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Thread: Am I being charged too much for site design?

  1. #1
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    Am I being charged too much for site design?

    I recently hired a designer to design my website which consists primarily of a homepage, search page, templatized landing page and some misc pages like about, login prompt.

    The designer charged me $1,800 which, as a bootstrapping startup, was at the top of my budget. The designer is great...good designs, very responsive and overall easy to work with.

    The problem is that I just discovered this price only covers his work to create the page designs only (as .eps files), and nothing in regards to html/css files for actually integrating to the site. For that part, front-end dev, he tells me he has a team that can handle for a ballpark of $3,000.

    This was a huge learning lesson for me as I assumed too much with regards to the scope of his work and that although he talks a great deal about the html/css piece on his site, I failed to realize it wasn't included in our agreement. For his part, he feels bad about the confusion and agrees he could've been more clear up front. That said, he's a super nice guy and I truly don't believe he meant to misdirect me.

    So, my questions are...

    1) Does $1800 seem like a lot for just the design portion? Especially since he's basically taking my own crude mocks and making them pretty and ready for a website.

    2) Does $3k seem right for the front-end dev work for html/css?

    3) What are my options overall for getting everything done at a reasonable (bootstrapping) cost?
    I need to get the work done no matter what but $3k is way out of budget for me so looking for any insights I can get with regards to next steps.

    Thanks all!!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member bleau canon's Avatar
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    When you hire a developer, or anyone to do work for you, ALWAYS know up front what you "are and may not be paying for". Never assume anything, especially in web development.
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    Senior Member Vapr_Arts's Avatar
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    We're not able to say. $1800/$3000 could be a huge bargain for some, while a complete joke for others. There is no standard pricing scale and it really depends on who you talk to. Some of us might do the whole thing for $500 while others might not get outta bed for less than $5000.

    Typically contracts are used to outline EVERYTHING that is going to be done. This is used so things like this doesn't happen. The contract covers the scope of the project and what to expect as deliverables.

    One thing that bothers me is you mention front end dev but also a login prompt. There is a conflict here as a login will require backend programming. Maybe you made the mistake or he did, but this is a problem. If he only offers front end it doesn't look like you will have your login.


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    Thanks for the feedback, good insights.

    Yeah, the deliverables were a miss mostly due to my assumptions and not understanding the full scope of the design process...again, big learning lesson for me.

    Regarding the login prompt....and all other functionality, I have a CTO that will handle all the back-end function integration so all set there. Just need to get the design work to the point where can do so.

    Thanks again!

  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    First of all, the thing I don't understand is why any web designer is supplying ,EPS files. That's not website design. That's graphic design. There's a world of difference. He's designing a website. What he should be supplying is the HTML/CSS so that your CTO can work with them.

    Second, to me it seems inflated, but as Vapr_Arts has pointed out, value is relative. If he's designed something really nice and that will convert well and has a value greater than $1800, it's a good price. If he's drawn a really pretty non-converting series of pictures, it isn't. Ultimately, what it comes down to is conversion.

    Third, being a "super nice guy" doesn't mean very much. Justin Trudeau is a nice guy, and he's a talking head. Being nice should take a back seat to being effective. Now, you don't want him to be a total jerk, either, but being "super nice" is often the sign of someone buttering you up to take your money.

    As far as next steps...get your designer to convert the designs to PSD files. Since he's working with .EPS, this shouldn't be too hard. Then find one of those companies that converts PSDs to HTML/CSS. You shouldn't pay all that much for this. The downside: the quality level is all over the map, so you're running a risk. The problem is that you've already blown a large chunk of your budget and now you're likely down to taking gambles such as this.
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    I'm sorry, you're right...he's providing as PSD files not EPS, my mistake. Good insight on finding a company that specializes in converting PSD to HTML/CSS. I haven't search for a solution this way but definitely makes sense to do so. Thanks!

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    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Honest mistake to make. Adobe products are used to create/edit both.

    It doesn't really change much, though. Again, your designer should have sent you HTML/CSS files. I'm not second-guessing when I say this, either...it's that PSD files are fixed dimensions, whereas webpage dimensions are liquid (i.e. they can change, depending on several factors). Part of the lesson you learned though, unfortunately.
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    Senior Member Vapr_Arts's Avatar
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    Not to mention I have yet to find a way to design javascript in a psd. The little bells and whistles Js adds to the front end of a site is sort of important. You can get away without it but I wouldn't really recommend it.


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    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Do you have a web page layout in your head?
    Or did he do a PSD layout of a whole page?

    I guess I'm not sure if he provides graphics for an existing website template.

    This is strange to me. I don't do PSD, so I don't know how it all works.
    People hire graphic designers for PSD files, but what good are those if they are just a "picture" of a webpage?


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    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    They were more useful back in the day when you could design for a desktop/laptop and that was it. I could take a PSD, slice it (before I learned better ways), extract the images, and build HTML.

    They're still somewhat useful in that they can give you a static snapshot of a desktop layout, and if you have say desktop/cell phone/tablet laid out in 3 PSDs it can help. I'll occasionally use a PSD to quickly mock up a desktop layout so that I have some idea of what I want to do with a site. But they're definitely fading in terms of overall usefulness.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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