How Much Will My Website Cost?

This is undoubtedly one of the most important questions that every client wants answered immediately. It’s surprising how many potential customers will call our office and request a ballpark quote. “Hello, how much do you charge for a normal website?”

Imagine walking into a local car dealership and asking, “How much do you charge for a normal car?" or a fabric supplier, "how long is a piece of string?"

It just sounds silly. But the problem isn’t that these potential customers are incompetent or ignorant. Most often, it's simply because a website isn’t something they buy frequently and because the technology evolves so quickly, these people are uneducated about the industry they are inquiring about. That’s when we come in to help them understand what it is we do and how we form our price estimates

Over the years, Dumbwaiter has done all kinds of projects ranging in price from $10,000 - $75,000 and up. This is not the price range we worked in 5 years ago and it won’t be the price range we work in 5 years from now. However, this is not unlike the price range you will find when shopping for a new car. What makes a Porsche cost $50,000+ and a Honda cost 1/3 of that price? It all boils down to the features and functionality. If you want the big V8 engine, a 6 disc CD player with Bluetooth, Bose speakers, and a sunroof, it will cost more than the same car with a V6 engine, standard single disc player, stock speakers, and no sunroof.

Each step in our process is flexible. That means the scope is flexible, and a flexible scope means flexible costs. However, more requirements means more complexity, and more complexity means higher costs.

Here at Dumbwaiter, we estimate the cost of your website based on what you tell us you need. What you tell us you need will determine how many hours we think it will take to execute a proper solution. The number of hours directly correspond to the price you see in our formal project proposals. Our pricing does factor in our geographic location, the years of collective experience held by our award-winning team of designers and developers, and the type of work being requested.

What major factors determine cost?

Generally speaking, there are a few categories of work that we find will increase the cost of a web project. These include, but are not limited to:

Online Marketing and Strategy: Do you have one currently? What do you want moving forward? If you are going to invest in a high quality new website, you should also make sure that your strategy for hitting a target market and meeting business objectives is in place.

Branding, Identity, and Logo Design: Again, do you have one? Do you need one? The logo is typically one of the first things people look for when viewing a website and if it doesn’t appear professional and trustworthy, its likely that the viewer won’t stick around to view the rest of the website either.

Interface Design: This is simply decided by how long it will take us to arrive at the look-and-feel of what we (you and Dumbwaiter) collectively envision for your business based on the outcome of our strategy phase.

Features and Functionality: Similar to Interface Design, this is all about how long it will take us to build all of the functionality and features you are requesting. Some features such as e-commerce may be common on the web, but this does not mean that they are simple to develop. There are plenty of pre-built solutions but those almost always require customization that can be very time-intensive sometimes even beyond what it would take our team to create from scratch. Not to mention those solutions would have to be compatible with our preferred development framework, Django.

Hosting: Typically this is the most inexpensive part of the project, but it is also one of the most important. This is the place where the website lives. It’s where all the files that run your brand new website are stored and accessed by your users/viewers. If the hosting solution is shoddy, your website may not always perform correctly which would negate all the time and effort spent creating a beautiful and intuitive website. That is why we always recommending hosting through our preferred hosting provider, Linode.

Testing: The more complex the website is, the more testing is required. Sometimes testing includes the user experience (wireframes), the back-end e-commerce development, or cross-browser compatibility (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer).

Rates & Pricing

A few quick Google searches for web design and development services will tell you that there is a myriad of prices and rates for what probably seems like the same type of work. Offshore companies may charge a few dollars per hour. Recent graduates may charge $12 - $18 per hour. Small boutique shops similar to Dumbwaiter may charge $75 - $150 per hour, and large national firms may charge $175 - $250 per hour.

The critical factors here are experience and quality. It may take an experienced developer working at $250 per hour only 10 minutes to complete the same task as a recent graduate who needs several hours at $25 per hour. Moreover, the experienced developer has likely thought-through every potential caveat so you won’t need his services again in a few weeks. The recent graduate may be getting a phone call from you about some loop-holes not long after the task has been completed.

At Dumbwaiter, our rate is based on what we believe is reasonable for the majority of our clientele and our process has been tailored to deliver web design and development services based on that cost.

If you are considering us for your next web project, please fill out our client questionnaire which will guide you through a short series of questions and facilitate the beginning of a well-informed conversation.