A friend of mine, a finish carpenter once told me people either buy a price or buy a job. If they are shopping for price, then they pick the lowest price available. They will not look to see which is a better end product. Big mistake, oh yeah.
I can tell you, that that is so true in my industry. The problem is you can’t compare apples to apples with websites. People come to you and ask for a price for a website with very little specifics. You can’t really give them a true price, maybe just some basic costs per page or by the hour until you have the specs.
I ran into this recently with a current client. He asked me what it would cost to build him a new website. Now the site he was describing was 20 to 30 webpages. I gave a price I thought was fair. But then he found someone online who said they could build him a website for a quarter of the price. I asked him whether or not they asked for specifics as to how many pages the site was going to be, whether it included a content management system, etc. No, as it turns out they asked for very few specifics and came up with a price. The problem is that when he goes to actually build the site, he’s going to find out they were (more than likely) talking about a introductory site with three or four pages. And yes, they can do the other pages but it’ll be an additional charge per page. And oh yeah, when they find out he wants a CMS, it will be considerably more as well.
Unfortunately, as is typically the case, when you shop for price, you get what you pay for. He will either have a substandard website, or he will pay through the nose to get what he wants.
So what do I advise? When you decide to build a website, write down a list of requirements for your site. Then go out and ask reputable web firms for an estimate. If the firms you get an estimate from all have the requirements you desire, they can give you an accurate price. Then you can make an educated decision as to what will be the best product at a reasonable price. You can have the product you want at the price that works for your company. The result will be a great website you can be proud of and that will serve your company well.