So, our local homeschooling center needs a new website pretty badly. They’ve grown substantially over the last year or so and, frankly, their current site is hampering things pretty badly.
I started the process of helping them build a new site on a volunteer basis back before I got into the home remodel project. I had no time after that and things were rather dormant. She knew all about it so it was fine.
Well, since it is now REALLY apparent how badly they need to fix the website, she went out looking for people to do it for her. And she found a local person. And get this….
She was quoted almost $8,000 for a fairly standard Wordpress site.
The director of the homeschool center reached out to me to see if that was reasonable.
But, this is actually a pretty interesting conversation (and perhaps even debate) about what to charge for one’s services.
See, this site isn’t anything complicated. It needs a nice looking homepage, about page, some info pages. It also needs pages for the classes being offered, but all the mechanics of registration and orders is going to be offloaded to another system. While a lot of what I often do with people is build those kind of mechanics right into Wordpress, in this case she’s looking to offload it. So, that makes the site itself just about content.
First off, the proposal for the project was super, SUPER polished. And I know that’s supposed to impress, but there’s also the old saying… “the fancier the brochure, the worse the investment.”
This web designer was also itemizing out really basic things, making it out like it was a huge deal, and bloating up her estimate for it. I mean… dumb things like installing Google Analytics. I mean, it takes 10 seconds to do that. It isn’t a big deal at all.
She was also being roped into a $99/month hosting bill which she was required to do. And… all it was was Siteground. The web designer is just going to park the site on Siteground, 10X the hosting bill and pass it onto the client.
$400/year for a contact form. Ya kidding me?
Anyway, the whole proposal summed up into almost $8K for a site. With a $99/month recurring charge thereafter. And, it was a site I could probably build in a day.
My first reaction was annoyance. I thought this lady was attempting to fleece the founder of the homeschool center.
But, I also know how this stuff goes.
You do pay for expertise. And when you’re a service provider, you can’t charge based on what YOU think would be involved or how long it would take you. Because, the only reason you might be super fast at it is because of the years of experience that came before it.
I get it.
But, at what point does it cross the line into just attempting to fleece a potential client and take advantage of their lack of knowledge?
Is it right to overcharge a client in order to make up for all the time spent making proposals to others who never moved forward with the project? I don’t think so, personally. That seems like a marketing problem if you can’t land any clients… not something to punish the ones who say “yes” for.
But, it is definitely a line. A line between charging a fair price for service… and just trying to take advantage. Perhaps I think that line is in a different spot than some others.
Charge what the market will bear, they say.
I get it. I’ve been in marketing circles a long time. I know all about it.
But, at what point does it become ridiculous?
Anyway, I told the director I would build her site for her. She does great work for the community and the organization deserves a functional site. I’ll build it.
That web designer isn’t doing anything necessarily unethical. She’s just running her business. But, I do think it was a poor fit.
And as for my services…
I don’t charge that way. I don’t do fancy proposals. And I like to keep things reasonable so that it is fair to both me as well as my clients.
Since doing client work has been a more recent addition to Blog Marketing Academy, there’s some systems work I need to do to streamline things and that includes pricing. Honestly, I probably do charge too little given my speed and expertise at what I do.
But, one thing I know will never happen is me trying to charge $8,000 for a fairly simple Wordpress site and a phone call.
Nope. Not going to do that. I like to sleep well at night.