We get a lot of quote requests at Sumy Designs. One of the first questions we ask is this:

What is your budget for this project?

Lately it seems that many people who inquire are reluctant to give us this information. I understand the rationale, you don’t want to give the company free reign to run up your quote, right? But I’m here to explain why it’s actually a good idea to tell them your budget.

Just recently a quote request came in from a potential client. We have an autoresponder that goes out to all of these, asking more questions about the project before we will begin to think about the quote. One of those questions includes the budget question.

The person responded to all the questions but ignored the budget question. Because of this, I sent the quote using our standard rates based on the things the client submit in their request. Upon seeing the quote, I immediately got back a response that the cost was way too high and they weren’t interested. In fact, the response seemed almost angry.

Of course, not everyone can afford our services. We aren’t a discount company, and we charge for the quality of our work. (And I happen to think our rates are pretty low compared to that of our colleagues.) We aren’t going to win them all, so no hard feelings that this particular person couldn’t afford our services.

However, let me explain how this could have gone had I know the budget.

When the initial response came in, if it had included a budget that was below our standard rates, instead of just sending on our regular rates, which I know they can’t afford, I could have offered them our low cost website option that doesn’t include custom design, but works with the client to select a premium theme, organize their content, and quickly and efficiently get them a nice website set up on a lower budget.

If the quote request was even lower than our budget package, then I could have taken the time to explain that their budget was not going to be sufficient for a project with us, but possibly refer them to another company that might be able to accommodate a lesser budget.

Or say you have a budget of $1000 and our quote would normally be $1500, maybe there’s something we could take out or a step the client could complete that would allow us to accommodate that budget.

There are many different scenarios on how this could have gone, but only if I know the budget we’re working with.

“But Amy, what if I really have no idea how much a website costs or how much to budget?”

That’s a fair question. Many people who submit quote requests to us just have absolutely no idea what budget to consider. Check out this post I wrote last year on what’s involved in getting a new website.

It’s important to come to the table with all the information, and the basis for any ongoing working relationship is going to be the ability to communicate all the necessary information to complete the project.

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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