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Is the '$300 a site' price point working for you
Is there money in cookie-cutter site?
cyril kearney




msg:3836610
 5:03 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Let me explain. I mean a 5-page site with one of those pages able to email a response form. The site owner provides up to 3 images per page and the site owner writes the copy. No database involved.

The price point of $300 is arbitrary but reflects prices in the New York City area.

Locally that's being marketed by several large services. (Only one is offshore.)

I can build a site like this in a single day. Additional money can come from logo creation, graphic creations, writing copy and if a database needs to be involved.

I have found that marketing my services to very small clients is difficult.

Is anyone successful with this kind of business? Any suggestions?

 

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3838236
 3:26 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good points about yellow pages Hugenerd. If you don't mind I will use them. ;)

HugeNerd




msg:3838429
 6:16 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good points about yellow pages Hugenerd. If you don't mind I will use them. ;)

Not at all, BeeDeeDubbleU! I don't actually work in webdesign or consultancy, so we won't be competing for customers (though I'm not averse to kickbacks or graft...). WWW and its members have given me plenty of insight and entertainment, so I'm just happy to help. Plus, I always love a good discussion/debate.

henry0




msg:3838487
 7:11 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Another one in that range:
I do not know about other Countries.
But in the USA each city let you access the register of new registered biz and DBA (doing biz as)
Pending on how big the city is you need to look at it once every other day or weekly.
The trick is to hire someone (a kid) to visit each city relevant to your area for doing hand written lists.
Or you may pay the city very few $ to purchase a copy
Even better since a few years many cities publish it on the web
Have fun :)
NB)
This gives you access to the owner real address
so you need to be not bothering and tactful!
<edit>typo<edit>

bmcgee




msg:3839529
 4:33 am on Feb 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't think you are going to have much success pushing other services (i.e. SEO) on someone who is in the $300 website market.

They clearly don't have the budget or understanding of the internet. Your other services are going to cost far too much for them, and you'll be stuck with just your $300 from your loss-leader.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3839674
 1:54 pm on Feb 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

But it's not a loss leader if you can turn a website out in four or five hours.

henry0




msg:3839678
 2:04 pm on Feb 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Since you are sold to the idea
you have to acknowledge that you won't have time for "on the road mktg".
As such the only way to make a decent profit out of it
is to invest in dev a CP, that will take care of at least 95% of the tasks from DN registration to final steps - but that can be time and money costly -

cyril kearney




msg:3839819
 7:35 pm on Feb 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree with you, bmcgee. Anyone that truly wants or needs a $300-a-site isn't a good candidate for selling extended services to like seo, databases etc.

The $300-a-site would be an attempt to broaden my current offering to take advantage of the very low end of the spectrum.

This price-point seems real and sites seem to be selling. I could easily deliver a site in a day or less. If I got enough work, I could get a low price assistant to reduce cost even more.

henry0 has identified the real sticking point. If I sell these low ball sites, will I still have enough time left to market my full-cost services. Right now Iím looking to add two or three $300-a-site jobs into my workweek and survive the recession.

Yoshimi




msg:3841048
 11:01 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm amazed at the low costs and pay scales being quoted on this page, I keep having to remind myself that we are talking $ not £, £190 is the daily pay rate for a senior manage employed by a large company at the moment in the UK, a web designer could/would earn £135 a day in an employed role, the idea of £200 a day with the stress of being self employed makes me kind of wonder if it's really worth it if that is all you are going to charge for your time.

I'm currently looking into going self employed, and all of my calculations have been based on only billing for half of the working hours that I put in, assuming that others are also getting this level of work (taking into account all of the other things that you have to do that you don't directly get paid for) a $300 site that takes a day to build, is actually £150 per day, that's £100, or £26,000 per year or about the pay rate for a non managerial 2 year experienced web designer.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3841057
 11:16 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

the stress of being self employed

IMHO the stress of being employed is far greater, particularly in these scary times. How many company web designers are in pensioned positions that are secure? How many of their jobs are guaranteed for more than a few months down the line.

Believe me, having your fate in your own hands (once established) is far less stressful.

AFAIK none of the people in this thread have suggested that the $300 site is a good business model. It's just a potential source of additional income.

Shaddows




msg:3841068
 11:31 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

By way of an analogy, in another life I was worked for a Warehouse thats specialised in Virtual Warehousing.

Their major contract made NO profit. NONE. NO PROFIT. Ok, we're clear.

What it did do was REGULAR BUSINESS, with good revenue. All costs for the entire operation was tuned to the income from this one account. Literally, it paid the bills. It kept staff employed.

