Why the Cheapest Website Might Not Be Best for Your Business

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“And that’s the last time that I use someone ‘cheaper’ to upgrade a few odds-and-ends around the site for me. My lesson has officially been learned.”

I received the quote above from a client who needed a contact form on her site fixed. After paying “someone cheap”, the form didn’t function right. As it turned out, it took me about 30 minutes to troubleshoot and fix the errors. Needless to say, the client was happy, and the lesson was learned that trying to find a cheap solution isn’t always the best.

You really do get what you pay for …

While there are always exceptions, as a general rule, that old saying rings true. We recently had a potential client with a complex project approach us. After determining that he understood the price range of such a project, we proceeded to do some initial research as well as define and prioritize the functionality of the project. Through this, we were able to give him a more accurate quote, which did not end up being too far off from the initial price range I gave him. What happened after presenting the estimate was also something that I’ve encountered numerous times in the past. “(Your quote) is so far above the other company that I feel like we are in two different playing fields so I will have to go the other direction.”

What was interesting in this case is that the potential client had been open to the actual cost of the project until receiving a second quote that was much cheaper. Instead of questioning why it was much cheaper, he simply went with the cheapest estimate. Experience told me that no professional web development company that fully understood the requested functionality of the project would have bid much less than we did. I simply wished the guy good luck on his project and moved on.

This scenario has played out in the past. Sometimes the same company will contact us months down the road and tell a story along the lines of, “We already paid x amount and didn’t get what we wanted”, with variations ranging from the fact that the designer completely disappeared or left them with a non-functioning project. The problem most often is that the client was driven by the cheapest price and not the quality, experience, or thoroughness of the design firm.

Cheap and high-quality are not always synonymous.

Plenty of design firms and freelancers out there do quality work on a budget. It’s typically called, “scaling back”. Meaning, if a client only has a small budget, they can only get so much work done. That work can still be high quality, but they’re not going to get all the bells and whistles of a large project on a shoestring. No, you’re not going to get an ecommerce website with custom design for $1000. You’re not going to get a high-quality custom logo for $100. Get the picture?

It’s like buying your dream home – you’re going to have to spend a little to get it. If someone comes in with an offer too good to be true, it most likely is.

You might also enjoy reading, “The High Cost of Free When it Comes to Web Design”.

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