NextGem web design, e-commerce, and management in Victoria, BC, and Portland OR
Web developers in Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR

Website development costs

"How Much Will It Cost?"

That's a common question and we understand the urgency of one's budget but asking a developer this question is not the way to start. Instead, explain your budget then ask, "How much can I get?"

Why? You'll get a more meaningful bid if you disclose your budget up front

Let me tell you a story.

Once long ago we were asked to compete for a complicated e-commerce website. We listened carefully to the new client explain their ideas. They wanted a new site to sell their high-end products online. They named imprecise targets like "world-class", "fashion styling," and "we expect to grow over time." We tried to get more measurable goals but they just couldn't articulate them. Nor did they reveal how much money they intended to spend.

After making guesses we wrote the best bid we could. It turns out that second developer bid about half of our price and a third bid five times as much!

These bids varied wildly but were all reasonably priced in their own way. How can that be? All three of us guessed about what the client really needed. The high bidder included expensive, time-consuming development processes that they hoped would be appropriate (and might have been if the budget was available.) The low bidder planned to cut corners because they guessed that's all the client would be able to afford.

Since the customer didn't articulate concrete expectations all three of us bidders had to make these guesses. In the end our firm won the job because we guessed closest to the price the client was secretly hoping to pay. But to be fair the other firms might also have produced fine sites for the same price if only they had known that's what was expected.

If the client had just revealed their budget up front they would have gotten three good bids to choose from instead of just one.

Moral: Don't hide your budget — web developers aren't mindreaders.

Ok, stop beating around the bush. How much?

  • Our base rate is $120/hour.
  • Most projects are quoted
  • 33-50% deposit required for new projects
  • Established clients billed monthly

But hourly rates are barely relevent

An expensive developer produces better results faster than a budget developer. Total costs are often lower with a more expensive developer.

We've often heard of the 4-hour developers. Want copy replaced? "4 hours." Want a new page added? "5 hours." Well, if the 4-hour developer charges you $50/hour and we can do it in one hour, you'll see why the hourly rate doesn't matter in the end.

And the result is more professional and maintainable which reduces your ongoing costs as well.

Moral: Don't choose professionals by their hourly rates — look instead at the total project cost.