[thelist] How do I build a proposal for a website?

Kelly Hallman khallman at wrack.org
Thu Aug 7 12:26:08 CDT 2003

On Thu, 7 Aug 2003, Andy Budd wrote:
> If everybody is happy doing creative work for nothing in the hope of
> being thrown a scrap of work every now and again, it really does devalue
> the profession we're in. There will always be somebody more hungry than
> you who is willing to mock up the whole site, so I'd prefer not to get
> involved in that game.

I don't see any devaluation there.  Maybe of your own time, if it is that 
precious that you can't invest a few hours prior to getting a project.  I 
wouldn't do that for a $500 gig, but I don't really do $500 gigs, either.  

Lately I've been of the mindset of giving clients a comp or two before the
job, just so I don't have to go through all that hassle and rigmarole of
trying to convince them "yes, I know what I'm doing."  A nice portfolio
site could probably help that, but a lukewarm portfolio might not.

Since I'm willing to do it, and you're not, I'm more likely to get the
job.  Also, they are more likely to feel confident in my skills because
they've already seen an example of what I could do for them.  Also, I'm
less likely to be hooked up with a client who is going to give me major
headaches over the design, because we already know there's some 'fit'.

If they choose not to go with my offering, I may have lost a few hours.  
I may have saved a whole lot of sanity down the road, if my vision and the
client's vision are too different.  Plus, I have some new design ideas
that weren't used and may be salvaged into some other project later.

If they do choose to go with me, the few hours spent prior are usually
well worth it.  If they like one of the designs so much that they want to
use it as is, even better.  If not, the comps still serve as a jumping off 
point for discussing the direction for moving forward.

> As a little analogy, when I decide where to eat out, I'll have a look 
> at some menus, read write ups about the restaurants and gather enough 
> info to make a reasonable decision. I would never expect to go round to 
> 5 restaurants, have the chef's guess the kind of things I like to eat, 
> try a sample of everything for free and then settle on the restaurant 
> based on what they have cooked me. It's a mad way to run a business and 
> if restaurants did this they would soon all go out of business.

If a website cost $30, and it was gone by the end of the evening, that
might be a good analogy.  A meal is something that is physical, and is
consumed.  You're not just paying for the preparation, you're paying for 
the material, the service, the atmosphere.

If you go to Burger King, you get what you get.  If you go to a
fine-dining restaurant, they are willing to go out of their way for you.  
Are you working hourly at BK, or are you the upscale maitre d'?

I think if you want to talk about devaluing the profession: what if the
perception arises among those searching for web designers that all web
workers are stingy with their time and unwilling to do anything extra to
prove themselves to you?  The first person who comes along who doesn't have
that attitude will probably get the job just on that merit.  So, thanks :)

Kelly Hallman

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