Pricing is definitely a concern whenever you’re looking for an outside firm to work with. You would never dive into a deal with no idea of the costs or without doing your due diligence to get the best deal. Unfortunately, for many businesses price is the final and only consideration. They price shop a few agencies and go with the lowest price tag. The results aren’t always what they hope for.
A race to the bottom can leave you with less than stellar results or a developer who’s rushing to get to the next project just to stay in the black. Saving money is great but the company you choose has to meet your needs and be a good fit for your project. Otherwise, it could end up costing you money in the long run, and the long run is sooner than you may think.
You can try to negotiate the price with an agency but most will require a decrease in the scope of the project to justify a decrease in price. A willingness to cut the price with no change in scope may mean the agency is short on clients, which may not be a good sign.
Of course, there are up and down seasons and some agencies may be flexible in how they handle your project. Just make sure you aren’t blinded by a lower price and end up with a website that doesn’t check the boxes on your wishlist.
The complexity and scope of your project is obviously a factor when choosing an agency. There are two sides to this. First, the scope and complexity will factor into price. If you’re trying to get in under budget, you may have to ask yourself a few questions: Are we willing to cut back a bit on what we’re asking for? Are there any tasks or prep work that can be done in-house to reduce the size of the project for the developer?
Web development requires an investment mindset. Rather than trying to save as much as possible, you often have to think about how you’re investing your funds in an asset (your website or application) that will bring you a better return.
Another major consideration is the market or audience who will be using your website or application. Although it may all seem the same, there’s a big difference between developing for consumers (B2C) and developing for businesses (B2B). You’ll want to be sure that your developer is experienced and knowledgeable in the market you’re working with.
Websites intended for consumer use are typically designed with an ideal user in mind. You may have a detailed persona of your ideal customer and develop the site to appeal to that person. In B2B marketing, however, you have to appeal to and be useable by a range of people in the buying process. You may have users from several department or levels of the company who need to get information from your website to make a buying decision. This can add complexity.
There’s a longer selling process present in most B2B transactions and the website serves to provide information and education to help that process along. The depth of information needs to be available for both very technical people and very surface level users, depending on the departments who will be involved in the purchase.
B2C websites, on the other hand, maybe designed more to trigger emotional buying decisions or upsell customers. Unlike the long-term education needed for corporate sales, straight-to-consumer websites are typically geared toward making the sale right away and streamlining the purchasing process.
Time is money. You may have a budget that can’t be adjusted, but you likely also have a deadline to meet. Even if your timeframe isn’t set in stone, you know that taking longer delays the payback you want to get from your project. The longer it takes to get your site up and running the longer it takes to get in front of customers.
The capacity of your development agency is very important because it directly affects your timeline. Do they have multiple people on the team who will be working on parts of the project simultaneously? Will one developer handle the entire project? How will that impact the total time to completion?
Putting it all together
Finding the right developer is a negotiation. Before you even speak to a potential developer and start negotiating details, you’ve already started to negotiate with yourself to decide what you need, what you can do without, and what you’re willing to spend to get it just right.