We’ve chatted a lot about collaborating with a developer and know it’s something that more designers are beginning to explore. But a part of the process a lot of designers are intimidated by is the pricing.
Do I just list my design prices on my website and quote separately for development? Do I list the whole package? How does it all work?
Today, we’ll answer your pricing questions by going over how to work a developer’s pricing into your design packages.
Why a developer’s price needs to be included in yours
It’s common for designers to start by just including their own prices on their websites and including a note that says development isn’t included. Doing it this way is tempting, but it’s not the best approach.
When you have development quoted separately, there are a few problems that will come up:
- Your potential clients don’t understand the difference between design and development, so it won’t make sense to them that the two are separate prices.
- People with budgets similar to the prices listed on your website will reach out to you and go MIA once they realize that development increases the price by so much.
Instead, when you include it all as one package it’s much easier for your potential clients to make sense of and you know they won’t be surprised by a higher total price.
How to add a developer’s pricing to your packages
The first thing to do is figure out the exact packages you want listed on your website. For example, if you want a simple blog design option, a website option, and an e-commerce option, figure out exactly what each of those will include. Along with that, determine how much you want to make with your portion of the cost and how long your personal timeline will take. That way, you’re less likely to underprice or shorten your timeline after you chat with a developer.
From there, send your packages to your developer so they can give you their quote and timeline. You’ll probably even find that they’ll have a few things they can offer to add to your packages like SEO, support, and training.
Then, you can combine your developer’s information with your own and add it to your website as one complete package.
What to do if you’re concerned about the higher price
If you’re already charging what your development work is worth, this isn’t going to be a problem. You’ll just give that portion of the project cost to the developer.
However, 99% of designers severely undercharge themselves for development. Many don’t even consider development time within their design packages and it’s more of an afterthought instead.
With that being said, it makes sense for your prices to increase whether or not you decide to bring a developer on.
Create multiple packages
The first option if you’re not ready to boost all your prices is to have packages on your website with and without custom development costs. For example, you could have three packages with the following development included:
- No development – instead, you’re using a template and doing the setup on your own
- Semi-custom – choose a template and have a developer do some customizations
- Custom – here’s where the full cost of the developer comes in and you’ll be able to design a fully custom site
With this approach you can do more of a gradual increase and don’t have to worry about scaring your current audience away.
Gradually increase your prices before working with a developer
If you know that a large price increase will happen when you bring on a developer, you can start gradually increasing your prices leading up to working with them. For example, figure out what your new prices will be and increase by 30% every 2 months to reach that new price after 6 months total.
With this, you might need to work on targeting slightly different clients, which we talked about in Episode 006!
Challenges to be aware of
Once you’ve got your packages ready and your developer’s prices are included on your website, you’re not quite done. There are still a few common challenges that seem to come up that you’ll want to be aware of.
A developer increasing their prices without telling you
When someone else’s packages are a part of yours, it’s important that you know when they raise their prices. You don’t want to go to someone with a client only to learn that their prices have increased and they’re not willing to honor the past ones they gave you.
To avoid this, set a reminder in your calendar every couple months to check-in with your developer to make sure their prices haven’t increased.
Matching up your availability
Good developers get booked up quickly, which can be a problem if you’re trying to schedule a project to start immediately.
To protect against losing clients because of your developer’s availability, have a backup plan. Whether that’s doing the coding yourself or working with a backup developer, know what action you’ll take before it happens the first time.
Working with multiple developers
Like we just went over, having multiple developers on hand can be helpful in making sure you always have someone available. However, this can be a little tricky since developers will have different prices.
You’ll likely find that developer’s with similar skill sets have similar prices, which makes this easier, but include the pricing of the more expensive developer on your website. That way, if you end up working with the lower-priced developer on your website you either have the option of lowering the price for your client (which always makes them happy) or keeping the extra profit for yourself.
Preparing a final quote
You’ve likely found that clients don’t tend to book the exact packages you have on your website. There’s always something that has to be added, removed, or tweaked.
If you don’t have a plan of attack for that, this can add days to the quoting process between you and your developer. To avoid this, ask your developer for what exact information they need to quote a custom project. Some will even have a form you can fill out for each project. That way, there’s one simple back-and-forth that needs to happen and you can get a quote out to your client more quickly.
- Figure out the exact packages you want to offer your clients
- Contact your current developer (or someone you’d like to work with) to get the final details sorted out
- Other episodes on working with a developer: 003, 008, 013, 028
- Get Back To Design email series
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