You may find that when you're searching for a web design agency to build a site for you, that price is a major factor. It's no secret that our team sit in the high-end side of development. We've got years of experience and our team are specialist JS developers which means salaries are high and we can't always be competitive on pricing. When choosing a team, make sure that you consider a number of important factors:
- Location of the agency - are they based in the UK or abroad?
- Size of the team
- How long have they been operating?
- What level of experience does their team have?
- Which platform are they building on?
- Are they potentially just a front company? ie. are they using a serviced or home address?
This article will cover these main sections and provide a potential alternative web design solution. Firstly we need to look at which type of client you are and if you have a budget, which bracket does it fall into. There are four main sectors in the web design industry and depending on your budget and requirements, you'll know roughly which one you fall into. There is a major overlap, but just make sure you're aware of the pros and cons of each:
Freelancer Web Designer - £50 to £2000 per project
Although a freelancer will typically fall into the lowest price bracket because they have much lower overheads, there are some real benefits to choosing a freelancer. They will often be able to provide a far more personal level of service than a typical agency would as they are the only person dealing with your project from start to finish. You have the added benefit that you know exactly who is building your website too, so when viewing a portfolio you can be more certain of the work quality. In terms of pricing, this is the area you're most likely to be able to barter on price and service. A freelancer's work can be sporadic which means if you've caught them on a month which is particularly quiet, you'll be able to get the best value for money. On the contrary, the main issue with freelancers is that they are often looking at your project with the short-term vision to get it completed as quickly as possible so that they can get paid and move on to the next project. This is perfect if you've got your content ready, you have a clear idea of the type of website you'd like and most importantly you are organised. If not, the relationship can quickly deteriorate if you're slow to respond to the freelancer or are requesting an unfair amount of revisions or adjustments. This follows onto the next issue - by dealing directly with a freelancer you're at the peril of a single business relationship with that person. This means that if you've had a bad day, been snappy or unintentionally rude about a design or in feedback, then the project can be at risk. Freelance web designers are not usually business people, can often be much younger and it's the pure nature of a designer to take feedback to heart. If you fall out with that person, good luck with getting the level of service you need. It's always good advice to make sure that your business's domain name is kept in your own account. In conclusion, if you are considering a freelancer for your website, then make sure that you are prepared beforehand and if you're looking for solid after sales support, in most cases - forget it.
Small Business (usually 2-3 members of the team max) - £50 to £2500 per project
These are usually longer established than freelancers, although they can be in the early stages. It is common for a freelancer and sales person or project manager to partner together under the same "roof" or brand. Why the quotes? Because usually micro businesses will be extremely close knit on costings which means that they're unlikely to have a legitimate office space and most likely are working from home on the sofa or in a spare bedroom. This isn't necessarily a problem, however you won't be able to meet the team as often and it does mean that support is likely to be lower or more difficult to get hold of. Unlike a freelancer, micro businesses which are on the right tracks are more likely to value an ongoing relationship with you as a client in the interests of repeat business and referral work from you. This is great, however the aim of a micro business is usually to scale up and these are the very early stages. As such, you may find that the business is either inundated with work if it's successful or the opposite - they're clutching at straws and have no idea where the next pay cheque is coming from. Usually a micro business will be set up with the vision to scale, so their hosting will be most likely on a reseller package, a proper support mechanism will be setup and you'll be dealing with the same members of the team each time. These will be the owners and decision makers. On the low end of the scale you're running the risk that you're not paying enough for the service which you require - ultimately, web design is a commodity and time is the asset, so if you plan on spending £100 on a website, then don't be surprised that it looks like the designer's spent only a couple of hours max on it. Either that or they have just used a very simple template so your website looks exactly the same as hundreds of others. Usually these small businesses will use Wordpress
Medium-sized Design Agency (from 5-25 members of the team upwards) - £500 to £10,000 per project
In such a saturated market, website design
in the UK is a particularly hard industry to break into and scale. It's very simple to setup a small freelancing agency or a partnership with a sales person. The reality is, to be able to turn a profit, cover wages and scale your business into a profitable investment is extremely difficult. You're competing against every other professional in a very competitive niche where if you don't know the tricks of the trade, it's guaranteed someone else does. For a design agency to be in the medium-size range, they will usually have many years of trading history and a proper structure to managing their projects as a whole and also on an individual project level. It's normal for a project manager to be allocated to you as a main point of contact and often you won't have direct access or communication with the web developer who is working on your project. This is to avoid that person being tied up in length phone calls and endless communication. After all, their salary isn't justifiable if they spend a few hours a day speaking to a client about trivial matters. That's the project or client relationship manager's role.