I just got off the phone with a frustrated lead — she was so confused as to why quotes received from various designers and vendors vary so much.

Here’s how it starts

Earlier today, she emailed me with an enquiry as to how much our agency would charge for a 5-8 page website.

This evening when I called her, she is at the stage where she’s been through a couple of quotes and are now feeling confused at how the heck is she going to choose which designer to go for?

I told her I understood her frustration, and that she should look at more than just the price. I asked her, “have you seen our work?” and she said, “no. I just did a google search and enquired everyone”

See, this is the very first mistake in her approach to finding a web design vendor.

You need to have a set of criteria. While budget is one of them, it is definitely and most certainly not the only factor.

The reason why there so much variation in pricing for web design is because of these factors that you should be considering.

Review the portfolio.

First and foremost, have a look at the designer’s or agency’s portfolio — do you like the quality of work? Does it give you the confidence that the agency has what it takes to deliver a similar high standard to their body of work? Do you see their style, taste and designs as compatible to your business and ultimately to your personal liking? If not, do you see a certain flexibility in the various pieces of work they showcase in the portfolio?

Do they have experience in the industry you are in? If they’ve done several clients within your space, it shows that they know the dynamics of your industry and how to market in your sector. This expertise will carry with it a higher price, because it is tested and proven that the agency knows how to work with you.

Since you’re at their website, spend a minute understanding the agency (or designer) — check out their about page, know where they come from and what their philosophy is towards design. Does it align with yours? It’s pretty important to work with people who understand why you are doing what you do, and checking up on their story helps.




Make an enquiry

If you like their work and what they say about themselves, then proceed on to make an enquiry.

In that enquiry, however, please include details about your project such as

  • why are you looking to revamp
  • what are the problems you are trying to solve with the revamp
  • what are you looking for in an agency / designer — someone with good eye for design? someone with proven track record? award winners only? someone who knows business and can face this business problem head on?

Upon first contact with the agency or designer — while you explain the problem you need solving, spend a bit of time asking him or her about the agency’s background — and why they are doing this. You wanna look for the passion and purpose. If they’re doing this as a job, chances are you’ll be treated like just another job. However, beware of sweet words from experienced salespeople though. 

Hunting for genuinity is an artform acquired over years of experience.

Process is important.

Ask the designer how he or she goes about creating the website (or whatever you may require). What is their process? They should be able to answer you confidently — as this shows that they’ve done it before.

Not having a process to design is disastrous as you are basically leaving everything to chance.

There should be a process where you, as a client, should be involved in some of the decision making leading up to the final product — e.g. the final website.

If you see the process as something logical, and makes you comfortable, then you should understand that the professional will not cost as cheaply as the amateur who’s just trying to break into the design business, and have no process in their workflow.

Regarding budget.

It is understandable that clients will always be uncomfortable with revealing budget. It’s OK to ask the designer how much his price range would be. Deep down you know you have a budget. Let say, for example you got 4K as budget. And you have no idea what the market rate is — since some designers can do work for 500 bucks and some designers don’t get out of bed for anything less than 50,000 bucks.

The designer may say that projects he do range from 5K to 10K — to which you can then mention your budget and see if he’s open to negotiate. If he had said his range was 2K and above, then you know it’s within your means.




In summary

Ultimately you need to see if:

  • you like the portfolio of work
  • you agree and like the process
  • you are ok with the budget
  • bonus: you can relate to the agency’s purpose — as to why they are doing what they do.

I was not able to advise her in as much detail as this article, but I hope she would be able to consider the right agency with the short piece of advice I was able to share.

Give us a shout if you need some help with choosing the right agency and or designer. No obligations — drop me an email at ferdaus(at)neuentity(dot)com

Would love to hear from you.