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Web Design + Drag and Drop = $$$ ?

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by la nesra, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. la nesra

    la nesra Newbie

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    So at the moment, I go out and win web design work from local businesses.
    I then outsource it to a team abroad.

    Sounds great right? Win work, send it out to India, collect the money...

    WRONG.

    Here's the problems I'm facing:

    a) Clients tell me what they're after. I go away, write a brief, get the team to make mock ups.
    For every client there's always a number of revisions needed before they're happy with the design.
    Then, we have endless backwards and forwards communication between client/me/team,
    Once we start coding there's always reviews, changes etc etc

    Long story short, it takes about two months to complete each project
    The team I outsource to are good (good work and cheap), but its slooooooow. Like, watching paint dry slooooooow.

    And most importantly from a business perspective, it's not scale-able.
    There's only so much work the team can handle before they cant cope any more.
    They get to full capacity, my work slows down even more..

    b) the other problem is I don't have control - I'm at their mercy.
    What do I mean by that? For instance, there's nothing I can do to speed them up - they work at their pace, that's that.
    They'll miss deadlines and it's me that ends up looking bad to my clients

    Overall I've decided I need to move away from this model. I don't want to keep outsourcing work.
    Yes, I can find another team, but it's the same thing all over again.
    Plus, finding a team you trust, who's affordable and provide good quality work, that's a headache in itself.

    So what should I go guys?
    What works for you?

    Options
    I know there are going to be people that say "use themes and edit them"
    I've tried that in the past but the problem with that is, most people know enough about the internet to know you can buy website themes
    You cant charge clients top prices because they feel like you're "just editing a theme"

    *BLACKHAT METHOD* - One idea I've had is to rip other peoples site, change colors, remove any links in the code to the actual site.
    I could make minor edits and pass the work off as my own.
    I wouldn't be able to provide mockups, so the danger would be that they don't like the work, or they want wholesale changes
    This method would probably speed everything up. But I run risk of my business being exposed. All it needs is for someone to run into the original site, notice the striking resemblance, and I get left with egg on my face.

    Any of you guys run a business doing this? How's it work for you? How do you go about finding the sites to rip? Do you provide mock ups?
    Do you show the original site to the client and say "Look, I'll make you a site very similar to this?"

    **POTENTIAL NEW IDEA**
    We've all seen these drag and drop websites builders right?
    The type that allow you to make your own page/site, then charge reoccuring fees - Un bounce for example.
    Well, I'm thinking of using a drag and drop website editor, building a site myself, then selling the clients that.
    Because it's not a theme, it's easier to justify higher prices.
    Been doing research and it looks like you can build some pretty decent sites using plugins.
    Do any of you guys do this?

    If so, do you have a plugin/company you can recommend?

    Are there any other ways of speeding up the whole process that I'm missing?
    At this moment in time, hiring an in-house developer isn't viable, but that's the goal as soon as I can afford to pay wages!

    Help me out guys :)

    Any advise about you're doing things, or how I could do things better would be seriously appreciated.
     
  2. auxiliarus

    auxiliarus Regular Member

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    Or you could grow balls and tell your clients that you do work for a fixed price on an hour after the site is done, it means that every thing he gets wrong - he pays for it.
    Just cause your clients can't describe their future site from first time, does not mean you have to suffer from it.
    Say them right from the fucking beginning, you are not their personal toy, you didn't sign up for some shitty small fixes after the site is done.
    They give you an example site, you make it look like it, that's it - you completed your part - didn't you?
    If they can't imagine their website, they should hire a Web Designer, you are the coder - you make their visions of design come true - if they can't design, it's not your fault.
     
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  3. la nesra

    la nesra Newbie

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    It's not about growing balls - got no issue charging clients.
    Once mock up is approved, it's coded exactly as seen.
    Any changes that are requested incur a cost.

    But to give you an example, got a client at the moment who's being anal about responsive elements on every size screen.
    The site looks fine on 98% of screen sizes - this guy's testing it on sizes of screen I never even thought existed.
    Which, to be fair to him, it's his right.
    He's paying me, so I'll get it done.
    But the communication between me and client, then me and developer, then waiting for developer to make the changes etc - that's the part thats killing me.

    How do I speed that up, that's my question
     
  4. la nesra

    la nesra Newbie

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    Got to be a better way to handle the entire process, surely?
     
  5. mrsix

    mrsix Power Member

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    Yeah up your prices and use people that are local.

    Either that or JV with me ;) I create small / local business websites very often and it's never from pre-made themes.
     
  6. tdivan

    tdivan Newbie

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    This is really what dreamweaver is made for. I know its a bit pricey but it really makes it easy to change things about a site. I am old school so DW just does not work for me very well, I like the pain of two screens and a ftp site, go figure. but if your outsourced team can get the site mostly set you can ftp all your uploads to it on the fly. once you have the project files from your coders you can literally drag and drop, resize, and upload very easily. well worth the money if you do a lot of little stuff and color changes and crap like that.
     
  7. Agera

    Agera Junior Member

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    I understand exactly where you're coming from, this is the difficulty most have when it comes to outsourcing is the fact that you're at their mercy and when they mess up or take longer then expected, then it looks bad on you to your client. This is why it's important to try multiple providers that way you can find the right team/company to outsource to. Whomever you work with needs to understand that it's a business and that it needs to be treated as such, if you give them a time frame to have something completed, then it needs to be done by that deadline.
     
