Over the years in this business, I have learned a lot of different things that are essential to success. One of the most important things to be good at when developing for people, is to make sure that there is an understanding of value versus cost. This ensures that everyone is on the same page, both for the design goals and the development investment that is made on the part of the developer.
When dealing with a new web design client, there are some things that need to be established first.
- What are the requirements of the design?
- What type of functionality is needed on the site?
- How many pages does it need?
- Is there written content for those pages? Or do you need writing done too?
- Is the site going to be static or dynamic?
- What market research and keyword research has the client already done?
If they can answer those questions, the web designer would be able to estimate a cost for them. The designer/developer has to know what work will go into the website creation, so that they know what to charge for the time investment. Cost for development work should always be based on the time that must go into the creation.
If the site is not a complex one, with under 10 pages and no real special functionality (like a chat system or membership options, cart system, etc), then development costs shouldn't be high at all. However, if content has to be written, or any features developed from scratch, the price rises according to how hard the functionality will be to create, and that relates to how many man hours/days.
It is very important that any client fully understands the whole picture, before entering into a work agreement. If you do not figure in these things, you will indeed be sorry in the long run. There is no telling where a project may go, if you don't have a clear understanding of the project scope from the beginning.
I had to learn this the hard way myself when I was working with web designers in Toronto, on a big project that had no documentation provided by the client. My task was assisting the UI and UX architect, and it was rough enough. Dealing with vague desires from the client made things much harder than they needed to be. In the end we pulled through, but it was almost double the work we had expected. Needless to say, we lost profit on that gig. And I was not happy!
More from entertainment