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Sub@omic website pricing

The Price Is Right

I've put our web design consultancy's prices up. The path leading to this decision wasn't an easy one to tread just as our economy begins to move out of recession. Website pricing is a path littered with fragile perception and edged with self-doubt; however, having set out on this path to consider pricing, it quickly became obvious what our destination was going to be.

Awful commodity consumerism

The Price Is Right was a truly awful '80s gameshow; the ultimate illustration of consumerism where, in order to win, contestants had to correctly price an item based solely on their knowledge of retail pricing. The kinds of goods showcased and demonstrated by models and stroked for pricing were typically commodity household and electrical goods with the occasional holiday thrown in for a bit of '80s exotic flamboyance.

The formula for The Price Is Right was simple: you either knew the retail price or you didn't, therefore, the contestants for whom '80s shopping was a leisure activity were more likely to win as they'd have much more of a sense of the market price. Value never entered The Price Is Right formula because the show was all about ticket price, none of the showcases required the contestant to compare or evaluate brands, features, benefits or performance.

"Good evening and welcome to The Price Is RightWrong"

When it comes to guessing the price of a website in 2013 it's still early days, although many people in business have shopped-around for a website few would have compared features, benefits or performance; a website, it would appear, is wrongly regarded by many simply to be a commodity item with a uniform ticket price. Typically, business owners and managers who have such a point of comparison base their numbers upon what a friend, a relative or some random bloke down the pub say they once charged for a website. Needless to say, when using this website pricing model as a comparison for a professional's pricing, the result this method produces is only ever going to be wrong. For years we've been charging what the market thinks a website is worth but it's now time for Sub@omic to adjust its website pricing to reflect the value in the price of our cognitive designer websites.

Market perceptions

1&1 has done its level best to convince people that websites are simple, powerful and cheap by carpet-bombing TV schedules with naff, patronising ads and now WIX is jumping onto the bandwagon. Just today, as I'm writing this blog, an email from one of our Customers dropped into my inbox saying Was looking something up on solopress and the pop up live chat came up... Websites in 24hrs! Everyone seems to have a friend, relative or knows a bloke down the pub that's built a website at some time or another and, alas, the name Wordpress has become lodged in the consciousness of the DIY populous as the (free) tool that everyone* uses to build websites. Google, Facebook and Twitter - they're all websites and they're free, right? Given all this exposure people have to free "stuff" is it any wonder that people have a hard time recognising (let alone pricing) professional website design? People do, of course, realise that if they don't build the website themselves then somebody's going to want paying, right? Yet both 1&1 and chummy down the pub tell you that it's simple, quick and easy so it shouldn't take long; so it must be cheap, right?

Professional service

The DIYers out there are more than capable of loading Wordpress and assembling you a website very much in the same way as you'd assemble a piece of value flatpack furniture. Sub@omic doesn't take that approach. We start by asking the question What, precisely, would you like your website to 'do'? and then begin to build a website that delivers against your business objectives. The value therein being that your business benefits from having a consultant take the time to consider how the website can actively work to win you more business. The value we deliver and the price we charge for our websites are proportionate to the level of business success that the website is built to achieve.

Value based pricing vs price comparison shopping

It is impossible to form an opinion upon price until you have a genuine understanding of the value of something. This pricing logic holds true for your weekly groceries, your clothes, your car and your house just as it holds true for websites. Comparison shopping will uncover a market price range but makes value so much harder to spot. So, to make things easier, here's how we add value:

What, precisely, would you like your website to 'do'?

This apparently simple question isn't easy to answer. When Sub@omic asks it we're not asking our Customers what they think their website should look like but what business contribution the website will make. Deep down, most businesses want their website to win them more business so, as a web consultancy that asserts that a hit website articulates your business proposition, Sub@omic firstly works to understand what it takes for your business to win good business offline before working to translate this activity into the mechanics and behaviour of a website.

The cost of winning more business

Let's put the website to one side for just a moment and consider the cost of a notional employee able to work as hard and fight for the kind of business which a website is expected to win. The minimum wage for someone less than 18 currently stands at £3.72/hr so if you wanted to employ someone to work for your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year (just as you'd expect a website to) you'd need to pay a basic salary of £32,587.20. This salary-only figure clearly doesn't take into consideration any tax, national insurance or pension contributions, nor does it factor-in any training costs, any holiday or commission payments, any out of pocket expenses and it certainly doesn't include the cost of providing the tools or equipment required to win the business, you know, the car, the computer, the phone... Yet, let's be honest, someone able to win the amount of business that websites are expected to win would want and deserve to earn more than minimum wage.

