Ep 2 Am I Getting a Fair Website Proposal?

Daniel: Welcome back to Web6. This season we were talking about how to navigate the website project process. I’m Daniel Cowen.

Chris: And I’m Chris LaFay.

Reviewing your Proposal

Daniel: And today we’re going to be talking about the website proposal and we’re going to be discussing the question, am I getting a fair website proposal? So, as you’re working with an agency or a freelancer or whoever’s going to be doing your website with you, you want to know that you’re getting everything out on the table up front and that you’re getting a fair price and, and a very thorough proposal.

Chris: And that, that’s one thing that I feel like a lot of people, especially small business owners, that haven’t really gone through this process much, miss. Is when that proposal is sent out, making sure all of the things that you want are in that proposal. Because most of the time, whether it’s you’re working with a freelancer or an agency, that proposal is going to be transcribed into a contract. And if everything that you want for your website or whatever that project looks like isn’t in that proposal, chances are it won’t make it into the contract.

Proposal Meets Expectations

Daniel: Yeah. And I think there’s a mutual responsibility there between the client and the contractor to make sure that the requirements are properly gathered and documented. Because as a business owner, I may know that I need a website but I might not know everything that that website needs to be able to do. So I am looking for consultation from my web developer in terms of giving advice and, and kind of prescribing what a website needs to have. I mean, they’re the expert in websites, you know, I’m an expert in my, in my business, but I still have that responsibility to make sure that at least the things that I know I need are actually written down and documented.

Chris: And that’s one thing that I’ve noticed a lot about with, you know, kind of some of my clients back at the very beginning when I first was getting started is a lot of them just wanted for me to check off all their boxes and that’s it. But I really feel like now, especially given how the web is progressing and we have all these easy website building softwares that make your websites look nice. That’ll make them functional. And having that consultant, whether it’s a freelance or whether it’s an agency and actually getting some of that consultative value from them is really important because like what you were saying was, you know, they’re paying for your services, they’re paying for the knowledge that you have in your head. And a lot of times the clients that you know, we have a chance to work with, they’re not web developers, they’re not experts on usability. They don’t, they don’t know a lot of this stuff. And so partnering with somebody that has some of that experience really works out well in the long run for how your project will unfold and the value that you get from it longterm.

Daniel: Yeah, and even that can be a part of the proposal that you’re getting from your contractor is you know how much of what they’re doing is just technical. I’m going to build the website, I’m going to design it. I’m going to fill out the forms and how much of that is, how much of what you’re getting from your contractor is, you know, your — their thinking, their expertise rolled into it. Even something that’s not as tangible can be a part of that proposal. So if you’re getting certain, a certain number of hours of consultation, you want that to even be spelled out in the proposal itself. And I think another thing that people sort of miss as they’re looking, especially early on, if you’ve never done a website project before for your company is you know, how much back and forth do I get with the developer. So we would call that the revision counts. So am I getting, you know, one and done? Am I getting, you know, unlimited revisions? It’s probably more reasonable to have, you know, just a handful, but make sure that that’s something that’s communicated in the proposal, as well.

Discussing Concerns with Developer

Chris: And that’s one thing. One of our clients actually brought up recently is in our contract we have a limitation of two revisions on most projects. That’s how we roll with things. And he wanted to make sure before he signed the contract that he was going to basically like what he saw cause he didn’t want to get into a contract to where he was stuck with a limited number of revisions. And that’s one thing you have to think about as well is because of the way that we work is we do a lot of our work on the upfront, we do a lot of wireframing processes, we do a lot of discovery and stylization and a lot of examples of things before we actually get to the design process, which is where most — most of your back and forth with your development designing company is going to happen is that creative process when those mockups and designs are created. And for him, making sure that that was spelled out and just having the confidence that he’s gonna like what he sees was very important.

Daniel: Yeah. And I think we’ll probably talk about this in a later episode, but another thing that that speaks to is make sure that you’re, that you’re testing and making sure that you’re happy before you give your approval. And that’s gonna that’s plays along with that revision count. So just because a contractor is only offering you two or three revision rounds of revision, you know, to your point, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be unhappy, but it does mean that you have to be very clear about your communication

Chris: And have it and having clear communication throughout the process, especially when you’re doing revisions is critical. And that’s actually something that we’re probably going to talk about later. So I won’t dive into that at all. But another element of the proposal process that I didn’t want to forget about is timelines. And with the creative process does take, it takes some time. But knowing ahead of time in your proposal, in your contract, what that estimated timeline looks like is critical. Because you don’t want to, you don’t want to be stuck in a place where a project that you thought in your head was going to take one month, but now it ends up taking two or three. But there was never that communication factor there.

Project Timeline Defined

Daniel: Yeah, I mean you’re going to hear me say this over and over again, but don’t assume anything. Make sure everything is written down on paper. So if you know that you need your website to go live on a certain date than the written timeline in the proposal and the contract should reflect that. And I would say don’t, don’t accept a timeline that is just one date. Make sure that the deliverables along the way are also spelled out on the timeline. So you know, when will I be getting the designs, when will I be getting the mockups, when will I see the first demo of the site, when will you know, when will these check boxes, you know, be checked and and so that we’re not just dealing with you know, an end date, but you actually are brought along in the process as the client. You are an active part of this project and this whole process. So I would say don’t, you know, on a proposal and a contract, don’t accept a timeline that just has one date, but really make sure that it’s fleshed out and ask the questions

Chris: And be okay if some of those deliverable dates have a range. I know one thing is whenever we spell out a timeline at the very beginning of the project, we put a one week deliverable for going live. Just because you don’t know exactly when everything is going to be 100% finished, especially when you’re doing a lot of creative work, that requires a lot of time and a lot of iterations. Sometimes. Sometimes if you have two revisions in your contract, sometimes you only need one and that might speed things up. But with, especially with going live, a lot of times going live has to be done late in the evenings and you have to make sure that you have team members available to test and check things out when that site goes live. So long story short is just be okay with a range of time just so that you have and just really built for your flexibility. And the developer designer’s flexibility as well.

Price Matches Budget + Expectations

Daniel: Well, I think the, the big question that people want to know about proposals is “how do I know if the price is fair.” And that’s a whole ball of wax and a whole big question. There really is not going to be able to be answered in a, in a conversation like this, but we have like in my mind, I would suggest making sure that you know what you’re getting so you know if you believe that that is worth the price that they’re asking.

Chris: Exactly and know what you’re going to be getting out of this as well in order. If you’re a larger company, do you have a lot of revenue and you do a lot of that revenue through your site, chances are you’re going to need to spend more money on your site so that you can continue and get a larger ROI from a new website. If you’re a small business, you’re just getting started and all you need is something up there just to prove that you exist because you’re doing a lot of the sales yourself. Nothing is transacted online. Chances are you’re going to pay a smaller price. So just know that relative to the size of your business and how much your website actually does for you to run your business, chances are the higher that price point is going to be, so that you can continue running it at the same efficiency, if not better, efficiency.

Daniel: Right. And you can avoid pitfalls down the road if you if you know what you’re getting out of that proposal and you know what you’re getting for the money that you are, you know, paying your contractor.

Chris: And I think that about wraps it up for today. Thank you so much for joining us today. And we will be back in next week.

Headshot of Chris LaFay

Chris LaFay

Chris's goal in life is to conduct connection and bring heart to every interaction in life. He puts humans above to-dos. He consistently brings the band back together, leveraging long-term relationships across a swathe of experience to empower career transitions, life event pivots, and, ultimately, an incredibly versatile, flexible, and creative team for his clients.