We often get people coming to us saying they’ve been quoted thousands to build a simple website – shock, horror – the sheer audacity of anyone to try and charge a business owner $1000s for something we can build for under $300. And while our cheap websites have made it very affordable for businesses with smaller pockets to get their own custom website design, there are actually times when a website provider could be justified to charge upwards of $2000 for a business website.

I know you never thought we’d talk like this as we’ve always championed affordable websites, and questioned the high cost of websites, but we thought it might be helpful to at least try and understand the reasons why a website provider may quote thousands for a business website.

At the end of it you may still feel like they’re overcharging, or you may just realise that their operating costs are high and what they’re offering far and above exceeds what you need. Either way hopefully it will help demystify website pricing for you.

5 reasons website design might be really expensive

Let’s consider a few factors that can make what could be a cheap website really expensive.

  1. High costs – Like any business, website designers need to make a profit so income needs to exceed expenses. For some, these expenses could be significant. High office rents, company cars, advertising, wages, software licensing – they all add up, and need to be factored into what they charge for the product – the website you want to buy. Depending on where the business is located these costs can vary – hence why some business owners look overseas for cheaper offers.
  2. Labour-intensive processes – Some agencies have a very involved process for website development. Every new website is built from scratch – planning, consultations, design, styles, artwork, development, changes – it’s all started over with each client to provide a true bespoke experience. Sure, there’ll be some repurposing of elements but for the most part it’s all brand new. This is very time-consuming – and time is money, expensive money, when most of their staff will be on anywhere between $40 – $80+ an hour.
  3. Complex development systems – Some website building systems, like Silverstripe or Zeald’s CMS, can be complicated and require specialist staff to manage. Even something as simple as changing the logo can be an involved process that can’t be done by the client. This means everything just takes longer, and increases costs of development and maintenance. Some of these systems also make it difficult to switch, or export, to a different setup.
  4. Market prices – As with other products and services, the price you pay is not always a true reflection of the cost of delivery, sometimes it’s just what the market has settled on (think petrol prices, car parts etc). The price of the website could just be the current going rate for custom business websites. Competition can put downward pressure on prices but like petrol, collusion between providers can ensure prices stay high (oligopoly).
  5. Too many bells and whistles – Like paying for a hotel pool in the middle of winter, you might have just been offered a lot more than you actually need for a small business website. Maybe something more affordable, a more basic website that can be upgraded is a better option for now, and a lot cheaper than a hand-crafted site. Discuss with them what features are optional, and exactly what they are, and why you need them.

These are just a few things that can influence the price your quoted for that new website. There can be others and obviously you won’t be privy to their full price calculation, so you might just need to make some assumptions – and shop around because prices can vary – a lot!

Our commitment to affordable website design

Over the 10 years we’ve been in business we’ve developed an efficient system of building websites that has kept costs down but still provides our clients with the website they wanted – mobile-responsive, Google-friendly, professional, custom and easy to update themselves.

They’re also backed by a managed hosting plan that gives them the support and assistance they need, when they need it.

It has everything a business could want including contact forms, SSL security, custom email addresses and hosting.

So just because you now have a better idea of why you might get a website quote for thousands, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re any keener to pay that price. Maybe a complete website package for $299 is everything you need – and nothing you don’t.

Are websites overpriced?