Frequently Asked Questions

Over the years I have realized that certain questions get asked over and over. I have a few email templates that I use to answer the ones I receive that way. As another way of helping though here are some of the common questions.

I'd like to hear your ideas for reducing costs, so I know if there's something I can do at my end to make the process smoother/less time consuming. Also, I can look at whether time/money would be better spent on bumping up another feature/area of the site.

In terms of cost reduction there are several measures that can be taken:

  1. Modifying an existing design template is much less time consuming than creating a new design from scratch. One caveat here though is to work with high quality templates. Monstertmeplates.com is not one of them.
  2. Drupal is relatively easy to add content to. The more that you, the client, do - the less I do and consequently my hours can be reduced. Don't plan on adding Word documents. This is one of the pinnacles of web editing expertise. While it can be done, it is not for the faint of heart. There are some simple steps to take to move content from one format to another. I'll show you.
  3. Another reduction would be providing me with stock images for the design. Hunting for images is my least favorite part of the work. Let me turn them into web usable images though.

In a word - value. I provide quality. A recent customer said "You provide great service to your detriment."
This question takes lots of different frames. "There are lots of cheaper web designers around. Why shouldn't I hire them?" "You charge much more than most freelancers."
I find myself giving a lot of different answers.I have now been in this business for about eight years, six of them as a freelancer. I still have my first customer. By charging what I do I'm able to stay in business which is important to you. When you want to change something or fix something that is broken - I'm still here.
I have heard the story enough times to know it by heart. "My web designer couldn't fix this." "My web designer went to work for someone else. Can you..." The most infamous story is the ecommerce site that I maintained until recently. Undocumented code, built in an obsolete version of PHP, and a domain name that took three years to get back. A young teenager took the site on as his first job. When he moved into a bigger firm, he tried to continue maintaining it in his free time. It didn't work. Eventually the client came to me and stayed with me for the next four years. He only moved on when his project became bigger than I was able to host. Even then, I held his hand through the move providing troubleshooting and a second set of eyes for resolving the little issues that came up. He still ranks as one of my best sources of referrals.
As a freelancer only about one third to one half my working time is billable. Self education, marketing, billing and administration are all part of my day to day work time.