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Is is better to pay for a project altogether or by the hour? We go over the reasons why payment by the project may be better for everyone involved.

The other day I had an interesting call with someone that wanted to go with a company that would quote out their website project by the estimated hours versus by the overall project, like we do here, and I felt that others would find it interesting why we don’t do this here at Studio98.

When one talks about the estimated-hour route, they are talking about a company that estimates websites being quoted by the estimated hours it will take to get you up and running as well as the rate they’ll charge you if you go over the estimated amount.

Some companies like this route because it’s a gamble. They hope they’ll spend less hours than estimated and they’re hopeful they’ll be the exception.

If you decideto go with a company that charges projects by the hour, you must know a few things that that company can do. They can underestimate your project to get the sale and then once it gets to the point they’ve hit the “60 hours for design”, you are now stuck with that company. Once you have invested thousands of dollars, you can not easily withdraw, hand the work they that’ve done to another company and finish the project.

I have talked to clients that have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars looking to build systems this way and theystilldidn’t wind up happy the the finished product.And they come to me dejected and skeptical of every company that ever existed in web design.

Whether or not a company is good at this method or not, the fact is, they are not incentivizedto make the most out of every hour of work or conversation.A family member recently had to get their will reviewed by a lawyer and they were paying $750 an hour and the lawyer loved to talk. And he got paid a lot of money to talk too! Subconsciously or consciously, he was incentivized to talk. What if you get started with your project and your Project Manager is a talker? Are you going to feel disgruntled?

You also do not know how many hours they really spent. We hope every company will be honest but, are you really going to sit over their shoulder and time each step of the project?

This process can also make a person feel rushed. While we encourage every client to keep moving forward, by not doing the project by the hours, our clients can relax and get what they feel is truly a good design. When one has run out of hours and they are “so-so” about their project, they tend to become complacent or can’t afford more time to spend on it, thus getting a mediocre website.

So when asked why we have decided to charge by the project, it’s simple. We feel we’re supposed to be the experts in custom web design and how to communicate your business properly online. You’re the expert in your industry, so if we don’t do that in the first draft of your website or under “estimated amount of hours”, its on us. It’s our responsibility to make sure we effectively communicate with our clients the first time and we’re incentivized to do so.

I’m sure we’ve all felt exasperated when you’ve hired a service person to come into your home, they work for hours and charge you for their time and it stilldoesn’twork. It’s still broken. I think other industries could benefit from this type of strategy. They would retain many more clients long term. You will most likely find that companies that have survived negative economies and are growing, they put a true emphasis on happy customers and good finished products or services.

We are one of those.

Natalie Nagengast

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