Another account was highly profitable, but much lower volume, and crucially HIGHLY VARIABLE. On a busy month, it required considerable resource to service, returning a high profit. But in order to have the resource on hand, the staff had to be retained.

So I see the cheap website model. Its not why you're self-employed, but it does pay bills while you wait for the highly profitable work to come along.

edit
Disclaimer: I'm not self-employed. I was just contributing to the way I saw the debate delineating, particularly the point that its not a self-sustaining business model

[edited by: Shaddows at 11:37 am (utc) on Feb. 3, 2009]

Yoshimi




msg:3841072
 11:36 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

How many company web designers are in pensioned positions that are secure? How many of their jobs are guaranteed for more than a few months down the line.

in the UK, most will have pension options, with rights to a pay out should they be made redundant and little chance of losing their jobs for any other reason.

I realise that $300 wasn't being put forward as a long term business model, I was just surprised to see such low prices being talked about for anything other than an automated solution, I was thinking out loud so to speak

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3841073
 11:38 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

£300 for me.

Yoshimi




msg:3841074
 11:40 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

eugh, never can track who lives where, note to self, stop assuming everyone is in the states, has the snow hit you yet?

simonuk




msg:3841079
 11:47 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I get paid £250 a day in my current job so if I had to work on other sites in the evening I'd want the same again. £250 for a few hours work in the evening would suit me nicely.

wheel




msg:3841102
 12:32 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Shaddows has some good points in the previous page. I host cookie cutter websites for about $400 US, niche specific and full of industry database info included. In fact, I use the cookie cutter site for my own website.

I really make little money on it. I shudder now when I sell one. I'm seriously considering declining to offer this as a service. they're tough to sell and full of headaches, everyone's got a whine that doesn't stop. Champagne tastes on a beer budget.

About 2 years ago I increased prices from $250 to $400 and that got rid of some but not enough.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3841115
 1:05 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

has the snow hit you yet?

We has a flurry or two yesterday which didn't last - just rain today.

£250 for a few hours work in the evening would suit me nicely.

Yes, me too and unfortunately that's what we guys who do it full time and have to make a living from it are up against.

Yoshimi




msg:3841121
 1:16 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, me too and unfortunately that's what we guys who do it full time and have to make a living from it are up against.

you will see me mention my knitting obsession at least weekly round here, but I just wanted to bring up a discussion that never dies in the crafting community.

to knit a scarf, for instance, takes 5 to 6 hours, at minimum wage that's around $60, plus materials costs which can easily be $20 and you are looking at an $80 scarf. Those who try to make a living at knitting will try and sell this for $80, while many others just want to be able to recoup their materials costs and do the knitting for the fun of it.

The net result of this, the people who are trying to make a living from this skilled craft are unable to as the expectations from the buyers are that this scarf should cost $20.

If you are going to sell anything for "spare cash in your spare time" it is really important to do it at the price that the market will bare, this is better for you as you will get a better rate for your work (a fair rate) and also because it will ensure that when you need that fair rate you are able to get it.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3841170
 2:31 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, as long as you are paying tax, like I do.

Murdoch




msg:3841192
 2:56 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

You could always stick a clause in the contract stating that you own the design, and therefore any changes have to be done through you, for a nominal hourly fee of course.

Once the site is done and it's been two or three weeks, eventually they will want a change or two made (always happens). Then charge them for it.

chicagohh




msg:3841196
 3:04 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

We regularly sell 5 page template sites for $1000 and also sell a custom 7 page site for $3500. For us, it's all about the niche. We focus on three different industries for these sites and sell 2 or 3 per month.

When I was first approached about these opportunities I didn't really believe anyone would pay that much, but they do and their happy. Go figure.

johnnie




msg:3841259
 3:56 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Great thread. Personally, I think in these tough economic times, since businesses have less to spend, a budget option might well be worthwhile. It might help many cross that line so you can at least build customer relations and a portfolio.

cyril kearney




msg:3841279
 4:21 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think Murdoch has a good idea. I would not attempt to force anyone to use me to change their site but my own experience tells me that after a few weeks people want to make minor changes.

My take on this is that the site owner supplied the original copy and had a chance to review and change it once. After that it is a change and would be prices at $35 an hour in line with the budget cost of the site.

Shaddows




msg:3841312
 4:48 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

$35 an hour

Or part thereof?

