You allow me to put a screenshot of the design
on this page; ($5 extra if you don't)
Please note that I post all designs to my public
portfolio and this website. If you need the design
to stay secret, it only costs $5 more
You might collect some evidence that people like getting a deal more than getting hit with an extra cost.
it'd require changing of the domain name.
I'm pretty sure he is not doing it for the money, but rather to get some experience and build up his portfolio.
I'd say thats fairly significant.
Since 5 dollars is a denomination of US bills I think it has a significant psychological weight to considering it's value (for anyone familiar with US currency). You think of $5 and you know what it is,what it's worth to you, what you'd spend it on.
This might be a hold over from handling cash, where that $5 spent on a service might be competing with your lunch or bus ticket. I suppose dealing increasingly with debit/credit cards in place of small cash transactions where it's "just $5 in your entire bank account" will likely lessen this effect.
Ted: I would go for the 14.
Hitchhiker: Bingo, man, bingo. designfor14bucks.com. And we guarantee just as good a design as the designfor15bucks.com folk.
Ted: You guarantee it? That's - how do you do that?
Hitchhiker: If you're not happy with the first 14 bucks of design, we're gonna send you the extra dollar of design free. You see? That's it. That's our motto. That's where we're comin' from. That's from "A" to "B".
Ted: That's right. That's - that's good. That's good. Unless, of course, somebody comes up with designfor13bucks.com. Then you're in trouble, huh?
14's the key number here. Think about it. 14 days in a fortnight. 14 - the atomic number of silicon. 14 stations of the cross. 14, man, that's the number.
I knew a jewellery company once which had two sites. One was all red and gold and stars and flashing things, the other was all purple and white and curvy things. The items on the purple posh looking one were 15% more expensive. Same products on each - heck, it was the same database, product description and images on each site!
Point is, this is the internet, you can do that kind of thing.
1) SERPs are not fixed; they vary from month to month, and even from day to day as new sites and pages appear and are added to the mix. This is akin to the houses on a street changing order frequently, and ruins the analogy
2) SERPs differ between terms - you and I might be adjacent for "cheap widgets" but for "budget widgets" the SERP might look entirely different. This is akin to shops having a million doors, each on different streets, and ruins the analogy.
To be honest, if I see:
Design for $15
Design for $50
I'm choosing 50 because I'm hoping that he has fewer clients, values himself more, and isn't going to give me crappy design.
I'm thinking of throwing $15 his way just to see what comes out, and see if it sparks some new ideas for me -- i.e., I'm not paying him for a polished final design for my site, I'm paying him for his thoughts (in PDF form) on how my site might look different.
I might not like his idea, and it might just offer a contrast that helps me suss out what I like about my current design. But as it was only 15 bucks (not much invested from me OR him), I won't feel bad about just chucking the results.
If I were paying someone for a real site redesign, I would lay out a lot more than $15, but I would also expect to go through whatever steps necessary to come up with a finished product that I would actually use (because if I'm paying real money, it had better not be a waste).
In any case, I'm waiting until he has some example sites online... so I can tell if he's a talented designer doing rapid/rough work (useful to me), or a weak/inexperienced designer who is just making bad designs (in which case I'll pass...).
The only way this would be justified is if you use this as a source of clients to up-sell more expensive work to.
This seems like a very good approach to attract people attention.
Also, IT jobs pay in average better than most white-collar jobs. An IT manager or a very good lead developer might even make more money than a mediocre doctor (but that's true in US too, I guess?). That said, given that there's no regulatory barrier to entry, IT professionals in general aren't seen as high status as doctors or lawyers.
If you don't ask for money for what you do, then you are saying that what you do is worthless. You probably don't actually believe that, and the only reason to sell your work for less than the most basic labor is because you don't know how to get paid properly. But customers see your pricing and conclude that designers do not need to be paid even the normal minimum for other kinds of work.
If you keep working like this, you will find yourself unable to ever get a design job that pays well. Everyone who calls you will do so because you are cheap. When you go to visit clients who have money to spend, they will not want to hire you. Not because their is anything wrong with your design; but because they are not designers, and so they will try to estimate the quality of your work by the visibility of your financial success. If they notice nothing that suggests you can make money, then they will assume that you can't, and they will assume that the reason you can't is because your designs are no good, and hire someone else.
Later, when you want to get married or have a family or just enjoy a better standard of living, but you can not afford to do so because you undervalued your work, you will realize that you designed yourself into poverty. It's true that some very rich/successful people dress or act like they don't care about money. This is because they have so much money that they don't have to care about what clients think. They have agents who take care of all that annoying business stuff for them. Agents only work for people whose work can be sold for high prices, because agents only get 15%, on average.
