Few days ago I had a meeting with a new client referred by one of my good friend. He told me this guy really in need of some good stuff for his 5 years old company. I was happy thinking, the client is old in the business so may be I do have some chances here to grow with. I met the owner and he had a very clear requirement for his website. It was a medium sized website requirement and I know it will cost him close to $400-$500 (we were discussing in BDT currency) even if i use a ready made module for him with minor customization to ensure performance and functionality. I didn’t ask for any budget but he insisted saying,
I need a custom website that should not match with anyone else and with a low rate -
OK great then what is your expectation? He replied “8000-1000 Taka (close to $114-$142)”; then he also added
“you should give as post support as well within this!!”.
First I didn’t believe what I just heard. It was an awful feeling but I can express that unfortunately. Because I know even the best lowest bidder cant do it considering his hourly work load. That’s why I politely expressed my feelings. he replied
“Who told you that? You designers are giving me this cheap rate!! Here look ….”
- he then passed me few local leaflets which mentioned “$40-$100 dynamic website”. After going through their profile on their website I got the clear view of whole scenerio. I felt sorry for that client because I know he putting $114 in to a bin. I will consider this client as a victim, it is not his fault. It’s those designers who are dumping price by giving bad services to these clients.
Changing rates from first world to third world!
When I started my job as a freelancer back in 2006 from Bangladesh, my first project rate was close to $300 it was a Flash website which was just a little modification of an existing flash website. It took me near about 8-9 days to complete. That time $300 is quite a handsome amount of money in a country like Bangladesh. When I was in the UK for my Masters my idea about website development simply changed. I have seen what is quality. Why people pay for quality things? Why a designer charge that much for a design art or website? I started learning from the beginning. I came to know about usability, user experiences, modern design specification and performance issues related to web design life cycle. Now I always follow rules of good web design practice.
I fixed an ideal hourly rate for me which is average comparing the designers rate in the UK. But as a new-bee in foreign territory getting local job becomes a golden deer for me. So I tried Elance, Freelaner and Odesk as my source for clients. Then I realized the problem Thomas Friedman told us before “World is Really Flat“. Internet and cheap labored countries giving small companies in First world an option to outsource their job in cheaper rate than they used to get within their own country! I saw even though £15 per hour is quite low in UK it is quite high comparatively in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan or any other East European countries. Even $7-$8 is a good rate for them. So sitting down in UK I was shouting at my country men. They are taking my food out from my mouth. They are getting competitive advantages by being low cost designers. it is indeed an advantage. I will not consider it as price or rate dumping, it is just an strategical benefit of cheap labor country.
How designers dumping rates?
I have seen designers on Elance, Freelancer or Odesk job board to dump their price to the lowest. Sometimes a winner of a custom wordpress template bids with only $35 (yes true its not modification, its a new theme design)!!!! I wonder how on earth it is possible? I get a quick reply too? The same project owner call for help few days later for same project.
So you can see designers are there dumping the rate. But they can only deliver a crap not a good design that works for client or business.I had faced this types of problem on the story described above. New clients are getting convinced by these cheap designers to o for a cheap design. But we know cheap design is not Good enough to deliver your business need.
So are designers cheap to grow?
As a new company my design studio SME DEVELOPERS is charging it’s client with lower rate but not with cheap rate. That means we are not going for cheap rates for cheap bad work to our clients. You will always see slogans like “Best and Cheap” – dont trust them. From my personal experience a well design and better functionality website comes with time and costs. yes I can reduce or give some discount on project basis. But not with the cheapest price. It is bad for business growth.
If you always try to be the cheapest by delivering whatever to your clients you will grow an image of cheap designer. So when your client will grow and look for better design they will not come to you. They will rather find some one who established his image as “Good Designer” or “Creative Designer“. So even if you are a quality designer you may loose your client in this case.
Finally be careful when you start. You can dump the price to get market share but in long run being cheap designer will not do.