So what is the price of a website?

Well, that very much depends upon the business objectives the website is set, doesn't it. A website that is required to do the online equivalent of simply greeting website visitors and handing-out sales leaflets is a totally different kind of website to one that is required to seek out new business opportunities, fight for Google visibility, engage with the buyer, impress buyers with product knowledge, sell products, close deals and do the work of a team of successful salespeople. A website is nothing more than a machine; if you have no idea what you want the machine to accomplish and choose not to invest in direct relation to the machine's anticipated return on investment then the machine will have no value, will never work and is never going to do the work of many employees.

One fifth of the cost of the employee on minimum wage

The value proposition of a website is that a website serves as a machine that does the work of many employees so, if we priced our websites based upon our notional employee salaried at the minimum wage, pricing our websites at £32,587.20 simply wouldn't stack up. Starting today, we have aligned our website consultancy pricing to the value we deliver and our hourly rate is now set at £95/hr which means that our bespoke, cognitive designer websites now start at £5,950.00 and a small Web Diffusion website is competitively priced at just £750.00. As you begin to realise that the most basic of websites can, pound for pound, win more business than you could ever hope to win with a school-leaver working for you one day a week, the value of our professional service should become crystal clear and you'll agree that the price is right.


I wonder how many companies have a website because: "these days you have to have a website"........ and then approach website pricing in that manner?
CanopyLaw avatarCanopyLaw9th February 2013Learn more at Canopy Law
If you only want to pay peanuts then you can't really expect much back, this goes for everything, strange how some people don't see that. Perhaps acquiring a website on a minimal budget ticks a box on a business start-up to-do list but, considering how important a website is to most businesses these days, going cheap is rather short sighted. Mind you, I think there is something to say about not putting too much into a new startup if the website is the total hub because reality is often very different from new business plans and it's bound to need rejigging down the line to suit the way the business works.

24 hr webshites - why? Surely the sheer speed at which they a put together would put you off!, and there can't be many people that need them that quick.

We don't do the the cheapest leaflets and have no intention of competing on price alone for any of our estate agent marketing products or services as there is always someone cheaper so differentiating yourself from the others on price sounds like a good idea... but if you run out of customers then you know changing your website pricing was the wrong decision.
Simon avatarSimon9th March 2013Prestige Print are the specialists in estate agency marketing and offer agents a huge online library of inspirational marketing ideas.
What this fundamentally boils down to is price verses value. Never mind the quality, feel the price. I am a firm believer that people do not buy anything they VALUE on price alone. Don't believe me? I normally ask this question: what car do you drive? Most people answer is something like "a VW Golf". I then ask if price is so important why aren't they driving a 20 year old Lada? Surely it would be a lot cheaper to buy than a Golf? Don't be silly they say. What this clearly shows is that if the item or service being purchased is of importance to that individual then price is rarely the most important factor in the decision to buy. There are lots of reasons involved in a decision to buy, and clearly price is one of them but only one, and frequently it is quite low down the order of importance. You need to weigh up many factors, so in my example you might consider whether the car is safe, what mpg you might get, how often will it break down and how much will it cost to fix, what is the insurance, can I pull birds in it and a 101 other things that may influence the decision to buy. When considering what car to buy you weigh all these factors up and make your choice. Since we all have differing priorities we make different choices, which is just as well or we would all be driving Ladas!

At Mail Boxes Etc. we are not the cheapest and never will be. The same applies to Sub@omic websites. What we are in our view is good VALUE FOR MONEY. We are not a faceless internet site. You can talk to us. Will we deliver on time? Absolutely, hence our guarantee of ontime delivery or we won't charge. If you are not happy with the quality will we fix it? Absolutely as you can talk to us and we take responsibility for our service. Do we offer a free artwork check so you don't get embarrassing spelling mistakes? Of course because we offer a thing called "SERVICE". Something sadly lacking in general these days, but which most people will actually happily pay more for. Does this accessibility and service cost money? You bet it does so we will never be the cheapest, but I maintain we will still be good value for money.

Fundamentally what the 1and1 and chummy down the pub (or the 14 year who wants to earn some cash in his spare time) are saying when they will make you a website on the "cheap" is buy me on price alone. Please ignore whether what you get is any good or does what you need and certainly don't expect any customer service.
guy avatarguy9th April 2013Whether you're looking for print and copy; worldwide parcel delivery, courier or postal services; mailbox rental or a virtual office package, you can trust the experts at Mail Boxes Etc.
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Sub@omic is an independent web consultancy developing cognitive designer websites, based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, UK