A lot of creative people fall into this trap, I have made this mistake on some occasions. It is a bad pattern, for you and also for your colleagues in the same profession. Also, it's insulting to people who work in offices or flip burgers. Maybe they would like to work at something creative, but when you price your work so low you are demonstrating that creativity is worthless, and that skill and hard work do not deserve a reward. Here's my advice: it's OK to do some work for free for your friends and family, but when you work for money your minimum should be 5 x the minimum for a 'boring' job. Some people will refuse to pay so much, and then you must refuse to work even if your bank account and your stomach are empty. Many will agree. You should use your price to drive bad clients away. Good clients will either pay or negotiate. If you do not make them work in negotiation, they will understand this to mean that you are not going to work on their commission, and hire someone else.
If you cannot make a living this way, then get a job flipping burgers. First you will learn some humility, second you will get free food every day, third you will have some more financial security and fourth you will be very tired when you go home every day. Now, do a few hours of design work every week too. Of course, it will be much more difficult now because you are exhausted by working in a hot kitchen before you draw a single line. Now you will start to understand the value of time, and charge accordingly.
--Every open source developer, ever.
Outside of the development community, commercial software is still profitable because most non-technical buyers assume that free-as-in-beer software is less good. Same thing with graphic design or video production. Working for free/cheap signals interest to industry peers very effectively, but people outside the peer group just see it as a price signal.
So I think a better statement would be "if you don't ask for SUFFICIENT money for what you do SOLELY FOR PAY, then you're saying your work isn't worth much."
Yes, you are still getting some money. But those jobs mentioned above are boring and poorly paid because they require little skill. They don't add a great deal of value to the business, and if someone quits or is promoted to do something more useful, it's easy to find and train another worker to replace them. Mostly what you're paying for is someone who will turn up on time every day and work for the length of a shift. There is not a huge wage differential based on experience because you can teach a completely inexperienced person the basics in a single day. So if you are selling graphic design services but charging the bare minimum required to hire a warm body, then "what you do" is essentially given away free.
The design website guy's name is Aurelio, and the person you were responding to who had said he would accept slightly less pay for work he enjoys is Robinson. When you replied to Robinson, were you really addressing Aurelio?
Also, are you making any assumptions about how long it takes Aurelio to make a design, and what might likely happen to him after having developed a professional reputation and portfolio. Also, if he does 5 designs a day 20 days a month, 100 designs, and makes $1500, is that really nothing compared to $54 a month, which is more than 40% of full time workers in Brazil (where he lives) make?
Of course I was replying to tlrobinson, who said :I'd rather do something I enjoy for slightly less money than get an office job or flip burgers. That was in reply to swombat's question about whether the design thing is sustainable economically.
In Brazil it may be, in the US it probably would not. I have no opinion about Aurelio or his $15 site (although I am pretty sure someone else will do the same thing for $12 soon). I am well aware that Brazil has a different kind of economy from the US; what he is doing may well be sustainable in Brazil - although the cost of having a western-style standard of living with a computer, reliable electricity, and internet access is much closer to the cost of living in the US than it is to people earning $54/month in a favela or rural area.
I also completely understand the idea of doing something you enjoy, even though it might pay less than a conventional job. That is why I was working for an email/groupware startup before NCSA released Mosaic, to give you one example. There are certainly times that you should be willing to take a big economic risk, and refine your skills even if it is hard to sell your product/service in the market right now. I am just pointing out that doing this can also become a limiting factor, because you are associating your service with very low cost. You would not go into a Burger King restaurant and pay $100 for your dinner. Even if they hired a great chef and actually made a gourmet meal, almost nobody would risk paying $100 to try it. Similarly, if you try to get a job in a top restaurant you will need something more persuasive than previous experience cooking at Burger King. You could be an excellent self-trained chef, but they will judge you by the price and quality of food at Burger King. You could say 'I made a lot of delicious meals for my friends and family, they said my food was great.' The restaurant owner will probably suggest you get your friends and family to help you open your own restaurant.
why? Because life is short and people are busy. They don't have time to judge every job applicant or supplier individually. Instead they will look at price information as a proxy for quality. This is why companies sometimes ask job applicants for a salary history, they want a simple filter. If you get a bank loan to expand your business, the bank will want to see the last few years' accounts for the same reason. They don't understand your business, but they do understand cash flow.
That sure sounds like a reasonable statement.
In your response, you stated that "you don't ask for money for what you do" and then proceeded to knock down that strawman.
Working without any pay at all is not the same as doing something you enjoy for "slightly less" than you would accept to do something you don't enjoy.
