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Why paying less is often more expensive

With the recession in full swing in South Africa, I've often been approached by people looking to get websites done for next to nothing. Some of them approaching me with offers from some "web designer" that offers them a full service dynamic website, with hosting, and maintenance for around R 500 - R 1,000 per year. This article will give you some insight on why it is often more expensive going for the cheapest option.

It's all in mathematics

Ahh, not everyones favorite subject, but lets do some quick calculations. Let's say you get the whole package for R 1,000 per year. The cheapest hosting you can find out there, costs around R 20 per month - the designer needs to pay for that, so that brings his profit down to R 760 per year. If a person works from Monday to Friday, all public holidays included and takes absolutely no time off in a year, he has approximately 260 working days per year.

Let's further assume that the "web designer" struck it lucky (IE still lives with his parents) and only needs to pay off his car of about R 2,000 per month, with insurance that's around R 2,600 per month. ADSL or 3G internet with about 10 GB's of usage costs around R 800 per month and I'm calculating on absolutely the most aggressive prices available. Then he probably has a cellphone costing around R 500 per month. That brings monthly costs to around R 3,900.

Computers age in maximum 3 years

Replacing a computer or laptop every 3 years is an expensive excersize, a macbook or macbook pro won't cost less than R 18,000, then you still need Adobe Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver and Fireworks the combined total comes in at around R 9,000. That's another R 27,000 every 3 years, which works out to about R 750 per month that needs to be saved in order to stay current with technology.

That equates to R 4,650 per month before the cheap "web designer" even starts making profit and I'm not even talking about somebody who lives on his own, eats, has any kind of savings, a family, throws in petrol, etc. That's an expense of R 55,800 per year, which equates to 74 clients before he makes a sent. Now 74 doesn't seem like a lot for a walk in business, but in web design it's quite a bunch.

Time is our enemy

A well constructed website that's cross browser compatible, search engine optimised, unique, and customized to your requirements takes an experienced, well qualified developer at least 1 week to complete from conceptualization to launch. Then the poor developer works about 12 hours per day and has a very inspirational time. Nobody can work like that for a whole month, let alone a year.

Somewhere corners are cut...wether it be in the legallity of his software, quality of service, actual technical quality of your site, etc.

We all work for something

Wether it be that nice house at the beach, saving for your child's education, an early retirement, whatever the motivation, we all work to achieve some goal. Some of us love our jobs, others tolerate it, but at the end of the day you don't live for your job, your job is a means to an end, and what end can there be if you work yourself to death without turning any profits. As web designers we should consider this and not kill our own industry, and as a client carefully consider, next time you want a proper web designer, what you expect of this person, and if you are willing to let your corporate image suffer in order to save a few bucks...