10 Tips to Save Everyone Time & Money with Web Design

I’ve worked with website design clients now for over six years. I’ve had some great partnerships and what I consider a lot of success. However, from time to time I 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. I’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 I’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. I use a website design preferences survey. I also share examples of work I’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. I use a checklist format that details out what the client can expect and when. I also put a column for the client to see what I’ll expect from them. I’m adding the WHEN to what I expect from the client so that all parties 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.
I appreciate my clients and hope these tips and suggestions will show them that I’m not about “taking their money” and running. I value quality work. I value long-term business relationships. I’ve seen the effects of companies who don’t follow these practices. What are your thoughts? What’s working for you? Nate Moller works with businesses who want to improve their online business. His company builds wordpress websites and custom websites at affordable prices. He’s worked with thousands of companies who see value in online marketing strategy and execution. Follow Nate on Twitter and become a fan of Moller Marketing on Facebook!

11 thoughts on “10 Tips to Save Everyone Time & Money with Web Design

  1. Pingback: 10 Simple Tips to Save a Web Design Company | Utah Online Marketing Consultant

  2. Nate Moller says:

    Got this comment from a friend on Facebook:

    I liked your post today about web design and client expectations. I’m learning, AGAIN, doing business with family is usually not the best choice, even if they are cheap. They are cheap for a reason!….

    It’s just as the old cliche states – “You get what you pay for.” Thanks for the comment.

  3. Dana Lookadoo says:

    Admittedly, we used to give away the kitchen sink and the recommended information architecture for web design proposals. “Sure, let us give you free consulting up front, 20-40 pages worth!”

    The result of doing it wrong so many times was that no proposal is given up front. Require a paid Discovery process, through which you help them understand their realistic goals, competitive landscape, options and scope. From there, a development proposal is built.

  4. Nate Moller says:

    LOL – were you guys there through the evening?

    Tip #12 – Add a clause that states you will not continuing adding features not mentioned in the proposal until Phase 2. Some clients discover more and more cool features once they see what you can do.

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. Marius says:

    Very interesting tips. I do agree with you, and some of them are obvious. In my experience only 5 of those tips I met to designers.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Noah Ava says:

    These are good Tips to Save Everyone Time & Money with Web Design.
    Designer constantly learning new skills, new ways of designing and of course bring out the best idea they can think of, to fulfill all your needs for your website.

  7. jorge says:

    I think the tips here are not only limited to web design. It can also be used for other business transactions and contracts as well.

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