Website Performance & Design

10 Simple Tips to Save a Web Design Company

This was posted on Dream Systems Media but we thought you all would be interested too.

We’ve worked with website design clients now for over six years.

We’ve had some great partnerships and what we consider a lot of success.

However, from time to time we get reminded, usually the hard way, about simple details that can make or break a deal.

This post won’t be long but is a heads up to all website design firms (or wanna-be’s) and also to all clients looking to have a custom website built.

10 Tips to Save Everyone Time & Money with Web Design

  1. PRICING PAINS: WARNING: the lower the price, the more the client usually “barks” or has unrealistic expectations. We’ve had clients who have paid into the $30 – $40,000 range for custom website design who have not complained one time. Sure, there is ongoing communication, but they understand that there are costs involved. Then we’ve had clients who paid less than $1,000 who have changed their mind, complained, wanted their money back, and so on… Why does this always seem to be the case in all industries?
  2. DETAILED DO’s and DONT’s: The more detail you put into a proposal and contract, the better. Listing ALL the things you do and then crossing off the things they WON’T get for the quoted price is a good idea. This way they know that there is more that can be done but that they only get “X, Y, and Z”.
  3. NOT YET, NO PROBLEM: If a client doesn’t know what they want, simply say “NOt yet. We use a website design preferences survey. We also share examples of work we’ve done. Make sure the client has a fairly clear picture of what they want before you sign on the dotted line.
  4. TELL SHOW ME WHAT YOU MEAN: Have the client show you specific examples of what they want BEFORE you quote a price for them. This is similar to #3 but is taking it to the “next level”. They may think they know what they want in their mind; if they can show you and explain too, that’s only going to help.
  5. CONSTANT COMPOSED COMMUNICATION: Take detailed notes and keep everything in writing. If you talk on the phone, record the details in an email and send to client right away to verify nothing was left out. Encourage clients to respond to all emails so there is open communication.
  6. COMPETITIVE COMPARISONS: Encourage clients to get multiple bids so they can compare apples to apples. Even though to some this may sound absurd, it’s always good for clients who have never had a site built for them before to “test the waters” by getting multiple bids. Not only will this give them an accurate estimation of the real costs involved, but it will also help them see that you are giving them the best “bang for the buck” – or it will convince them that working with you isn’t good for either party.
  7. TIMELINES = TRUST: Include timelines in the proposal, both for you the designer and for the client. We use a checklist format that details out what the client can expect and when. We also put a column for the client to see what we’ll expect from them. We’re adding the WHEN to what we expect from the client so that all are accountable.
  8. TIME WILL ALWAYS TELL: When in doubt, wait it out: if the deal is going to work out, time will only make it better. Sure, you want to get things finalized and moving forward, but if any of the above options have been rushed, it will come back to bite you later on.
  9. PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY: Have a clause in the contract that talks about guarantees, refunds, expectations, etc. Make sure it’s fair for all involved.
  10. READ THIS TIP FIRST: Realize that the client is not always right but that if you follow the above practices, nine times out of ten it will work out. For that one percent where it doesn’t work out, still follow the above practices.

We appreciate our clients and hope these tips and suggestions will show them that we’re not about “taking their money” and running.

We value quality work.

We value long-term business relationships.

We’ve seen the effects of companies who don’t follow these practices.

What are your thoughts?

What’s working for you?

3 replies on “10 Simple Tips to Save a Web Design Company”

whoah this blog is fantastic i really like reading your posts. Stay up the great work! You realize, many persons are looking round for this info, you could aid them greatly.

I think an important one to add to this list is: Don’t be afraid to fire a client. For designers just starting and offering the lower cost sites (as you mentioned) you will get those clients that wants a 20k website for 1k. When it is obvious that this client will never be happy, there comes a time when you have to say “this just isn’t working out… it’s not you, it’s me… no wait it’s you.”. Refund their money and leave on good terms, offer a few local companies that might be able to help them.

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