Digital Transformation

Understanding Proposals and Budgets

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Understanding Proposals and Budgets

When faced with a handful of proposals, how do you choose which website design proposal — and service provider — will be best for your business? We’ve compiled a few answers to some frequently asked questions for understanding proposals and budgets.

  1. What is a proposal?
  2. Why are these proposals so different?
  3. Why are they so expensive?
  4. What am I really getting?
  5. How do I know if a proposal is worth the investment?
  6. Tips for choosing the right partner

What is a proposal?

No matter the service provider you choose to approach, reputable ones will provide you with a proposal.

A proposal may be delivered under a different name (i.e. a quote or estimate), but should always contain information that clearly outlines a proposed budget, scope of work, and how a service provider will help you accomplish your goals.

We’ve previously delved into what really goes into building a website: content, development, design, and all.

Websites are a complex piece of any digital platform, and even DIY website builders like WordPress.com, Squarespace and Wix require at least a general knowledge of how a website’s components work together.

But really, they require content and a contemporary aesthetic. That’s what makes the all the difference when building a website — and choosing the right partner for you.

Building a website is no small feat, and many professionals and small businesses may choose to work with a freelance website designer, an agency, or digital brand management experts.

1. Why are proposals so different?

As every service provider is different, so are the proposals they provide. The creative work involved and the processes used differ from team to team and may impact what you’ll receive at the end of a project.

When it comes to building a website — because there are so many components that make up a website — the scope of work quoted between each team can vary greatly.

Are you getting branding?

Are you getting a custom theme?

Are you getting copy? Translation?

What exactly is included?

Ultimately, each team will assess your needs and provide a package based on what they think you need. But each team’s assessment can vary.

This is why it’s vital to get familiar with proposals — and terminology — presented to you to ensure you can learn, understand, and differentiate between what makes each proposal unique.

Some key variables to review in a proposal are:

  • Scope of work: An overview of the project, including deliverables, process, schedule, and more.
  • Type of work: A description of the specific types of deliverables and the depth of service provided. E.g. A templated website or a custom-designed website.
  • Number of revisions: A statement of how many rounds of changes you’re allotted— and how comprehensive these changes can be.
  • Extra fees: A list of additional and sometimes optional add-on fees, including taxes, extra revisions, rush fees, copywriting, etc.

It’s essential to determine a clear scope of work before you get started so you know exactly what you’re getting.

On top of that, projects can evolve over time. You may decide that you’d like to add a page, or include a different feature. By having a clear understanding of the initial scope, you’ll be better able to adjust, manage your budget, and make decisions accordingly.

Proposals will also differ based on a team’s level of experience. You’ll also want to evaluate:

  • Experience: How long has the professional or agency been offering their services? How many projects have they worked on within your industry?
  • Skill: Have they specified how their strategy has benefitted previous clients? Does their proposal instill confidence that they can do they job?
  • Talent: Usually, a team’s past work is representative of the work they can do for you. Do they have a portfolio of work that fits your vision? Do you love their work?

Ultimately, it’s important to take the time to understand the proposal, and make sure the proposal truly meets your needs.

 2. “Why are proposals so expensive?”

It may go without saying, but cheaper is not always better.

Any project with the aim of changing an area of your business requires an understanding of the scope, time, and skill needed to complete the project.

A proposed budget often considers the following:

  • Deliverables: What are the exact deliverables? More often than not, your project requires more than you think in order to reach your outcome. For instance, you might think you need a website — but what you really need is a website filled with content, contemporary design, custom website development, and more.
  • Time: Good work takes time. It’s an adage apparent in all types of trades, from carpentry to fashion, and is no different in website projects. Quality professionals are masters of their craft and take time to create work that meets their expectations and your needs.
  • Skill: You’re paying for the skill involved in not only delivering a project, but in managing it. Comprehensive website projects require heavy involvement, often by more than one professional — which is why the efficient processes of experts are so valuable.

Building a modern, functional website requires the ability to manage many moving parts and involves multiple disciplines.

