Every business is far more price conscious these days and that is definitely a good thing. However, sometimes going for the cheapest option is not the best idea and going for the best value is preferable. While a lower price may save your business money in the short-term will it provide long-term value or will you need to spend again in the near future?
This is definitely the case in design and I see it every day. Potential clients frequently approach me to get a redesign on their website and in some cases this may be the 3rd or even 4th attempt at getting the website that the business needs. Why so many? Unfortunately, in my experience, a lot of times businesses have opted for a cheap alternative that ends up not working properly, not being search engine compatible or simply not suitable for the needs of the business.
In several cases the designer is no longer in business or has moved on to a new country or industry, leaving the client high and dry if changes or maintenance on the website need to be done. So, with such differentiation in pricing how can design buyers evaluate the offerings of the many companies out there? I would suggest the following points are worth bearing in mind:
1. What exactly are your design requirements and what are your goals when the project is completed? Does the proposal of the design agency match with what you require?
2. Does the design company have a track record of providing what you are looking for? This may not necessarily be in the same industry but there should be evidence of successful completion of other projects that are similar in scale.
3. Is the price provided significantly lower than other prices that you have sourced? If so I would suggest caution - you may have a bargain but just as likely you may be dealing with an inexperienced provider or they may have completely underestimated the scope of what is involved in your project.
4. Consider design as an investment - not a cost. What I mean by this is that while design costs money, businesses commissioning design should see it as an investment that will generate income for their business which may be in the form of sales leads, publicity, brand recognition etc. It is not a 'dead' cost such as rent, rates, insurance and so on.