Over the pizza and beers at the last London WooCommerce meetup I heard a shop owner ask a familiar question. It’s something that really splits opinion. A major frustration for both developers and clients.
It’s a real shame as I think both parties misunderstand where the frustrations lie. What’s the question?
Well, it’s about money. “What is your budget?”.
Most things in life are priced already. When you ask a baker for some bread he doesn’t ask you what your budget is. You look at the prices and make a decision based on that.
It’s not the same when you come to build your website. Often the first thing that a developer will ask is how much you want to spend.
The cynical reply to this will be “as little as possible” but this isn’t very helpful. In fact cheap is not what you want. I’m sure you have heard the expression “Buy cheap, buy twice”. What you should be looking for is great value.
Another reply I’ve heard is “I don’t have a budget”. This is likely not true, it just means that the client hasn’t got a good idea about what they need to spend.
People are guarded when it comes to money. Understandably, nobody wants to get ripped off. They’ll say they don’t have a budget but if you ask them if they can afford a £20,000 build they may quickly tell me this is out of their budget…
Something for every budget
It’s an important question to ask because there are many solutions out there. Your budget is a major factors to determine which solution is suitable for you.
In this article I am going to look at the different options available, why they cost different amounts and how they are costed.
When you approach an agency or freelancer you can use this as a guide and have an idea of what you are looking for and your budget. A classic bugbear of agencies is not receiving much spec from the client. We too often get enquiries asking how much will it cost to “build them a website”.
It’s like asking a builder “how much does it cost to build a house”. The question is way to broad. Hopefully this guide can also help you locate where your project fits.
3 options for a WooCommerce Project
Here are the three main types of project, starting with the lowest in cost. For each type of project there will be an increase in time for:
- User Experience / Design
1. Modified Theme
This option includes finding an existing WooCommerce compatible theme such as Storefront and modifying it for your needs. There will be less work and it will be better supported on-going.
Problems: You will be limited to the designs of the original theme you are using.
2. The Kitchen Sink Custom Theme
A package for sites that want to have a unique design but don’t want to rework absolutely everything.
Have a custom design that works with existing out-of-the-box layouts. Rather than re-building each aspect from scratch the designer will design around a Style page.
We call this the kitchen sink page as it has everything in the kitchen sink in it. It has all elements of a page will be here: Headers, body text, drop down buttons, product thumbnails – you name it.
This package will design and build two things:
- The outer wrapper for all pages – this is everything that the main page elements exist within
- The Kitchen Sink elements – all the individual elements on the style page
Out of the box WooCommerce and WordPress will use default templates for all the types of pages of the site. For instance the WooCommerce checkout layout will be inherited from WooCommerce.
It doesn’t need to be constructed. This checkout page will consist of dropdown boxes, headers, notices and such like. Because these elements are all styled on the Kitchen Sink page the work done there will be inherited.
Problems: You will have to use the standard templates that come out of the box
3. The Fully Bespoke Custom Theme
This package builds upon the previous package. The fully bespoke package will re-build templates from scratch. The checkout page for instance may have a new structure. Perhaps the designer wants to split the payment process into a number of stages.
The checkout template will be re-built. Rather than just inheriting the styles that were put in place on the Kitchen Sink style page.
Problems: Custom templates will need on-going upkeep. You might find that when updating that templates break. This will need a developer to come in and update.
As of Summer 2015 we have our packages based on the above logic. You can take a look here it how we calculate the time to build each type of website.
We measure how many days for working on each template. We calculate the time to work on responsive as 50% the time that taken to work on the template. So if we spend 2 days for a template it will take 1 day for responsive.
Each project is unique and may require additional days to integrate any specific functionality or extension required. These provide the foundation to cost up projects.
N.B We have an additional package shown above not mentioned in our breakdown. This is called WooPro where we do additional build work on the WooCommerce shop and product pages
Experienced freelancers and agencies typically charge from £200 to £700 per day. At the higher end of the spectrum you will be looking at developers with more niche skills who are likely to be involved in more custom work.
Higher prices also indicate you are working for agencies who have more resources for you. You’re paying more but if you need some work done quicker or at short notice then you will find that they are better able to accommodate you. They have budget for it.
Although there is a shift to costing work as packages (and in terms of value) it is still commonplace to use a day rate as a stick in the ground for measuring work. If you are not given a breakdown of the days involved, then you can make some assumptions about their day rate from the total cost. This can help compare the value you are getting.
It’s about time I bring out I bring out the holy trinity of pricing!
This is often neglected or not budget for. But it’s important! Take a look at an article I’ve written about common expectations and misconceptions with WooCommerce.
Budgeting for on-going work is important. Even more so when you are getting any custom work done. Make sure you discuss this with your agency or freelancer.
Good WooCommerce developers get booked up quickly. Bear the Good-Fast-Cheap ratio in mind and remember that your developer might be booked up 3 months ahead. Have a clear time frame in mind.
Design can often take more than a month before it can be given to a developer, so this is another consideration.
What do you think of these prices and how would you like to see developers and agencies approach costing projects? Let us know in the comments.
If you would like to get in touch about any projects you can contact us via our contact form.