Business of the Web Part 1 : $10 an hour vs. $100 an hour rates

One of the questions that many clients ask me is: Why should I pay $100 an hour for Studio A when Studio B is offering the same for $10 an hour? While this may seem like an obvious answer for those of us in the industry, it’s a good question and an equally hard one to answer.

The Porsche of Design

In the consumer world, you often equivocate price with quality and value. While you may be willing to pay $500 for a Chevy clunker, you would never paid $50,000 for the same car. Why? Because you know that that car is not a $50,000 car. The same goes with designer clothes, electronics and about every tangible thing out there. However, web services tend to be more difficult to value. Clients often don’t understand the difference between a bad designer and a good designer; or worse a bad developer and a good developer. It’s easy to see the difference between a Chevy Cavaliar and a Porsche Turbo. Not the same online.

Is More Expensive Always Better?

Not always. You always have some overpriced clunkers. But it’s a good indication. There are many good reasons to charge $100 an hour:

  • First and foremost the market bears it, and it’s actually a medium price for web services, there are firms that charge upwards of $200 an hour
  • The more expensive firm most likely has better design education and principles, meaning they can turn out a better looking website, which helps your business in the long run. (I’ll explain why in a future post)
  • They follow web development standards. Their code is clean, precise, validates, and works in all modern browsers. They also use SEO friendly code and make their tags accessible. (I’ll also explain why this is important in a future post)
  • And frankly, in the web world, you get what you pay for. I have never seen a $500 website even come close to being what a $5,000 website is. There are always corners cut.

Still not convinced? Let’s use another example. Let’s say you need a lawyer to handle some case. Would you trust that the lawyer charging $10 an hour or $100 an hour could have the necessary skills to win your case? Or even more…would the $250 an hour lawyer be more fit to handle your case? The same goes for the web world: be it web design, web development, SEO or programming. You get what you pay for.