  8. the-dream

    the-dream Regular Member

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    The Visual Composer plugin that comes standard with a lot of new wordpress themes recently on themeforest is very good and has made customising wordpress sites a load more simple.
     
  9. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

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    For every client there's always a number of revisions needed before they're happy with the design.
    Then, we have endless backwards and forwards communication between client/me/team,
    Once we start coding there's always reviews, changes etc etc


    Use a simple client management portal - basecamp, huddle, proworkflow, etc = makes the communication easier. Also, don't do unlimited revisions - if you tell them "unlimited revisions" you will end up doing unlimited revisions. If they know from the start that they only have 2 or 3 then they will give you much more detailed instructions - it makes your job much easier - also set a price for additional revisions - and charge them if they need them. Your time should not be free. Get organized with a client/project portal and set a number of revisions - it will make the project go smoother because the client will be sure to gives you good details and feedback.

    Long story short, it takes about two months to complete each project
    The team I outsource to are good (good work and cheap), but its slooooooow. Like, watching paint dry slooooooow.


    Get a new team. Two months??? Should be 2 WEEKS max - sure the work might be cheap but in the long run it is costing you money. Have several outsource teams - trust me even ones that seem good at the time will eventually flake out and you will be fucked - always have back ups and always be testing new designers, coders, etc.


    And most importantly from a business perspective, it's not scale-able.
    There's only so much work the team can handle before they cant cope any more.
    They get to full capacity, my work slows down even more..


    Again, get better workers - they are out there.


    b) the other problem is I don't have control - I'm at their mercy.
    What do I mean by that? For instance, there's nothing I can do to speed them up - they work at their pace, that's that.
    They'll miss deadlines and it's me that ends up looking bad to my clients


    Did I mention get a new outsource team? You are letting them control YOUR business. Nonsense.

    Overall I've decided I need to move away from this model. I don't want to keep outsourcing work.
    Yes, I can find another team, but it's the same thing all over again.
    Plus, finding a team you trust, who's affordable and provide good quality work, that's a headache in itself.


    There are plenty - put the effort in if you really want to succeed. They aren't going to find you - you need to put the effort in if you want it.

    So what should I go guys?
    What works for you?


    Multiple outsource options - or build your own team in-house. Sure the cost is more, but if you can turn projects out faster and if the work is quality the sky is the limit when it comes to pricing. I can't tell you how many times I come across clients that paid a "web design company $5,000 - $10,000 for a freaking $40 themeforest theme.

    Options
    I know there are going to be people that say "use themes and edit them"
    I've tried that in the past but the problem with that is, most people know enough about the internet to know you can buy website themes
    You cant charge clients top prices because they feel like you're "just editing a theme"


    Fu#k themes - that is lazy and it is just horrible - provide something of value and you will get your worth.

    *BLACKHAT METHOD* - One idea I've had is to rip other peoples site, change colors, remove any links in the code to the actual site.
    I could make minor edits and pass the work off as my own.
    I wouldn't be able to provide mockups, so the danger would be that they don't like the work, or they want wholesale changes
    This method would probably speed everything up. But I run risk of my business being exposed. All it needs is for someone to run into the original site, notice the striking resemblance, and I get left with egg on my face.


    That isn't a "business" - stop looking for easy ways out - just get good teams and do the work - you just need to manage the operation - easy as pie - don't rip someones hard work - that's such a bitch move.

    Any of you guys run a business doing this? How's it work for you? How do you go about finding the sites to rip? Do you provide mock ups?
    Do you show the original site to the client and say "Look, I'll make you a site very similar to this?"


    Ripping sites is stealing. Again, pretty weak "business"

    **POTENTIAL NEW IDEA**
    We've all seen these drag and drop websites builders right?
    The type that allow you to make your own page/site, then charge reoccuring fees - Un bounce for example.
    Well, I'm thinking of using a drag and drop website editor, building a site myself, then selling the clients that.
    Because it's not a theme, it's easier to justify higher prices.
    Been doing research and it looks like you can build some pretty decent sites using plugins.
    Do any of you guys do this?

    If so, do you have a plugin/company you can recommend?


    This is as bad as selling themes.

    Are there any other ways of speeding up the whole process that I'm missing?
    At this moment in time, hiring an in-house developer isn't viable, but that's the goal as soon as I can afford to pay wages!


    You keep trying to find ways to speed it up - but you are missing the boat - just get GOOD workers - sounds like you can get clients - test a new outsource group each time - line up several - and reward the best ones with the most work - if you are feeding them work they should be bending over for you. The answer to all your questions is to work smarter, not harder - and stop looking for shortcuts.

    Good luck.
     
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  10. peter avey

    peter avey Newbie

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    I'm pretty interested in speaking with you in regards for my webdesign business. My business is based around a sales commission and then a monthly recurring fee – my main aim is to build a passive income and I have a killer sales pitch to get clients, I'm projected to earn £114k in year one! But my one problem I don't have time to sell!

    Drop me an inbox if you want to talk more.