WriteTrack Publications offers a custom design for every web site, so we cannot provide an exact list of prices here.
Website production can involve a great deal more than just the content that the visitor sees when he loads your site (the text, graphics, photos, etc.) Though that is often a large part of it, production also includes the work done in creating any hidden items, such as scripts, field parameters, meta tags, etc.. Content-related setup charges would also be classified as production, in that they primarily refer to ensuring consistancy from one page to another (i.e., logos, backgrounds and links etc.).
Understanding the System
We discovered early on that no bidding system is perfect. In fact, we had to scrap our first several methods. However, rather than abandoning the idea and bidding by whim, we opted to refine and adjust our methodology to create what we are now convinced is the best possible pricing system for website design services.
Unfortunately, it is not the easiest system to understand. Because no job is identical, we have to use an averaging method, making adjustments as needed along the way. Hopefully, the explanation below will help.
The System Itself
Our production charges are based on a rate of $50/hour. However, this is not the charge for the actual work performed. Rather, it is merely a formula we use in conjunction with the elements on our production worksheet.
Here's how it works:
Every project involves a custom bid. As we determine the elements needed for a given website, we check them off on an in-house production worksheet, where each item has a pre-determined number of hours assigned to it. These allotments are based on the amount of time it would take to complete each task if, in fact, all we had to do was sit down . . . type . . . point . . . click . . . and save. We then add up the hours and calculate the total job to complete the production aspect of the bid.
In a way, it is similar to the method that auto mechanics use to determine an estimate for a repair job. But the similarity ends there.
Unlike the mechanic, ours is creative work, so much more goes into each task than merely the time it takes to strike the keys and click the mouse. Thought time, outlining, layouts, trial and error, variations, proofing, revisions, testing and uploading are only some of the factors that extend the activity well beyond that which is alloted on the worksheet. On average, we put about three times the amount of work into a job than what is bid through the worksheet process.
The System in Practice
Perhaps the best way to understand our system is to consider a custom logo design. Our production worksheet allots four hours ($200) to this "task"; which means that if, a) we knew exactly what we wanted, b) got everything right on the first shot, and c) didn't need to review the work or even upload the file to the server, we ought to be able to complete the job in about four hours.
After initial input from the client, we generally begin from scratch on a single thought process. This inevitably spawns several variations, each of which present a number of unique possibilities of their own. For each variation, we need to save separate files each step of the way -- as many as twenty files for a single version -- in the event that we need to go back and modify any single element. Which we always do.
We then spend a good bit of time refining each version, after which, we review them independently and then place them all together and begin a process of elimination. If more than one version of the logo proves noteworthy, we will show each to the client, who will make a preference, and usually suggest more modifications or additions. Back to the drawing board for the final draft. It is then proofed again and eventually authorized. But we're not done yet.
We still need to size the file and save it to the right directory. Then comes the HTML work to make the graphic load on the initial page where it will reside. This includes assigning the source, border, width, height and alternate text elements and verifying that everything appears correctly . . . and quickly. We then upload it to the server and check it again on the remote site.
Hardly four hours. Indeed, we will generally put in about six to seven hours on a custom logo and have gone up to ten and even more.
In all of this, please keep in mind that the production worksheet is just that . . . a worksheet; we are not bound to it by any means and it actually gives us the ability to make adjustments on the fly. For example, you may already have a perfectly acceptable logo and just need it to be incorporated into your website. While this, too, involves more than you might imagine, we would likely split the difference and reduce the charge to a single hour ($50). Just like that.
The real beauty of the worksheet system is revealed in this flexibility. On the one hand, it provides an accountable system so that you know exactly what you're paying for. On the other hand, it allows us to organize a custom bid, set a definitive course, and document our work. So far, it has worked extremely well.