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what are your experiences here?

Well, I am probably not the best person to be answering this because my company is quite new and has only done a few sites to date.

When we have a prospective customer, we like to try and meet with them to offer a free consultation. This gives us a chance to determine what their needs are and what they are hoping to have a website provide for their business. Once we have an idea of their needs, we then have two routes that we can take:

1. We have a few pre-defined packages that will encompass what many people are looking for in a basic website. If we feel that one of these packages will meet the needs of the client, we suggest this approach. Within our pre-defined packages, we have a breakdown of what is included and a disclaimer that anything outside the scope of that package will be billed at an hourly rate.

2. We can provide a detailed estimate for design and development. The detailed estimate is broken down to a granular level to indicate total time and cost per piece of functionality. This allows the client to either accept the entire proposal or to adjust it according to their budget.

As for hard numbers, we decided to go with what we felt was a fair number for our services. While we are in this to make money, we are approaching this as a side business so we may not need to be as high as someone doing this for their only wages. But at the same time we haven't gone so low that people wonder why our prices are so low. I think we are quite competitive.

A local company that I am familiar with just recently had their corporate site redesigned. The firm that they had selected to do the site seemed grossly overpriced to me and the timeline seemed quite lengthy in my opinion for what they were getting. For reference, this firm basically charged $1000 per page which included redesign of the entire site and all new code. I almost choked when I was told how much they were paying to have their site redesigned.

When you indicate that you have done pricing in terms of hours, do you provide a breakdown? Also, do you charge various hourly rates for different technologies? We have a tiered rate structure where basic skills are charged at a lower rate than more advanced programming.

Another area we have a few options is for maintenance contracts. We basically took the same approach where we have a few pre-defined packages that include specific maintenance features and anything in excess of that is charged per hour, or the client can simply pay on-demand at an hourly rate.

What approach have you taken to winning new business? Do you advertise anywhere? How effective do you think that has been? To this point, we have not spent a dime promoting our business and have only followed leads from within our network. But that is not leading to a whole lot of business so we have thought of exploring other avenues.

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