Posted 04.19.2011

How to Find the Right Designer / Developer (Part 3)

How does price relate to quality? You often hear “you get what you pay for.” But is that always true?

If I requested several proposals from various companies for a website, I’d get a range of quotes back. Let’s say ranging from $5,000 to $30,000. If “you get what you pay for” is true, then that makes the decision obvious, right? Go with the highest bid. But, is it really that easy?

Lawyers and doctors can charge an outrageous sum of money because of scarcity. Not many people have gone through the amount of schooling they have to be able to do that job with that level of excellence. Is the $30,000 bid about scarcity or the illusion of excellence? How do you tell the difference?

I’d argue that the price is not always right.

(Updated: I was re-reading this post and not sure I made the point I was trying to make). I believe there is a sweet spot with design. There’s a point where you do get what you pay for. On the low end, the design looks cheap because it is. On the other end: you’re paying for the false illusion of quality. It’s why you have “name brands.” A lot of times the generic brand is the exact same thing, but you’re willing to pay more for the label. So, where’s that sweet spot? The place where you’re paying for quality work and paying for what it’s worth?

My advice from the other day still stands: Look at their portfolio. Their work will speak louder than anything else that they say. You should be able to tell from the quality of their portfolio whether their services are worth the price they’re asking for. Remember someone will judge you’re doing within 5 seconds of visiting your site. You need your site to look great. Design is not something to skimp on. Pay attention to what they’re doing on other projects to see if you want them to take same approach taken with your work.