Website and branding projects need budget indications from clients

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Website and branding projects need budget indications from clients

For many agencies, that headline will be enough. But the industry has a duty to educate clients wherever possible; whether that be about the perceived ‘Dark Art’ of website development, or the cost – both opportunity and financial – of producing proposals for a website design, website development or branding project.

Recently, Click has been unsuccessful in winning two pieces of work. In both instances the primary reason given was that the cost was too high. In both instances, despite the information being requested, no budget indication was provided.

Because of this, Click has decided that it will not respond to any future tenders that do not provide a budget indication.

As a very rough estimate, putting together a solid proposal for a £10k web development project can take between 16 and 48 people hours, dependent on the specifics of the brief.  That could mean an actual cost of between £500 and £2500, and an opportunity cost of up to £5k. For other agencies going for bigger development or design projects, it could well be more.

That’s a big risk to take without any value to assess it against.

Potential clients often tell us that they are interested to see what costs are submitted because they are not clear on what to expect, or how much things like this cost. Having been on the client side, I can understand this reasoning. If you have little experience in web development or brand design, it can be useful to see what responses and associated costs are proposed.

If this is the situation, it is far better to request some creds docs and choose a few agencies to speak to. Alternatively, work with an agency or digital consultant to help develop a brief first. Click has taken this approach with a number of clients and it has proven to be very successful. It is irresponsible business practise to advertise an invitation to tender, have a number of agencies spending time and money on a proposal, and then decide not to go ahead because the costs were too high if a budget indication wasn’t provided in the first place.

There are so many variables involved in website development and brand design that it is entirely possible to spend a few thousand or even a few million pounds on a project, and anything in between. Therefore it is essential that a budget indication is provided so an agency knows what to aim for. A useful indication can, for example be “between £15k and £20k”. This information gives agencies a vital starting point. First to decide whether it makes business sense to develop a proposal for the project, and secondly to understand what they can deliver within that budget in order to achieve the project goals.

Far better to receive five strong responses that are all within the available budget,  than fifty that are too expensive and therefore a waste of everyone’s precious time.

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