How can I get the best possible quote out of a web agency?

You need a new website, something that delights visitors and supports your business to perfection. But you have no idea how much it’s likely to cost. You could ask a web design agency to stick a metaphorical finger in the air and make an educated guess. But it’s much better to do a bit of judicious legwork first, provide them with a decent amount of information to work with, and get a much more accurate, fair and relevant quote. Here’s how.

6 ways to get a website design quote worth having

First of all, be clear about exactly what you want. As you can probably appreciate, it’s a challenge to provide a meaningful quote for a project – any project in any sector – when the boundaries are in any way fuzzy. As a general rule, the more information you provide, the more accurate the quote will be. Here’s what you need to think about.

  1. Do you know how many pages you need in your new website? You might have a reasonably clear idea, based on what competing businesses do or what your old website contains. If not, you can take a safe route and ask for a quote based on the basics more or less every website contains, for example home, about, services, contact and any sub-pages within the services categories. While it isn’t ideal, it’s better than nothing.
  2. Do you want to update the site’s content yourself or will you want support? If you have the time, inclination and know-how to upload fresh content yourself – stuff like blog posts and new products / services – that’s great. If not, your agency needs to know before they quote for the
  3. Do you already have a logo? Logo deaign and branding tend to be separate from web design itself, and your agency will want to quote separately for them
  4. Can you make a start on some of the content, writing copy for the pages you’ve specified? Or will you need help from a copywriter? Content creation has a cost attached, and it’s best to get it bottomed out early.
  5. Have you seen a web design you really love, that would suit your business down to the ground? You might find someone else in your sector or industry is doing things beautifully, and there’s sometimes no need to reinvent the wheel. On the other hand you might be more inclined to leave that side of things entirely to the agency, which’ll affect their quote.
  6. How much of the planning, if any, are you comfortable getting on with before you actually meet the agency face to face? The more complete the story you provide, the less work they’ll need to factor in, for example figuring out vital things like your brand values and target audience.

Making time to meet your agency face to face

If you don’t meet to discuss the ins and outs of your site design project, you can’t really expect a fully accurate quote. Visit the agency in person, engage with them fully, remember most agencies don’t charge for their time at this stage, and pull out every stop to ensure they get all the information they ask for.

Respect your agency’s expertise and experience

You might think you’ve pinned down every aspect of your new site beforehand, able to deliver the agency a fully-fledged, all-singing, all-dancing brief. But remain open to their expertise. Chances are you need more pages that you expect – even if it’s just a few – and you will all benefit from some time spent together on extra planning.

It’s really important to dedicate the right amount of time to the quote process. When you’re stingy with your time it’ll be a challenge for your agency to pull a quote out of fresh air, despite their expertise.

Bear in mind the agency has seen it all before. They’ve probably tackled projects similar to yours. There’s only so much difference between web design projects, so stay open to that advice if you want a meaningful quote that reflects the actual cost of doing the work.

Being realistic about your budget

Be realistic. Every agency wants to help, but they all have overheads and need paying for their time. If your budget is small, you need to tailor your expectations accordingly. You know the score – you’d probably feel the same way yourself. When someone expects absolutely everything for a very small payback, doing business gets very frustrating.

Pin things down early and you’ll benefit in the long term

Bear in mind it’s easier to tinker with your plans at quote stage than it is to change things later on and end up back-tracking. Although there’s always room for change throughout the life of a website design project,  it’s worth pinning down the vital basics as early as possible.