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Have prices changed
Its easier now, with frameworks etc, but do people charge less?

 9:25 am on Mar 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am (unusually for me - I usually work on my own sites) quoting to do a site for someone else: not design and layout but coding and setting it up.

I friend who used to be in the business (he sold his business about three years ago) has suggested a rough amount I should charge.

I feel it has got quicker easier to code a customised site like this thanks to the widespread use of web frameworks (I use Django). Has that had a significant affect on how much can be charged over the last few years?



 7:44 pm on Mar 8, 2010 (gmt 0)


well, sort of.

your skillz are worth as much per hour now as they were 5 years ago, and hopefully more (inflation).

What may have changed is how much time you need to do a project. 5 years ago, a draggable HTML interface with animation and transitions would have been a daunting project with a frightening pricetag. Now, I'd use mootools and get it done in a couple of afternoons.

So that's why the average total pricetag of a project has shrunk. Depending what the project is.


 7:58 pm on Mar 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Your quote should take into consideration any followup after delivery, as there will be followup. No one is ever happy with the initial roll out. Yes, creativity tools have reduced time expended, but the skill set/knowledge required to make those work has not changed.

Meanwhile, charge what the market will bear. That's how it has always been, how it will always be. If one wants to be successful.


 2:04 pm on Mar 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Its what the market will bear that I am want to establish.

I have the advice of a friend who has done very similar sites for the same market, but he is a few years out of date so I want to know how much things have changed.

I do not have to do much on the front end: I will install a new CMS code some custom functionality, but either use the existing HTML and CSS.


 8:18 pm on Mar 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'll only add . . . it's now a global marketplace, and many of us compete against providers to whom $50 will feed their family for a week. It's not uncommon to see a project that for most of us would be a $500 project given to a provider for $50-$100.

"Internet Gurus" out there (and I mean this extremely tongue in cheek, marketers who are more versed on exploitation than anything) are using these resources to produce eBooks for pennies on the dollar teaching you how to screw providers out of an honest living by exploiting them in this way. Outsourcing providers are now our competition, it has changed pretty much everything in terms of even corporate design as well as web work.

A provider today will not survive by competing against them on price. You can only survive by presenting compelling proposals that justify your costs with experience.

The other option is to go local, stay local, and hope your clients never hear about the degree of exploitation that is going on with "outsourcing."

As always, you get what you pay for, and I regularly come into new projects that are a product of "outsourcing." The client is wiser and willing to listen now. :-P


 9:10 am on Mar 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

That is an interesting comment rocknbill, given that my potential client needs a new site, rather than minor additional functionality, because of previous bad work by someone who, to put it mildly, did not real have the coding skills needed (a db table per page!).

I live in a cheap outsourcing country, and I can tell you that the people doing a $500 project for $50 are not just cheap because they are here - they are cheap because they are no good. It being a global market cuts both ways and, if you are any good, you can charge a lot more than in the past (even though you may have to invest some of that money in pretending that you are not here - at least one sizeable IT consultancy does just that, and my former employer, a software vendor, did their marketing out of the Boston office).

I plan to justify cost on reliability, being local (in the same town), and having a track record (he likes my own sites)


 9:08 pm on Mar 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I live in a cheap outsourcing country,

I used the "$50 will feed their family for a week" as an example, it's only part of what's changing the web works market. I did not mean to connect "outsourcing" directly with "country." It's important to note that "cheap outsourcing" does not always mean a particular country, although many providers tend to target this as "the problem." I recall one instance of an American provider "stealing" a project with a ridiculously low price . . . and this was mentioned by someone from a poorer economy.

The worst part really is one of trust. There are many mom's out there with very little skill working as "professional writers," college students working under the guise of web development companies, and for an unaware potential client, they may not know that they need to investigate who they are hiring.

What bothers me most is that many clients don't stop to consider **why** someone is asking such a low fee. A good deal of my own work is cleaning up the mess . . . Agreed, it does cut both ways, the stories I have heard really show the dark underbelly of humanity. All this, added up, increases suspicion of legitimate clients and makes it really hard to make an honest living.


 11:50 am on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

What bothers me most is that many clients don't stop to consider **why** someone is asking such a low fee.

My point is that one common reason, that the supplier is in a lower cost country, is not sufficient to explain VERY cheap bids.

Well, if this guy decides to pay me, it will be clearing up the mess (hopefully though a complete rewrite).

What bothers me most is that many clients don't stop to consider **why** someone is asking such a low fee.

Greed and fear. Exactly the same reasons why they do not ask how an investment scam can offer 100% a year returns...

I think one thing about outsourcing (on-shore or off) is that because it is cost driven, they use the cheapest people who can get the job done. That's fine if the work can be defined and checked tightly enough for quality to be tangible (e.g. data entry, transaction processing), but a disaster if quality depends on getting good people.


 3:41 pm on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

What bothers me most is that many clients don't stop to consider **why** someone is asking such a low fee.

I recently had some work done via one of the freelance sites where the freelancer was from a western country, but asked a silly low price for the work. In a private message this person explained to me that he had been working via other channels for a long time and now wanted to get a firm foot in the on-line freelance exchange world. To buildup references and credit in his on-line profiles, he asked low amounts of money for the first assignments, just to get the ball rolling and build credibility.

I hired him and he delivered good quality work. Cheap is not always bad. Cheap has a reason and if you know the reason, it may be OK to go for the cheapest option.


 8:30 pm on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, but that is a minority. We all had to eat a lot of beans and Top Ramen to break in. And wherever you have a newcomer to the industry, the clients are lined up to exploit them.

In say, the construction industry, there are things in place to prevent this. It's done to benefit both the purchaser, for safety and some form of quality assurance, and the industry. On the 'net . . . chaos.

I've been visiting and working from these sites for quite some time. I read a lot of posts, look at a lot of profiles, wade through tons of RFP's, and on sites with open proposals, see what many of them are "proposing."

I'm not a writer by trade, but for writers, it's even worse. some of these people have grown to expect 250 word articles for as little as $1 each. This is no exaggeration.

Where providers get it wrong is simplifying the "what people want" down to the lowest price. You bid $50, I'll bid $40. Then $30. Then $5. Clients don't understand, and hey, if I can get it for $5, why would I spend $50?

When you understand it's "not about price" and justify your proposal with experience, it changes the playing field. A good proposal, one you can stand behind, can easily close with 3X the proposed budget. I know . . . I've done it. My opinion is when you open a business deal, it's very seldom about price. If it is, I don't need that work.

Sorry to derail the topic . . . just sayin'. :-)


 9:53 pm on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think the costs are generally lower as technology and development has matured with faster development, more understanding of the process & higher standards through using better tools. Having said that the daily rate you charge is no lower, projects are just delivered is less days!

I don't think the true cost of outsourcing small jobs is any lower once you consider what elements can actually be outsourced, additional project management, higher risk, lower quality etc.

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