How much does a new bespoke website really cost to create in 2019?

Ok, first of all, yes we’re a web design company, but this isn’t a sales pitch. Hopefully you’ll be able to compare the different approaches and you’ll be able to decide which is right for you.

We’re based in the UK with an office in Swansea, South Wales, where our web designers, web developers and digital marketing team are based, and we’ve got an office in High Wycombe, Bucks, that we use for meeting our clients for face to face bits of the project, if that’s more convenient for them, or we need more than a video call.

The cost really comes down to the company you use, my view is that there’s a few different types:
  • Freelancer
  • One Person Company
  • Small Agency
  • Large Agency

Plus of course you’ve got the DIY online website builders, that’s another article, but honestly, if you go down that route, go with either Shopify or SquareSpace. I’ve got no affiliation with them, but when I have private digital marketing consultancy clients, some have come to me with existing websites on these platforms and they do a pretty good job, much better than others out there.

Sometimes we’ll get enquiries from companies that come with a very detailed web design brief, so we can itemise and cost quite easily. Other times, it’s a good quality conversation, and we develop the brief. Then you get the “I need a website, how much is it please?”.

Websites shouldn’t be a tick in the box exercise for your company, it should be the heart of your marketing and a core investment.

But anyway, cost…

Lets look at a brochure website, say a few pages, for a typical small business, Plumber, Solicitor, Financial Adviser, Physiotherapist, you get the idea. Home, Services, About, Blog, Contact.

Lets go back to the different companies, and go into more depth, look at the cost and differences.

Just as a side note, I started as a freelancer, grew into a One Person Company, now run a Small Agency and as a digital consultant, have worked with Large Agencies. This gives me a pretty good idea of the differences from first hand experience.

Freelancer

We’re talking here about someone remote, maybe based in the UK, or overseas, they cost for the project, do it and that’s the end.

I believe this is the cheapest option, and for our example project, you might pay anything between £100 and £500, probably no VAT either.

The positive is that it’s cheap. The negative is the quality and aftercare.

Think about it, if they charge £100 a day, they’re going to spend 1 to 3 days on the project, it’s going to be a quick turnaround, your brief needs to be good and you need to be a good project manager to ensure you get what you want. Once the project is done, the’re onto the next, so you’re not going to get much ongoing support.

I did this for about a year before I went to the next stage.

One Person Company

This is someone who’s taking things a little more seriously, probably a freelancer who’s trying to grow the business. I believe you’ll get better aftercare here.

But again, it’s someone who moves from project to project, when they’re done with your website, they’re onto the next, but they’re more likely to give you some support, however they’re on their own, so there’s only so much time.

Costs, well you’re going to be spending a little more here, but still cheap, somewhere between £500 and £1500, again, probably no VAT.

I was here for around 4 years, before I started employing.

Small Agency

Ok, this is where I am now.

We’ve got a small team of employed professionals. We’ve got overheads, paid holiday, pensions, you know the score, plus we have to charge VAT. That’s not too much of an issue as our customers are VAT registered too, but you do get this stage, particularly in the early days, where you deal with customers who are a mix of non VAT and VAT registered.

My reason for growing to this stage was because as a One Person Company, I had a great reputation, but that created demand and I needed people to help deliver the level of service that was important to me.

The biggest benefit at this stage is “big enough to cope, small enough to care”.

We’ve got enough people here to cope with concurrent projects, ongoing support and holidays.

But we’re still small enough to be flexible, cope with the people that have a detailed brief, and those that need hand-holding.

Once the website is built, that’s not the end, it needs support, the customer will forget how to change something via the CMS, they’ll get a new phone and need help getting emails working, there’s going to be some bugs, that’s the nature of software.

Costs do start to go up here, you’ll be paying anything from £1000 to £5000 plus VAT for our example website. I’ll happily tell you, we’d probably charge £2100 + VAT.

Probably, because it does depend on the customers circumstance, how much help is needed with content, but we’d go over that in an initial free meeting and confirm a FIXED price for the project, before commitment.

Large Agency

At one point I thought I’d grow to this stage, but now, it doesn’t appeal to me.

In terms of costs for our example website, you’d be looking of £5000 + VAT upwards quite easily.

I’ve worked with some on behalf of my private digital consultancy clients and I feel it becomes a bit rigid.

Large teams need detailed processes and procedures, flexibility is removed somewhat.

One client I’ve got at the moment uses a large national agency. Recently we needed a change to the website taking maybe 3 development days…

  • there needs to be a client produced detailed brief, took us about 2 hours
  • a project manager reviews the brief and turns it into a specification, taking 2 weeks, costing around £800 + VAT
  • costs are confirmed for the change, £4000 + VAT, plus the spec costs
  • project is scheduled in, waiting 3 weeks, and done to the letter, taking 4 weeks
  • change is reviewed on a test environment, bugs fixed, 3 weeks turnaround
  • any variation, a new change process is started

I do understand that in some situations, a process like this needs to be followed, but for us, a Small Agency, you’d be looking at £1300 + VAT, a couple of weeks in total, we’d help create the specification via conversation or email and we’d allow minor changes, because these things happen, that’s life.

So what does a new website cost?

Well, for our simple brochure website – anything between £100 and £5000 + VAT.

You need to decide what your budget is and weigh up the pros and cons for ongoing care.

That would be my biggest difference, aftercare, ongoing support – a website can’t just be built and left, and that’s why after trading since 2008 I’ve settled at the size we are now, a small web design agency.