There’s a stigma surrounding the idea of discussing budgets. Let’s talk about why we ask for budgets and how we use that information to recommend design solutions.
We’ve seen it all – From startups with very small budgets, to corporate clients with clearly defined marketing budgets who have disclosed that they need to spend money, or risk facing a smaller budget in the next fiscal year. But some of the clients we interface with on a daily basis have one thing in common, they are reluctant to discuss their budget with us.
We get it, money can be a touchy subject. Most of us are guilty of being protective of our money, and that’s not a bad thing. We naturally want to preserve our financial positioning or to make safe and smart investments that will grow that position. In the business world, making wise financial decisions usually means the difference of keeping or losing your job.
The issue at hand is born long before a single dollar is even spent. The service industry as a whole is at fault for instilling this mindset. Everyone charges a different rate and total project costs drastically vary from one place to the next. As with any other industry, the design industry has its fair share of hacks, con artists and disingenuous people. Lastly, many people are just uncomfortable discussing money with their clients. Put this all together and you’ll find a vast array of clients, all with varying expectations and levels of distaste.
I’m not writing this to point fingers. Rather, I only want to share where we as a company stand on the subject. We’ve been doing this long enough to know what works for us. We know that design is ultimately driven by constraints. The amount of money you are willing to spend on a project will play a large part in defining the project and knowing that budget up front helps guide us towards suggesting an approach. We know you need to be protective of your budget. We’re not seeking this information so we can eat up your entire budget. Rather, we ask for budget because we take our estimates and proposals very seriously. It’s not uncommon for us to spend hours and even days on a proposal and having even an approximation of budget up front helps us to eliminate any time wasted on proposing solutions that just don’t fit. At this stage we’re only discussing money, with zero obligation to spend a single dollar. All we ask is that you be up front with any helpful information and we’ll be able to provide more thorough and practical solutions.
What if you don’t know how much to budget? What if you’ve never engaged a design firm before and you don’t know what to expect? We’ve got you covered. Check out our post on “How Much Should a Website Cost?” We’ve disclosed our hourly rate and average project cost and offered tips on establishing a budget. We decided to be transparent to help clients understand how we work and be able to make an educated decision to work with us.
With that being said, if you’re still unsure of where to start, just contact us. We’ll be glad to look over your requirements and give you some high level options for your project in order to help guide you in the right direction.
Have you had a bad experience with budget discussions? Let us know in the comments below.