I can’t count the amount of calls we receive each month asking what the cost of creating a website is without a single detail; requirement or specification put to paper. This lack of preparation is like asking a home builder “How much do you charge to build a house? “
Without us knowing the requirements and functionality necessary for your website, it is impossible to calculate the man hours needed to build the site. Even the simplest outline or scope document provides designers essential information to begin formulating questions for you and eventually building a viable quote.
Below is an edited transcript of a recent first call. I have removed a few lines of the transcript for privacy reasons. However, you will appreciate how initial conversations with a potential clients generally flow.
WebWize: WebWize, good afternoon, this is Glenn.
Caller: How much do you charge for a website?
WebWize: My name is Glenn, what’s your name?
WebWize: Hi Jon. Well, pricing varies. Can you tell me a bit about your business and the type of site you would like to build?
Caller: Just a simple site, a few pages.
WebWize: So, something informational about your business? What type of business is it?
Caller: We will need to sell products on the site.
WebWize: OK, that’s different than a simple site with a few pages, eCommerce plus some informational pages?
Caller: We want to link our new Facebook page to the site, how much does that cost?
WebWize: Jon, maybe we should step back. Let me ask you, have you created any type of outline or scope document?
Caller: uh, no. How do I do that?
WebWize: There are numerous way to do this. A scope document can really help us understand what you’re wanting to do. Have you created an outline or a maybe a list of pages, maybe some content for your pages? I’m trying to get a feel of where you are in the overall process.
Caller: … silence …
Webwize: Jon, are you still there?
Caller: Yea, this sounds like a lot of work.
WebWize: Well it can be, depending on the project. What’s important is you and your designer are on the same page from the beginning. Something as simple as an outline can do this. Even if you just write out your initial thoughts, maybe some of the features you are looking for, your objectives, those sorts of things. Does that make sense?
Caller: I guess I need to step back, get something written down.
WebWize: That’s always where I start. It’ll save you time and frustration in the long run.
Caller: Ok, I will call you back.
WebWize: That sounds great Jon, call me if you have any questions. Send me your rough draft, I am more than happy to review it. What is your email? I will send you my contact information.
Caller: My email is ……. Thanks, this has been helpful.
WebWize: My contact info is on its way. Call us if you need anything. Bye
Why is a scope document or outline so important?
Web Design Scope Documents Can save you money
Reduce Pricing Variances –
Prior to the web design and development phase of your website project, you will typically gather quotes. Your scope document provides designers a single source project commentary. All bidding parties will be comparing apples to apples. There is no need to worry you told Company A one thing and Company B another. What one person hears is not necessarily what the next person understands. The scope document will reduce wild price variances in quotations.
Reduce Project Mistakes –
One of my past employers once told me something I will always remember, “If you ain’t making mistakes, you ain’t working.” Well, that’s fine just to ease your anxiety while you are waiting to tell your boss of the mistake you just made, but mistakes cost money. With a little preparation, you will reduce project mistakes and subsequently your overall costs. I see this as the main reason to create a scope document; reducing the possibility of mistakes during the project.
Project Creep and Overages –
In the 20+ years of web design, we have not had a single instance where a project did not alter during development. Some projects increased in time spent to develop, others decreased. Traditionally, we reference the scope or outline within our quotation that protects both our client and ourselves. The last thing a designer wants to hear is, “You should have thought about that before you started. “ And the last thing a customer wants to hear is, “You didn’t say you wanted that feature. It will cost more. “ All parties want to complete the project without surprises or Sticker Shock.
Imagine if the caller above, at a minimum, would have created an essential framework prior to calling WebWize. We would be farther along in the process than we are currently. Imagine if you could cut extra work by 20% throughout the project. If a project costs $10,000, your scope document could save you $2,000. Guess what? There is the trip to Cozumel you wanted. All you need is a project outline and a scope document.
Click here to get your free web site estimate, or call us at 713-416-7111. Have you prepared your scope document?
About Glenn Brooks
Glenn Brooks is the founder of WebWize, Inc. WebWize has provided web design, development, hosting, SEO and email services since 1994. Glenn graduated from SWTSU with a degree in Commercial Art and worked in the advertising, marketing, and printing industries for 18 years before starting WebWize.