In economic terms, his choice to sell his services below the labor market's lowest rate for doing anything at all has a significant opportunity cost, to say nothing of the fact that he still has overhead and so on. A person who gets paid nothing at all is losing money because s/he still has to eat, buy clothes and so on. A person paid the market minimum is making a very small amount of money after life's necessities have been paid for, which is why we don't think of burger-flipping as a profitable career choice. Anyone charging less than this is working for zero profit, unless they are lucky enough to have free rent, food and so on.
What do you call a business plan which does not acknowledge any need to make a profit? Would you invest in such a business?
She adamantly refuses to work for less than pay for less than what she thinks is a long-term viable rate on the grounds that once you quote someone a price, you can never go back to them and say "oh, yeah, $60/hr was because I was desperate, now I'm charging $90". If you need to cut the price, charge the going hourly rate and throw in freebie hours.
Agreed. I once had a photography professor who was adamant that we not work too cheaply, because it sets expectations for the profession. His take was that you charge whatever you need to in order to live, buy equipment, etc.
If you want to help someone, do some work pro-bono, and make it clear that "normally this would cost X dollars, but I'm donating my services." That way they simultaneously get the ideas that "this person's work is valuable" and "they've done me a big favor." As opposed to just "he/she can afford to work cheaply."
Anecdotally, I spent 2 years 'flipping burgers', and then started out charging $20/hr doing consulting work. I was happy and my clients were happy. Over time, I slowly raised rates and haven't looked back since.
It's not the design work that will cause this; it's dealing with the people that will cause the problem.
(Big Mac index, http://www.oanda.com/currency/big-mac-index)
Jokes aside, in Brazil you need ~$1000/month to live* in a big city, ~$700 in a smaller one, ~$500 as a broken college student.
(live* as in small apartment, internet, public transportation, entertainment but no luxury).
I lived in an apartment off the beach in Praia Grande for a few months. Rent was about R$650 (~$300 US) for a little 2 bedroom.
I met a number of people who lived on less than R$300/mo (granted, that was in some of the poorer areas).
Lunch in the financial district (where I spent about a year) was ~R$10 (for a pretty good lunch - chicken, rice, vegetables, and a drink). Most American fast food restaurants, however, had prices comparable to the US (McDonald's dollar menu items were about R$2.50, it was R$30 for a pizza at Pizza Hut, etc).
$15 is way too low. I don't know where you are located, but you need to do some market research to figure out what you want to make per hour, how long the average project will take you, how many projects you can do a week, and what your overhead is per week (to figure overhead per project). Once you have those numbers, you will have a better price point.
Also, keep have a plan for what you want to do if there is more demand than you can support. Do you hire others? If so, will others work for that price and if so, how much do you need to make to pay them appropriately?
I hope above all you do not find my post discouraging. Instead, I hope you continue on with what you are doing, tweaking it to make is sustainable for as long as you wish to do it!
If he spends 1-2 hours on a design, that's $7.50-$15 per hour. Any longer and he wouldn't be making enough to be worth his time, even in the Philippines or India. For a true portfolio, you'd want better designs than 1-2 hour quickies
You're assuming that he's going to keep this domain and brand to build a later business. This doesn't have to be forever.
Time invested is not a measure of quality.
I would find it interesting to see what the designer ends up doing as a result of this experiment.
You should only do one a day, and if someone wants to jump the line they can big higher than $15!!!
I'm going to put the Launch conference www.launch.is/conference and ThisWeekIn.com up for $50 each right now. $100 is no risk... if you have one good idea in each design it would be worth it.
i love this idea!
One variation would be to charge $15 per iteration. The first one might take you 2 hours, but each additional iteration might only take 15 minutes, in which case it becomes more economical.
- the linked images have blue borders around them, look ugly
- you could put a couple of samples up if a design costs just $15 worth of your time
- I hope you don't live in North America or Europe, otherwise, you're undercharging.
I don't see how the Client will perceive this low price PSD oriented service with less expectations.
The price is so low that its not serious, it's a joke.
Make some sassy layouts, put them online in portfolio section. Than put up your price per hour.
Give a client full service, feedback, comments on their ideas, professional advice etc.
Value in web design is not in pictures. It is in successful conceptualization of your professional view on clients problems.
Years ago i stop offering cool pictures, and start learning more about technology in front-end (html.css.js), UX, marketing, communication with customer and now i perceive the web design process as a whole of many valuable parts.
If you are in desperate position, do some freelancing or get a routine job and invest in your self in your spare time:))
I'm really quite good and would charge $15/page. I can offer impressive turn around times and even CMS(WordPress) integration for an additional flat-fee($250?).
