Quoting Websites

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Lesson Overview

In this lesson, we’ll discuss How to Quote a Website Project, specifically:

  1. Pricing Philosophies
  2. Packages
  3. Submitting Quotes
  4. Time-Saving Tips
  5. Following-Up on Quotes

 

Lesson Transcription

Welcome! I’m Leighton, your webmaster. In today’s lesson, let’s discuss how to Quote Your Website Project. So you’ve landed a sales call, you got to know the business, and now it’s time to talk prices! This can be both daunting and empowering. It’s exciting to submit a quote and have it accepted, and even more exciting when the money hits your bank account. But how do you choose the right prices for your website design services? In this lesson, we’ll consider:

  1. Pricing Philosophies
  2. Packages
  3. Submitting Quotes
  4. Time-Saving Tips
  5. Following-Up on Quotes. 

Let’s get started!

  1. Let’s talk about the 2 fundamentally different Pricing Philosophies: Hourly and Project Based. Have you ever worked for an hourly wage?  If so, then you’re familiar with this concept. You get paid a fixed amount based on the number of hours you work. That’s a standard pricing structure. The other option, popular in design and construction, is “project-based pricing.” There is where you submit a quote for the entire project, regardless of how many hours you will spend on it. So which is better?  What do you think?  Actually, I can’t decide that for you. I’ve used both myself… There’s benefits to each, so let’s break down the pros and cons, starting with Hourly. Hourly is very fair. An hourly pricing structure is a fool-proof way to get compensated for your time. You’re paid for the hours you work, no more, no less. But consider this: You need to make sure you’ve prepped the business by estimating how many hours this project will take. Nobody wants the sticker shock of your invoice after the project is over when it sounded like it would take 5 hours but you’re billing them for 15. You may very well have genuinely taken 15 hours, but do you think the business will call you next time they have a project?  Maybe not. Give them an idea in advance, and you might even give them a heads up throughout the project by letting them know how many hours they’ve racked up so far. A beautiful time-tracking service I use is Toggl. We discussed Toggl in the Website Updates lesson. If you’re charging hourly, you need a quality time-tracking service, and Toggl is a foolproof one. And if you’re charging hourly, you need to figure out your hourly rate. What do you think would be an appropriate hourly rate?  I can’t decide that for you, but I can tell you that around $75/hour would be an industry-standard for web design and management services. That’s what I charge, and I’ve never had an issue with that rate. So depending on your experience, between $55 and $95 would be an ideal range, and the more you earn clients, the better you’ll feel about finding the right price. So that’s the hourly pricing structure, which I use occasionally, but what about the more popular option, “Project Based”? This is where you submit one price for the entire project. For example, you could offer a custom WordPress website, mobile-friendliness, search engine optimization and database setup for $1495. That’s one price for the entire project. The client is clear on what they’ll receive (the deliverables, the website) and you’re clear on how much you’ll make. Great! So what’s to consider? Well, suppose you land a job for $1500… but the project takes you 50 hours to complete. The cash sounds exciting, but when all is said and done, you really only made $30 per hour. If that sounds good to you, then great! But I want you to be thinking in terms of the value of your time. So when you take on a project, do you think it would be a good idea to estimate how many hours the project will take?  How do you come up with that estimate?  By really knowing how much work is involved. Making that sales call interview as thorough as possible. Now let me put a different spin on our example. $1500 design project. What if… you honed your skills… doubled-down, got a pot of coffee, and completed the entire project in 5 hours? I’ve delivered gorgeous, polished, production-ready projects in just a few hours. So what’s the value of your time then? $1500 divided by 5 hours is… $300 per hour! What a difference!! And yet, the client wouldn’t know any better. Nor do they care! They agreed to pay $1500 for that deliverable, and they’re happy with the results regardless of how much time it took you. So what does this encourage you to do what?  Well, think of the first time you try a new recipe. You’ll spend far more time the first go-around than the 10th! The more you make that recipe, the easier it becomes. Likewise, the more websites you build, the more efficient you become. And the quicker you can pump out a website, the more valuable your time will be. Takeaway #1: You can quote per hour or per project, but consider the scope of the project and the value of your time.
  2. So if you’re going with project based pricing, what do you charge??  What do you think a website is worth?  I can’t decide this for you, but I can give you some inspiration for your prices. First off, do you want fixed prices or custom quotes?  A custom quote is where you give a customized quote to everyone who reaches out to you. Sounds great at first, but the more quotes you send out, the more trends you’ll notice in your pricing. If you’re giving similar prices to different businesses, why not make that into a fixed package, or price tier? And if you have multiple price tiers, consider what differentiates them. Will you have a one-page site tier, a standard brochure site tier, and an eCommerce tier?  Will you require eCommerce to be custom quote?  Will you charge per page, such as $150 per page?  Will you charge extra for mobile-friendliness?  Will you charge extra for SEO?  Will you cap the amount of pages included in your quote?  I personally like to bundle all of these together to present one price for the best product. So perhaps you’ll charge $495 for a one-page site, $1495 for a multi-page brochure site with up to 7 pages, and $2995 for an eCommerce site. Another tip: Ask their budget. You never know what a business has set aside for their website marketing. If you’re planning on quoting $1000, but their budget is $5000, do you think there’s an opportunity?  Let’s say you ask their budget, they say they’d like to keep the project under $5000, and you quote $2500. How do you feel, and how does the client feel?  You’re ecstatic because you got more money than you expected, and the client is equally ecstatic because they got a website for half off! Everyone wins! I love the win-win scenarios, because everyone goes home happy. Achieve that… and you’ll elevate yourself as an entrepreneur. One final note: When you’re first starting out, you really don’t have the experience or expertise to be charging higher rates, but have a growth mindset by gradually increasing your prices as you land more accounts. Once you’re in higher demand, you’ll attract companies with higher budgets. Takeaway #2: You can offer set prices, tiers, and packages, or offer a custom quote on every project. Typical prices are in the $1000 – $3000 range for a professional small business website.
