost we charge – because it’s essential, in order for us to keep building great websites.
Research and Development: The right tools for the job
We conduct constant and extensive research and development. We do it to maintain standards, improve our service in line with technological advances, and so we can offer the broadest range of solutions available. R&D forms part of the rates we charge.
Websites which work quickly, and function well, don’t happen without R&D. The internet changes too quickly for that. Companies come to FutureLab because they want websites which can compete. In markets where user experience and speed can be the difference between a sale for them, or a sale for their competitor. R&D is key to giving our experts the tools they need to be able to win battles for clients.
A Talented Team: Because, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys
You can provide a team with all the tools they need through R&D. You can keep them up to speed on the latest techniques with education. Adding the right talent to your team, however, is what makes the techniques and the knowledge really pop.
Our hourly rate means packages which attract the best people in the industry. This combination of commitments – to education, R&D and recruitment – enables us to produce beautiful and functional design.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s no substitute for having a bunch of experts working under one roof towards one end – and being used to working together.
5. The freelancer Vs web design company question – and which is best? You make your choices.
Imagine that two people get out of bed one morning and decide to start their own web design business. When you choose who is going to build your website, you’re often asking yourself the same question that these two entrepreneurial web developers ask themselves: Freelancer or Web Design Company?
The Freelance option
One developer will choose to be a freelancer, and that’s a fine career choice for the many extremely talented freelancers out there. It’s a fast and rewarding way to get working for yourself – but has its own challenges.
Keeping up with innovation is costly – in terms of money and time. Time for training is an all too scarce commodity for freelancers. Time spent training, means time spent not earning. As a consequence, most freelancers settle upon specialising in one field or another.
A freelance rate may be lower but is it actually cheaper? The site you need may require more than one freelancer. By the time you’ve added up the hourly rates of several, that can exceed the rate of a design house.
Then there’s factoring in your own project management hours, which can become expensive when you’re supervising freelancers who’ve never met or worked together. Let’s say you eventually find a bunch of remote freelancers, good in their own fields, and you try to manage them. This can be time consuming and extremely challenging. Often, you’ll be more likely to develop an alcohol problem than a decent website.
The Web Design Company option
Our other entrepreneur will see challenges along the freelancer route. A developer who wants to consistently produce modern, functional and engaging designs will quickly figure out that it’s only possible to provide a seamless service, by forming and maintaining a company.
The diverse technological nature of the internet in 2019 means that to offer broad custom web development, you need a team of talented experts. The speed of technology means you also need an organisation with a strategy in place for constant education.
Much like a website, web development companies consist of many individual components. When they have the luxury of solely doing their own thing, they’ll produce great things. We don’t use the SEO guy to do the graphic design, or the copywriter to write the code – freelancers often have to double up on disciplines.
That’s where I was at, the morning I got out of bed and decided to provide quality web design. It’s why today, I run a team of talented, highly trained, and dedicated professionals.
Convenience, Accountability, and Depth of Talent: The value of paying a higher hourly rate
Cost is relative, and our clients come to us for varying reasons.
Certainly, in some cases, it’s because they opted ‘cheaper’ in the past, and then needed to rebuild a website six months later. Because it generated no business, or it just didn’t function – or both.
Sometimes it’s because they know the pitfalls of trying to project manage something outside their own area of expertise, without a distinct and central checklist of delivery goals in place.
We stand by our commitments to education, R&D, and teamwork.
We stand for accountability, communication, and being here if problems do occur. We won’t disappear when a technically challenging project sees the going gets tougher.
We stand for providing value, in the form of beautiful, functional, and fit for purpose websites.
The are many fundamental differences between freelancers and web design companies – and one of them is the hourly rate – but the rate doesn’t equate to the cost, when you consider reliability, quality and ROI.