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Client Tip 1: The Budget

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

When a client approaches a design agency for a website either as a representative of a company or for themselves they should have assessed exactly what they are willing to pay for a website. If a client doesn’t have a budget then they really don’t need a website. The way I see it if a client isn’t prepared to figure out something so basic it’s a waste of time because more often than not these are the people that think they can get a website for £100.

The Conversation

So with a budget decided a client will contact an agency and start the conversation over their basic needs and requirements. At some stage an agency will ask what a client’s budget is and worried that any quote will match their budget exactly a client will clam up. For most agencies this is not the case, all the agency is doing is saving time and ensuring any quote will be as suitable as possible. Take an example of a client wanting the next Twitter or Facebook but only has a budget of £1000. After attempting not to laugh an agency will say it’s an unrealistic target and if possible estimate the actual cost or explain what exactly is possible for such a budget.

Be Trusting

A lot of this comes from the mistrust of the client in regards to the agency. In the case of Bronco (who I work for) we employ no sales people and almost all of our work comes solely from referral and word or mouth. In this situation a client has usually already decided they want to work with us and know from previous clients that have promoted us that we won’t rip them off, so a level of trust should already exist.

Playing the Game

So how do you play the budget game? Simple, you need to be a poker player and bluff a little and know when to not show all your cards. Let’s say the client has decided on a budget of £10,000, but when talking to a design agency they say their budget is £9000. Assuming these figures are realistic for the work two things can happen:

  1. The agency return a quote detailing the work required can be achieved within this budget. This leaves an extra £1000 for unforeseen costs or additions they wish to make to the site at a later date.
  2. Or the agency provides a more open quote. On one side the quote will state the cost they feel is required for the project, which if still inside a client’s actual £10,000 budget is great or they scale back the website feature list to meet the stated budget.

The Result

What this does is give the client a little more power and control so they do not feel as if they are being ripped off as well as allowing the design agency to quote for work safe in the knowledge that it won’t be a waste of time when a client states an unrealistic budget afterwards.

The thing to remember is if a client has decided on a budget that this figure is not only what they can afford but what they would be comfortable paying. If the full budget is spent then is there really any problem as this money will have already be allocated for the project.