Or pro rata?

reprint




msg:3841378
 6:26 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

A nice twist on this I have seen is to have an established website and market to the visitors. For example, you have a wedding website with visitors and you offer them a set of templates where they can add text, photo etc and it becomes an engagement website, a wedding website and some will continue paying to keep it.
there are examples out there if you look and I think it is profitable both as a standalone and in driving even more traffic to your established website.
Thinking a little outside the box with templated websites can work

skibum




msg:3841447
 7:43 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

It can work in various industries. Mortgages is one. Small mortgage shops (if there are any left) that can go somewhere and get a site setup that will take the necessary info from an applicant pull in up to $300 for a junk site just because it has that back end functionality.

Restaurants - create a templated site with a backend system that lets them take reservations & you could probably pull up to $1,000 per month or more.

Sometimes just a static site can do the trick but if you can add something so that it becomes an investment and tool they can use to generate and sometimes manage their business (or parts of it) then it is worth a lot more.

A friend in the mortgage biz had (may still have) the worst site with <frames> with minimal editing capabilities. They pay $300/month for the site and hosting because it has that back end functionality to manage the incoming apps. Even though the site itself "sucks", they stay with it because of that functionality.

Demaestro




msg:3841461
 8:01 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I offer a 3 page cookie cutter site for $500 a year, 3 emails, unlimited alias, 1 update a month, hosted.

I have about 20 of these going at any given time. After the first year I would say about 33% of them go with a customized site as an upgrade, about another third renews, and the rest let the site die.

I do really well with them.

nickreynolds




msg:3841900
 9:15 am on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

V helpful thread so I'd like to contribute my experience. I work part time in a self employed non-internet based job. It was full time but my various internet income enables me to do both part time. First I built my own website. Then I built websites on related subjects with real, helpful content that got some advertising revenue. Then I realised lots of people in my niche are small businesses or selfemployed and need a website like mine. I built some templates (looking back they weren't so great design-wise!)and then wrote an article (about 3 years ago) for a trade/professional magazine about why people need a website, how to build it themselves including design, optimization for SE's etc. They didn't pay me for the article but gave me a free advert in the mag. So i've really just been focussing on my niche. Some of those people who signed up then are still with me, paying their little bit each year (the arrangement is that I design and host so it gets a recurring income).
No it would never pay me full time. Yes it's another string to my bow. Yes, some of them are a pain in the backside. Yes some decide they want something bigger and better and pay more. Yes I started charging too low - I now charge more.
So in my experience it's not a business model but it can add some income. For me, if i host their site on a reseller hosting account, in my niche that works fine and can produce a regular income with little work.
Oh and just another little thing - I've found that the more sites I do, the harder the admin is to maintain the whole portfolio. Do 3 sites and you can remeber everything in your head. Do 30 similar sites and you need some systems!
Finally I appreciate most of you guys are at the top of the market looking down and I'm at the bottom looking up but hopefully their might be some helpful thoughts here.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3846642
 8:25 pm on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

OK! I just sold my first £299 website. It took me about 5 hours, which is pretty good money for me. I just wish I could get one of these every day.

Incidentally the finished article looks really good. The subject matter required a bit of thought because it was not a business website. It required a bit of thought to develop the masthead. I think I can do straightforward business websites even quicker.

cyril kearney




msg:3846677
 9:16 pm on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Great BeeDeeDubbleU!
My first attempt at a $300-a-site yeilded an upgrade to an eCommerce site. The site owner has purchased one for about $300 and I am intalling it and changing the pages to the look and feel that he wants. The job is expected to yield about $1500.

HugeNerd




msg:3846740
 10:38 pm on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

The answer to the original question of...

Is anyone successful with this kind of business?

We can now say, "Yes. Both BeeDeeDubbleU and cyril kearney have had success with this business model...even if cyril is cheating the thread and charging a considerable mark-up." (sorry cyril, I had to take a stab at ya!)

Congratulations to both of you!

@cyril: Did your customer find you through your attempt to market and sell a $300 site? Or was this business gained through other channels? your normal customer acquisition pipeline?

cyril kearney




msg:3846831
 12:45 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

HugeNerd, the client came to me for a $300-a-site website that are 5 pages with one page a contact form that will email a response to him.

When I spoke to him, he actually wanted a cheap eCommerce site and the $300-a-site job was just an indication to him that he might be able to get a low price eCommorce site. His actual budget was about $2000.

I recommended buying a eCommerce storefront and changing its look and feel. With the storefront he could get a secure login and registrations system, a shopping cart, a working chedit card system and a database with a sales and inventory systems for about $300.

I am responsilbe for changing the look and feel to the one he wants. The total cost will be about $1800 including the software. I have modified this package before so I knew what needed to be changed,

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