When done well, a website can integrate with a larger online brand presence — or digital platform — dedicated to curating an in-depth customer experience that builds trust and establishes industry leadership.

Good style, quality infrastructure, and effective content are essential in building a long-lasting online foundation.

3. “What am I really getting?”

When evaluating proposals, look at the scope of work and compare apples to apples.

Our post on website building breaks down the helpful terminology to look for.

Some service providers will only include development in the proposal, while others may include design and development.

Certain companies offer complete design, development, and content — learn about our full-service Digital 360 here.

Of course, you’re also getting the skill, expertise, and dedicated time of your chosen team, making aligning with the following factors so relevant:

  • Aesthetic: Design professionals or teams often have often cultivated a certain visual style that can be seen in the details of their work. Take time to carefully review their portfolio to make sure it’s a good fit.
  • Fit: When reviewing your proposal, think about the off-paper qualities of the service provider. How has your experience been? Have you enjoyed talking to the team? If you move forward, you will be spending a lot of time communicating and working with whomever you choose.
  • Values: What does the professional or company strive to do throughout their work, and in their workplace — and do these actions align with your values?
  • “How do I know if a proposal is worth the investment?”

Ultimately, it’s up to you which proposal you accept — and whether the dollar amount included in the proposal works for your business.

Here are some general investments depending on your brand’s needs:

  • Entry-level: A basic website of ~5 pages can cost between $2,500 to $5,000 USD.
  • Established businesses and professionals: Established brands and businesses may require more services, including copywriting and enhanced functionality, with a cost of around $10,000 USD.
  • Small- to medium-sized enterprise: An SME with complex website services and functionality can expect proposals anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000+ USD.

That being said, there are great professionals operating at every price range.

Your budget is a big determinate of how a service provider will design your proposal — but quality professionals will always provide a proposal to give you the most value for your budget.

4. “How do I know if a proposal is worth the investment?”

Ultimately, it’s up to you which proposal you accept — and whether the dollar amount included in the proposal works for your business.

Here are some general investments depending on your brand’s needs:

  • Entry-level: A basic website of ~5 pages can cost between $2,500 to $5,000 USD.
  • Established businesses and professionals: Established brands and businesses may require more services, including copywriting and enhanced functionality, with a cost of around $10,000 USD.
  • Small- to medium-sized enterprise: An SME with complex website services and functionality can expect proposals anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000+ USD.

That being said, there are great professionals operating at every price range.

Your budget is a big determinate of how a service provider will design your proposal — but quality professionals will always provide a proposal to give you the most value for your budget.

5. Tips for Choosing the Right Partner

Technology is just a tool; a medium to further your brand’s reach in the modern world.

As a part of a well-rounded digital platform, a website should:

  • Showcase your products or services
  • Support business development
  • Provide a platform as part of an integrated marketing strategy
  • Increase online visibility
  • Build trust in your brand

A well-defined proposal is designed to help you see exactly how someone will help you accomplish the above.

To best understand the information in a proposal and budget, we recommend that you:

  • Understand the scope: Review all deliverables stated in the scope and see if they reflect the vision and goals you have for your new website.
  • Determine your budget: Do the suggested deliverables fit within your budget? Are there optional add-ons that could enhance your website and your client experience? Consider how much you are willing to spend to meet your goals.
  • Love their past work: Different creative teams have different strengths. Does their portfolio of work meet your expectations? Does their aesthetic meet your vision?
  • Align with their values: Every business has a unique way of approaching their work. You want to understand their philosophy, the intention behind their work and what they believe in. A good fit almost always produces the best results.

Most importantly, enjoy the process. From day one, the decision to build or transform a website is an incredible endeavor that forces you to think deeply and critically about what you do — and why you’re doing it.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll uncover pieces of your identity that you’ve forgotten, or discover entirely new ways to showcase your business.

Let us take care of your brand’s digital presence

Learn how our monthly digital brand management services can help you find more time and build a better client experience with a powerful, on-brand digital platform.

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