So nobody really wants to part with their cash, especially if you’re not completely happy with the final solution. So this is a guide to how billing models work and the pro’s and con’s of each option. I’m going to start with the old classic, ‘fixed price’.
It’s often perceived as the safe option, keeping you happy in the knowledge that you won’t be paying a penny more for your beautiful all singing all dancing website. All the risk is on the agency and they’ll need to do a tip top job or else you won’t be paying them a penny. It sounds great in principle but the reality of fixed price jobs are actually a pain in the arse for both sides.
These projects traditionally come with a technical and functional specification which is the size of the phone book. You’ll be paying a solutions architect or senior developer to write this book which frankly most clients don’t really understand.
The stuff in these specs generally are there to cover the agencies back in the inevitable circumstance that later down the line you’ll want to change your mind. If you’re lucky, you might be invited into a very long meeting where you’ll pay someone to read this book to you. After signing the spec and trying your best to look like you understand everything, it’s now time to start building.
Building is fun, it’s what we love, it’s why we spend years learning all these technologies. What agencies can’t be expecting to know everything immediately about you, your business or industry. As both parties learn more about the project and spend more time together, you realise that actually there might be a better way of building it. Now what do you do? You look at the developer and the developer is looking at you. It’s a massive stare off as you don’t want to pay more money and the agency doesn’t want to loose money doing it for free. The ironic thing is the weeks spent building the spec (which is now useless) could have been spent building this new functionality.
Each time a change is requested by you, you’ll need to fork out more cash to update the spec, wire frame, sitemap and project charts. Then you’ll get another bill for the additional work required. As an agency they will need to consider how to can test an evaluate the overall test process in the same way.
You the client are the most important thing, you provide the work and pay the bills. It’s important you feel that you are getting good value for money. For this exact reason, agencies will try to absorb some changes and request but it’s a constant battle to retain the agencies margin on the project.
This is a very difficult balance between profit and happy client which for most part ends up with an unhappy client and the agency loosing money on the job.