The cost of creating a website is contentious. At one end of the scale, it's free, think companies like GoDaddy who provide DIY website building tools, while at the other it can be a six figure project or more. All price points in between are also covered. For my own amusement, I decided to work out the cost of developing a website using contractors instead of an agency. The results were quite surprising.
The Website Scope
To keep things simple I've assumed the person commissioning the website is pretty web savvy. In reality, this is rarely the case and the project would require a road mapping or scoping exercise which would incur costs, assuming a professional was hired to do it. We'll skip that bit.
This website is for a fictitious engineering company. They turnover circa £50m and need a new website to attract new customers from Google™. Their current website isn't responsive (mobile and tablet friendly), they can't update it and it has few rankings in Google. They also want to give their current customers access to equipment inspection certificates through a self-service portal. This is because at the moment, customers phone up and the certificate is manually located and emailed to the customer.
Based on this outline scope of work they need:
- A designer to create the look and feel
- A developer to turn the design into a website template
- A coder to develop the self-service portal
- A content specialist to research their markets and create the content that's going to help with the Google rankings
- A project manager to make it all happen
To keep things tight I'm going to assume the developer is also pretty good at more involved back end work and can also handle the self-service portal. I'm also going to assume the content specialist is experienced enough to manage the overall delivery of the project. Making these assumptions means we're now down to a designer, a developer and a content specialist who's doubling up as a project manager.
The People Costs
For the moment I'm going to ignore the employment agency costs and base the website costs purely on the cost of hiring the people. I'm also going to ignore, for the moment, the cost of equipment and software, the tools the contractors will need to actually do the work.
When you hire an agency to create a great lead generating website, you only have to pay for the services you need. If you need a designer for 4 days in week one, 2 days in week two and 1 day in week three, you can have that. Not so if you hire your own team, they need paying from the time you first need them to the time you're done with them. Based on this project and the scope of work the team members will be needed as follows.
- Designer - required from the start of the project until the site goes live.
- Developer - required from the start of the project until the site goes live.
- Content Specialist/Project Manager - required from the start of the project until the site goes live (and beyond!)
There may be some wiggle room here and you may be able to dispense with the services of the designer sooner but it's a tricky one. We'll assume you're going to keep the whole team from start to finish. I'm going to assume the people you've found are at the top of their game and they're going to deliver this project in ONE MONTH.
To find the team I'm going to use the job site Indeed. These are real adverts displaying real world rates and in fact, for a short assignment like this, the rates would probably need to be higher.
Content Specialist / Project Manager
The costs for the Content Specialist / Project Manager are probably on the low side. Finding someone who really gets SEO and web projects overall is going to be a challenge, but I'll stick with these anyway.
The Actual Costs
Assuming the project is going to be done and dusted on ONE MONTH you're going to need your team for 20 days.
Designer - £5000.00
Developer - £9000.00
Content/Project Manager - £6000.00
That's a total of £20,000.
If you add on employment agency costs, equipment costs and other sundries this figure is going to be closer to £25k or more.
The Case For Using An Agency Is Compelling
Based on this back of a fag packet exercise it's clear that using an agency to develop a website that generates enquiries from Google and provides customers with a slick tool for grabbing some information from you is compelling. From an agency owner's perspective, this project feels like a £10k project, maybe £12k which is half the price of hiring contractors who will probably spend the last week of the engagement sending out applications for their next assignment.
In my view, agencies get a rough ride from some clients and get squeezed on price. When you consider the above they actually represent amazing value for money.