The first error is too beneficial to give up, and the rest are for a shitty form code (but this keeps my hosting cost at ~0/month which allows this stupidly cheap service).
But, you are right. And, I shall no longer advertise standards compliance. =D
My thinking right now, is I would build an order form that has a few predefined options. I usually use my own CSS starting point but am familiar with 960.gs. Blueprint seems to be the other big one, so I could look into adding support for that.
But mostly, the markup and css would adhere to my standards. I would have to do this to make the development time minimal so charging to low price makes sense. I would of course offer example markup on the order website.
Basing it off a well known framework should (a) make life easier for you, (b) give your work a hook other than low price-point.
In theory, this would be a decent paying day-job. I spent the year of 2008 converting PSDs to WordPress themes for $500/theme. With that experience I can convert a PSD to markup in under an hour per page.
But without some samples, it feels like I'm just throwing away $15.
Now, someone who has a history of decent-looking sites is a good gamble.
And it is a gamble, since he says it's non-refundable and no changes can be made.
That said, $15-20 is comfortably in that "If it doesn't work out, who cares" bracket. The problem will be that for many people, time is far more crucial than the cost. If I need a turnaround of 3-4 days, and the queue is 7+ days, it won't matter if it's $15 or 15 cents.
Don't compete on the same turf as elance types. I've used PSD2XHTML type services for $150-250 before and the main reasons I stopped was that the product wasn't really done to our house style and they couldn't hit deadlines. (Now I have staff that do these jobs for me.)
In any case I like the idea behind the $15 blind design since designers tend to suffer from "I like it but..." with indefinite tweaks and last minute changes. I wouldn't be surprised if customers end up going through several iterations...which would still be inexpensive in this case.
Not that he needs to use any of the $15 work directly in his portfolio -- but if he hashes out lots of designs in a creative way, he's going to end up with some obvious winners that he can polish up.
Otherwise you will be always be running an outdated version of all gmail services and there is no real benefit really in having gmail handling your MX.
What features are you using in Gmail that I'm not getting in Google Apps? I have priority inbox and all the latest Labs experiments. I haven't heard of anything I'm missing.
Also, if you have an android phone you cannot buy apps if you sign in only with your apps account, you must use a regular account. That is a PITA, believe me.
I've found a little lag in gmail to apps features, but not long enough that I've worried about it.
Now, you have the hassle of having to deal with multiple account on your phone, but is not too bad. It comes bad when you discover that if reset your phone and sign in only with account A or only with account B or even in the wrong order (B, A), all the apps you bought are simply gone.
Yes, the market sucks that much.
He now has a collection of email addresses he can send an announcement to when he launches a "real" web design company. He has a bunch of examples he can show of real customers using his designs. He has the experience of actually having someone pay him for his work. Heck, he even got over 200 HN karma out of the deal.
How can this be a bad thing?
Perhaps I should start a site called really horrible logos. I will guarantee all logos will look like a 2 year old on something did them.
Also, the #1 recommendation here is gonna be to put something up under "latest designs", even if you haven't had any clients yet. The first customer is the hardest, and you can help that along by putting a few coins in the proverbial hat yourself. (Although I realize the site itself is an example of your design :)
Helluva business model, love the thought that went into it. If there's anyway I can help, let me know. Tweeting commencing right....meow!
Also, charge $30.
If the sample designs are actually somewhat good, $30 is worth the gamble, maybe $40-50. I'd probably pay $30. But I'd need to see at least 2-3 references/samples/templates.
While others say 'raise your prices' my suggestion is to keep them low, at least until you have more work than you want to handle. at $15, I might as well give you a shot. at $150? eh, I'm much less likely to blow that on something I have no idea if I will like or not.
Oh, also, if I like the design, it'd be pretty cool to slip you another $100 or something and get the html/css, I mean, if it's possible to get that sort of thing at that price.
You could expand your site and add a section for designers who specialize in the code-writing aspect of design. Just a thought.
EDIT: Fixed. I'm still working on the site's content; got busy over the holiday. But the design of the site is done, as are the custom 404 error pages. :)
EDIT: I see that you are in Brazil, and a quick Googling shows that web designers make $4-$8
Often times most people assume they have an endless well of creativity in them but in actually its a feast and famine scenario. Assuming you want to do this full-time you will burn out eventually.
To make it worthwhile for you, you'd have to spend at most 1h per design, in which case it wouldn't be worth the $15 for the client, or a spot on your portfolio.
Eventually, he turns a profit with an automated muse and everyone is happy.
Hope to see some designs in the lastest section ;)