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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?