  3. Once you’ve decided on your quote, it’s time to submit it! Quotes are typically submitted by email. In that email, you want to be as friendly and thorough as possible. There are several elements to a quote. What comes to your mind when you think of a quote?  Well, first you would reintroduce yourself. Your name, your company name, and thank them for the opportunity to submit this quote. If you’ve been building websites for several years, you can say something like, “I’ve built several websites since 2017 and would love to help with your project!” That one sentence gives you credibility and a willingness to work together. Next, offer your quote, which includes the service and price. For example: “Your website, like most, would fall under our Business package (other packages we have are One-Page Site, eCommerce, etc). This includes a custom WordPress web design, up to 7 pages, mobile-friendly site, search engine optimization (SEO), database setup, security optimizations and more for 1495.00.” With that line, you have expressed what you intend to offer and for what price. Next, you might clarify what WordPress is. For example: “I recommend building the website on WordPress so it will be easier for myself and you to manage going forward. WordPress is the Web’s #1 CMS: Content Management System.” Next paragraph, offer your Website Maintenance Plan, and the key here is packing as much value as possible: “The monthly Website Maintenance Plan includes web hosting and support, domain DNS management, email hosting and support, site updates, analytics traffic reports, Google SEO monitoring, uptime monitoring, change detection, regular site backups, virus removal, security patches, customer support and more for only $75/month + tax. Your website will be in good hands!” What about SEO? You could say: “I also highly recommend an SSL security certificate, which secures your website and boosts customer trust and search engine placement. Installing an SSL avoids the red NOT SECURE label next to your website address in your browser and replaces it with the green SECURE padlock icon. I can purchase and setup an SSL certificate for as low as $49/year. These used to be several hundreds of dollars but have come down significantly since nearly everybody needs one.” And what does the business do once they’re ready to move forward? Don’t leave them wondering! You might say: “I do accept credit cards for your convenience. I require the standard 50% down, balance due upon completion and launch of the website. If you are interested in moving forward, I’ll send an invoice and draft up a simple Agreement for your review.” We’ll talk about the Invoice and Agreement in the next lessons. Finally, I like to end the quote email by linking to my website, my portfolio, reviews and favorite projects. And that’s it! Review your email, make changes as necessary and hit send! Takeaway #3: Your quote email should clearly state your services and prices, explanations of unfamiliar terms, and an invitation to move forward with the project.”
  4. These quotes could take several hours to prepare, and there’s a time-saving opportunity. Instead of reinventing the wheel every time you send a quote email, why not craft the perfect email… and save it as a template?  Save it in your Notes or Documents? Or create a Template in Outlook?  I have mine saved in my Notes, so every new quote is just a copy and paste of those carefully worded paragraphs, then change their name and possibly the price, and that’s about it! Quotes will take 3 minutes instead of 3 hours. Create a process for your quotes. Simplify this process by automating it with a quick copy-and-paste of your master template. You’ll save time, AND all your quotes will look professional since you worked so hard on that template. You can refine that template over time, but for the most part, it’ll work for most projects. Check the Resources section of this Lesson for my Quote Template. Takeaway #4: Save time by creating a process for your quotes. Simplify and automate this process by developing a well-prepared template and use it as a basis for most quote emails.
  5. Finally, after the quote is submitted, what do you do next?  Do you just sit around and wait for a response?  Well, first off, it’s common to shoot them a quick text or message, such as: “FYI your web design quote has been emailed to [email protected]com. Thanks for the opportunity!” This accomplishes 2 things. What do you think the benefit of this is?  For one, it keeps the dialogue open. That’s a common sales technique.  Second, on the off-chance that they honestly didn’t receive the quote or it went to spam, you can resend it through another method. If you didn’t reach out… they might never know you sent it!  I also recommend you keep a list of all quotes you send out. Whether you use your Notes app, Reminders app, a Word or Pages document, Excel or Numbers spreadsheet, productivity software or whatever else, keep track of your quotes! List the person’s name, email, the price, services, date of the quote and method of sending it. After a few months, if you haven’t heard back and you’re actively looking for work, go down the list of everyone you’ve quoted. This is a great way to drum up business! Perhaps somebody really wanted to use you but just got busy. That’s fine! Things happen. People are busy. But you following up with them is a nice reminder to get themselves motivated and start the project. Takeaway #5: Send a message acknowledging the quote has been emailed and keep track of all the quotes you have sent out.

RECAP: There you go! 6 steps and considerations when quoting a website project. Let’s review the main points:

  1. You can quote per hour or per project, but consider the scope of the project and the value of your time.
  2. You can offer set prices, tiers, and packages, or offer a custom quote on every project. Typical prices are in the $1000 – $3000 range for a professional small business website.
  3. Your quote email should clearly state your services and prices, explanations of unfamiliar terms, and an invitation to move forward with the project.
  4. Save time by creating a process for your quotes. Simplify and automate this process by developing a well-prepared template and use it as a basis for most quote emails.
  5. Send a message acknowledging the quote has been emailed and keep track of all the quotes you have sent out.

I’m Leighton, and now you know, How To Quote a Website!

 

Lesson Homework

Download the Quote Email Template from the Materials tab. Personalize it to your business. Next, create a running list of all quotes you’ll sent.