What does your fee pay for?

What does your fee cover?

When you go to a restaurant and you look at the prices on the menu, do you ever question the price on the items, and think, “$12 for tacos?” or “I can’t believe this steak costs $30!” Because in truth, you could go home and make a steak for much less. Right? Often the problem people have with paying restaurant prices is that they assume that the price of the meal only reflects the price of the food. But that’s not how it works. When you eat in a restaurant, your money is paying for much more than the cost of the food. You are paying for the food, yes, but also the chef that cooks it. You’re paying for the server who serves it. You are paying for the kitchen it’s being cooked in. You are paying salaries for the hostess, the manager, and the owner. You’re paying for the table and chairs you are sitting in, the napkins, the glasses, the plates. Your money goes to the entire experience, not just for what’s on your plate.

It’s important to think of the bigger picture when looking at fees. The same goes for web design and development. Sometimes we send someone a quote and they think that it’s too high. They think they shouldn’t have to pay so much for just my time.  And while I think my time is worth a premium, clients aren’t just paying for time. Even though I work from home, and even though I use WordPress, which is free, there is still overhead and bills I have to pay to run my business. So the rate you get isn’t just solely a paycheck for me. (I wish it was!) It’s important to look at the big picture.

Your fee pays many things such as for any software that I need to buy outside of WordPress. Yes, WordPress is free, but many of the premium plugins we use are not and part of your fee is helping us maintain our licenses on all this software. Could we use more free plugins? Yes. But the quality of the work we do would suffer and we want to provide a premium product for our clients.

We use a lot of design products as well, such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, and those aren’t free either. In fact, they are fairly costly, so your fees go toward helping us maintain those. Of course we use computers to do our work, and we have to reinvest in those machines every few years to keep up to date and make sure we’re running smoothly and quickly. Then we need to keep those machines backed up, to keep our stuff (and your stuff!) safe in the event of a break-down. All of these things cost money too.

Sometimes we need stock photos for sites, so add in the cost of our stock photo membership sites as well. Then add professional fees like marketing, accounting, insurance (yep, we’re insured!) and professional memberships. We like to keep up-to-date on trends and what’s going on in the tech world, so add in conferences we attend as well. Add in webinars, seminars, and on-line courses too.

You may ask, “Why should I have to pay for that?” Well, you want to hire people who are good at what they do, right? You want to hire people who are up-to-date on current trends, who are aware of what’s going on with the web, and who use great technology to do it? All of these things enable us to make great websites. If we aren’t making a point to learn new skills, increase our abilities, then eventually, we aren’t going to be providing the same quality of service to our clients. It’s all part of the package. It’s the cost that allows us to stay in business to provide services to our clients.

When you consider all the pieces that enable us to provide quality services, then the rate you see makes a lot more sense and seems a lot more reasonable. And in fact, some might consider it a bargain.

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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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