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About the customers of low-budget websites

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In 207thissue of of the Website Building Library newsletter discussed the topic of low-budget website development. Talked about that, in principle, if you have experience in site building, as well as when randomly folded circumstances, a web developer can agree to participate in the creation of the site for a very low fee. After the release of the newsletter I got letters from subscribers – readers said that the situation will never be resolved – there will always be customers who want to get the project "almost" for free, and there will always be developers who will undertake to perform the required. List all the reasons why the problem of low-budget sites remains relevant, it makes no sense, most of them are obvious.
First of all, of course, the reasons should be sought in society as a whole, in the standard of living, which will differ from region to region. Moscow prices for websites differ strikingly from St. Petersburg prices, and those in turn differ from regional Russian prices. In post-Soviet countries – in Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, lower standard of living, this means lower opportunities for customers of sites – with no lower level of expertise. In Moscow, have long been surprised by the budget for the development of the site in tens and hundreds of thousands of conventional units, in Gomel and Kharkov is at best a few thousand, if not hundreds of the same bourgeois money. But pay attention – one of the most worthy resources for web-developers – Alex Kachanov’s site webmascon.com – project (originally) of Belarusian masters, and if we look at the same Ukrainian city of Kharkiv through the eyes of "Yandex", we see an industrial city with developed industry and an impressive number of universities, most of them technical. And now in every first lyceum, institute and university in many specialties teach programming, including web programming. Consequently, what? The number of highly qualified, educated and experienced IT-specialists per capita is so high (with a relatively low standard of living in terms of average wage), that it becomes clear – web development is cheaper here, and noticeably so.
Further – the market of IT services is very little tied to borders, i.e. a web developer can work remotely for years for the same Moscow and Bourgeois customers, and the quality of work will be decent. Customers for web sites and services are well aware of the situation, and often go to regional markets in search of capable developers who can perform the planned work at a moderate budget. However, at the same time, the desire to plan a compact budget, to save on developers – many know it, experienced it firsthand – borders on banal greed, and greed, as you know, begets poverty.
Let’s look at a typical low-budget customer. As a rule, this is an organization or person who is quite little aware of the real depth of the problem they intend to solve, i.e. the real cost of the right solution. As an example in the last issue, we cited a customer (not invented), who wanted a full-fledged portal with lots of services – the engine for creating and managing texts (news and articles), chat rooms and forums, the catalog of goods and accounting statistics and other small nice things – with a budget of $300; and what do you think? Part of the specialists of the budget was ridiculed, the same customer was called a sucker. But then the developers were found who declared that they can do the minimum of work for this money, and for the same amount of money they can give a full working project "turnkey".
During the discussion it turned out that this particular customer actually has no idea what he really needs, no experience with security and data protection issues, as well as no experience in supporting and administering projects at the desired level. He will be able to evaluate a $300 project only after a certain period of time, when he will try to tune it for real work and will face the usual worldly problems – when he won’t be able to change or even refine the visual design of his child on the raw engine, and the engine vendors, they may agree to do it for extra money. And with the movement in the market of web-programmers, which is present in all regions – with high living standards, and with low, it could be that he already will not find these programmers at all, and even if he finds them, it turns out that they are no longer working in the same team, and the first without the second can not help, and the second works in a cool computer company and he just does not want to go back to the development of the engine, which nobody plans to finalize (and the point if the budgets are symbolic), and do not have time, all bye. The situation is also not invented, faced with this problem a lot of "economists".
For the next few paragraphs of information, please do not take seriously or bias, and do not ask what the author of these lines is smoking? Just musings. Look – the client of the website is looking for a developer who will take on a cheap project like this. However, he himself, for obvious reasons, is not going to hire inexperienced students as contractors, it’s clear. That is, he is looking for a professional who, by some miracle! – will agree to cooperate. Do you really think there’s no chance? No, I don’t. Years of observation show that there are chances, and in the last issue we talked about the fact that the web developer – this is a person, and he can have any normal human problems. He can lose his job and his steady paycheck all of a sudden, out of plan. Of course, if he is really a professional, he won’t be out of work for long. But even a short period of time should not become moneyless. And if his life has turned out in such a way that with rich baggage he had to (again) change his place of residence to some small region with a low standard of living, and you can not find a stable job with a high salary, and organize development with a constant flow of customers "remotely" – is, as always, time, which does not exist, time during which you still need somewhere to earn something.
Problems can arise of any kind. They can be related to health – the developer himself or his loved ones, when money becomes more important than professional pride (just recently with great regret watched the development of such a situation). And so – with accumulated experience, with developments in the form of engines, server scripts and full-fledged services, with a thorough knowledge of the network and the ability to create a great interface developer agrees to participate in a low-budget project. He agrees because he is forced to do so by the circumstances. And that is exactly what the customer wants! That is, he is indirectly happy that thanks to something bad that happens in the life of a developer, he was able to get such a specialist in the project for a penny! But I tell you that by such actions the client spoils his karma – and the karma of his project – very badly. You can’t build your success on someone else’s misfortune. Yes, the circumstances can force the developer to sell their work for cheap, but the client who will try to take advantage of this situation, and underpay when he sees that the development will still take place, seems to me still defective, as any creature that is a parasite in an arbitrary environment, and thus aggravating the general unhealthiness of the environment. And the benefits not gained from such a situation will backfire on the same customer, one way or another.
Okay, let’s leave the discussion of karmic problems and look in the same direction, but in a different way. Once again, through the eyes of the developer. Which (especially if the circumstances are not critical and do not explicitly force to agree to participate in cheap development) in turn provokes customers to further reduce the budget, and others (probably less qualified developers) – expose even lower prices for their services. Andrei Muravyov (Grandmaster) at his blog most recently published a post on which was dedicated to seo-masters who agree to work on low budgets, but the same words are true for all web-developers, so let me quote him :

Many novice professionals and some companies charge prices for their services that are noticeably lower than the market average. Personally, I too have stepped on this rake. I would like to give you 5 arguments which may help to change your attitude towards pricing.

1. This may come as a surprise to some, but the price of a service for many is an indicator of its quality (the higher the price, the higher the perceived quality of the service, and vice versa). Appointing a price lower than the market, you instill in the buyer doubts about the quality of your services. If you yourself do not appreciate your services, then why should others? And besides, many people remember the saying: "Free cheese only comes in a mousetrap. By seriously reducing the price of your services you are not attracting but rather scaring away good customers.
2. Offering low prices for quality services once, you will find it very difficult to raise your rates, as any price increase will cause customer protest – you quickly get used to the good and the cheap.
3. By positioning your services as the cheapest, you occupy a very precarious position in the market. There will always be someone who can offer lower prices.
4. A customer who chooses your services only because of the low price is unlikely to appreciate your cooperation. They can easily switch to a competitor if they offer a lower price.
5. Working in the lower price segment is most often uneconomical, you make less money for the same amount of labor.

Golden words. So once again I warn you, dear beginners and professional web-developers, not to be too generous with your knowledge and experience – because we ourselves are setting ourselves up with such actions and we are digging a hole for ourselves. By the way, the idea of IT professionals unions has been discussed on the Web for many years and, although it is still there, one of the ideas to create such professional communities was exactly to keep the IT market from dumping, thus increasing its importance and credibility in the eyes of potential customers.
On the other hand – in general, not a few known projects that were created and maintained almost "naked enthusiasm" of its authors, and that’s to collect a list and history of such web projects would like in the near future 🙂 so if there is something to tell you – write here or on the mail nundesign@gmail.com.

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