I’ve written this to give you an idea of how I work. Feel free to ask me about any of it…
I can work to any budget .. although of course the more you are prepared to pay, the more of my time you can afford. Tell me about your business, what sort of website you want, what you already have (content, artwork, images), and what facilities you think you need and then we can discuss how much it might cost. And its not just the website.. there are also decisions to make about your domain name, your email, your hosting provider, and future support and help.
And if you are trying to create an Aston Martin on a Skoda budget, I’ll let you know.
I don’t give fixed price quotes.
Why? Because all projects are different and clients work in many different ways. With experience I have found that a fixed price model can be very unfair to those who know a lot about websites, have very clear ideas about what they need and who work very efficiently. They tend to end up paying more than they need to. Conversely, a fixed price estimate can make for a very bad business relationship with those who work slowly or keep changing their minds .. which is a shame, because that’s no barrier to having a website! Its much better if you pay for the amount of time I actually work .. and on balance, you will generally end up paying more if you go along the fixed price route.
However, of course I realise that people have budgets to work with, and for that reason I can normally give you a pretty accurate estimate. I can also steer you if you start to work in a way that means we won’t be able to stick to the budget we have agreed on.
When do I start paying?
The age-old problem .. when does an “enquiry” become a planning meeting, and when does the clock go ON.
I try to be very clear about this, but I am also quite flexible as some projects need more initial talking and planning before you can be sure. As long as you accept that it is unreasonable for me to work for free, I think we will understand each other. I am always clear about the point at which “chat” is turning into “work”.
I know some people prefer to chat on the phone and some prefer email, and I am happy to do either. But, you will ALWAYS get a quicker response if you email me rather than phoning.
It is also true that the most efficient way for you to communicate website updates to me is by listing them in an email.
So .. email first .. and if you want to chat, we can arrange a convenient time to do so.
All work is charged at £48 an hour and I generally invoice at the end of each 2-3 hour chunk. This means that you can see how things are going and there are no nasty surprises. It also means that if you have to suspend the project for a while, I am not left hanging around and unpaid.
Once a client has been with me for a while, I am happy to keep a tab of small bits of work and then invoice now and then.
I ask for payments within 14 days, but can be flexible if this doesn’t fit your business model.
Chargeable work includes phone calls, emails and work done .. ie all time spent on your project.
Website support and emergency advice
I am only me, and so I obviously cannot offer 24/7 support! And I do not work on websites full time. However, if you read my testimonials you will see that I am known for my quick response times and willingness to help. If you have a problem, please check here on my advice page first in case it is a known issue that I am already working on. This saves me explaining the same things to multiple people, and frees me to deal with the source of the issue. This is also the place I will post notices about what to do if I am unavailable.
In the unlikely event that something does go wrong, although I will always do my best, you must always be aware that situations can happen that might be out of my control .. for example complex hacking incidents or companies going out of business. Whilst I try and put systems in place to prevent and/or minimise the impact of such events, I definitely don’t guarantee to prevent them, nor to be able to fix them at a speed of your choice. If your business needs a more robust IT infrastructure than this, then you would be advised to go to a bigger organisation.
My philosophy is always to think about what the worst case scenario might be. Many of my clients have small websites that could quite easily be recreated from scratch if they were to disappear, but things that can take longer to fix are things like Google marking you as hacked, or your domain provider going bankrupt. If you are at all worried about this and want to discuss further, please do.
Email issues and IT support
I do not provide any formal email set-up advice or ongoing support. However, I can refer you to partners who do.
Say it like it is
I am very down to earth and I prefer it that we are straight with each other. If you don’t like my design, please don’t worry about offending me. The quickest way we can get from A to B is to be honest and say what we mean.
And please don’t ever worry about “bothering me”, or “it going on too long”. You are paying me for my time, and I won’t feel I’ve done a good job unless you love the site and it does exactly what you wanted it to do.
Likewise, if you have asked me to do something that I don’t think will work, or are working in a way that is preventing me doing a good job or will take you above your budget, I will let you know.
Hosting and domain renewals
I am happy to arrange hosting and domain registration for you. In this case, the domain registration will always be in your own name, but the services may be either in my name or yours. Generally these days I like to put them in your name so that you do all of the renewals yourself and are not tied to me.
If the services are in my name, when it is time for the yearly renewal, I will pay it for you and invoice you the payment plus my £15 fixed admin charge. Renewals tend to take place within 60 days of expiry, so you will need to give me at least 2 months notice if you have decided not to continue for any reason. If you don’t give me enough notice and I have already paid the renewal, then you will be liable for the full amount. In practice, most clients are in regular contact with me so this situation is unlikely to occur.
Meetings & Training session
All meetings and training sessions take place here at my office in Teddington. If you are in the Teddington area I am happy to travel to you if we agree this between us.
Meetings outside the area are occasionally possible, but I will charge for the travelling time.
Keeping your website going
I have always tried not to be someone who continually bombards my clients with suggestions of more work I can do for them, but occasionally it just has to be done. For example over the last few years I have been adapting older sites to make them mobile friendly which has now become essential.
But rest assured that I am always here and able to give you suggestions, improvements, keep an eye on your site to check all is OK, review your situation and generally anticipate problems before they start to happen. I can also advise you about how your website can evolve if your business is taking a new direction.
And if someone else suggests something different you should do, please always check with me first. I have had a couple of clients who have gone to other suppliers, spent a lot of money, been dissatisfied and then come back to me.
It always pays to ask me first.. even if you still decide to go elsewhere.
So, what next?
Well if you’ve got this far, thanks for reading! I imagine you’re a member of my family or an old school friend who’s looked me up…
But in case you’re someone who’s been thinking about getting a website, please do contact me and we can start the ball rolling. Its a lot easier than you might think.