I don’t gloat when I see a web design agency locally or further afield go under, or cease trading. Far from it, I’ve been there myself in education – when I was metaphorically thrown under a bus – but that trauma is the past, a foreign country, it has become.
When I heard that a town I used to work in, Bolton, is so indebted as a football club, that no employees have been paid in March and April, it saddened me.
Admittedly, those footballers on high salaries shouldn’t need to panic, perhaps, but the groundsmen and women, admin staff, cleaners, cooks, physios etc, will be worried. No wonder.
I do think though that, in the context of many web design agencies, and possibly footballers, they’ve sacrificed themselves on the altar of pure avarice.
Locally to me, here in east Norfolk, I know of one web design agency who charge £199 + VAT per hour and another in Norwich who top trumps them at £400 + VAT per hour. Only this week, I pitched and won a web design contract, where the lowest quote nearest me was £3500 more.
Now don’t get me wrong.
I’ve few overheads. I work from home. I don’t pay for an office space, commuting, parking or employees. I’m a one man band. Sole trader in my own Ltd Company. Therefore, after tax, liability insurance and living expenses, much of my modest hourly rate for copywriting, management of social media marketing, web design Norwich and elsewhere, is profit.
I’m sure if I had a team of 10 developers, a large office, pensions etc to pay, £200 per hour would be logical. But it’s not for me. Nor for the target audience I’m working for.
ASOS, Amazon, eBay, Next are not going to come knocking on my front door, asking me for a new website or copy. Course they’re not. My target audience is start-ups, small and medium sized businesses who can’t afford web design agency prices but perhaps want the more customised approach of a freelance web designer and their prices.
Horses for courses.
I’m over the moon that two large companies with hundreds of employees in Great Yarmouth and Norwich have had me pitch to them for web design and each company (who I’ll showcase soon) have said Yes to my proposal.
That thrills me, no end, because it means that from scratting around a few years ago for copywriting, web copy and social media, I’m actually dead busy now.
It’s because my service is good, my prices are keen and I’m hungry to dominate the local web design market, by not growing or becoming greedy.
The Old Hall at Caister, with the lovely manager, Mike Gilbert, entrusted me with a web design and writing for him. Matthew Clarke, a mate, had his photography website done by me. Same with JS Swimming Pools. Ditto, Envision CAD and the delightful man, David Frazer, who is Gorleston-based.
None of these clients, who’ve become friends, have turned round and tutted at what I’ve done. On the contrary, they’ve paid for further services.
Further down the A12, I became quite handy with flooring websites in Chelmsford and Hornchurch with Softlay, Athena Flooring Contracts, Murexin and Simply Flooring Contracts and have since done other websites in the flooring industry in Bolton and Reading.
You see, when work stacks up, I don’t sigh or shudder, I embrace it. Yes there’s an expectation that I’ll turn websites round quickly, but there are inevitable delays as I do work solo and do have other tasks to cover and prioritise.
My point is this though – I won’t become so greedy that I’ll grow to hire a team, invest in offices. No. I’m happy with no commute, few overheads working with clients who see the quality of work I do and accept that sometimes lower prices can mean better quality.
I drive a decent car, have a great lifestyle and am happy.
Next year, I can officially retire too.
Money is nice, but delivering a service that is liked and loved is more satisfying, I believe.