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Website budgets & quotations by Matt Ottewill

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Most graphic designers and multimedia/web developers like to create a project budget following the first meeting with their client. A budget will help them calculate all the costs and profits for a project. You will need to give your client an accurate quotation and ensure you don't undercharge them.

A detailed budget is not normally shown to a client. It is more common to give the client quotes for the following ...

  1. Building the project (eg web site)
  2. Domain registration and hosting costs (per annum)
  3. Maintenance and update costs

1. Building the project

You will usually need to create a budget (and a quotation from it) following your first client meeting, when you have a good idea of what the job involves.

As you prepare the budget for building the project, you may find it useful to specify precisely all the tasks and processes you will be undertaking, and those that you are expecting the client to undertake. You can list these on your budget and once you have reached agreement, ask your to sign it, or provide a purchase order. Should the client ask you to complete processes that they were supposed to complete (such as copy writing), you can charge them extra for them.

If your client asks for the facility to update pages themselves, you will need to build the programming costs into your budget and accept that you will not be earning maintenance fees for these elements.

Skills, equipment & services audit

It may sound obvious, but any skills, equipment or services you don't have, you will need to be buy/hire in.

Creating an audit will help you to assess ...

  • What skills you have
  • What skills you will need to buy in
  • What equipment you have
  • What equipment you will need to buy in
  • What services you can offer (hosting, domain registration?)
  • What services you will need to buy in (hosting, domain registration?)

You will need to get quotes and add a percentage for your self. I would suggest at least 20% to cover your organisation costs. When you have done this, add the figures to your budget.

Calculating your fees

Here are a few things to consider ...

  • The cost of meetings with your client
  • Design time
  • What media you can create
  • What media you will need to buy in
  • How long tasks will take
  • How much the client has to spend
  • How much you think you can charge them

2. Domain registration and hosting costs

Most web designers will organise and pay for domain registration and hosting for the client. This is for 2 reasons ...

  1. Clients aren't interested in getting involved in any technical processes, they simply want a functioning project
  2. Designers can add a markup to the costs and make some profit.

3. Maintenance and update costs

It is common to agree a pricing structure for project maintenance. You can do this in several ways ...

Monthly fee/retainer

For this fee (£40 or $60 pcm?) you will undertake any updates your client wants. There should be some exclusions from such an arrangement such as ...

  • Major site re-design
  • Photography
  • Copywriting
  • New animations
  • New dynamic elements
  • New video
  • etc

You can quote for these separately.

Update fee

Alternatively you can charge them every time they require an update (£20 or $30).