The High Cost of a Low Shop Rate

It’s important to think about what a shop rate means. For a construction crew, there’s the obvious cost of raw materials, vehicle licensing, and permits. But a lot of that cost is baked into the labor and man hours required to get the job done.

For a web development team, that rate can’t be quantified in terms of raw material. It’s ALL labor. More than that, it’s also experience and efficiency. You can pay a bright-eyed developer with little experience less than you can a full-stack developer. Why? Because one will get the job done for you in six months where the other might get you something running in six weeks.

Which is why, when a client approaches me with a project, I have to raise my eyebrow any time they say these words:

“Any chance we can get you to budge on that rate?”

Part of me empathizes. But the other part always has me responding:

“What part of the project do you want to cut?”

Because one of the things I hate most is seeing a wishy washy project go live. If we’ve got our hands in too many cookie jars on a short check and a shorter timeline then the project will suffer. Either we’ll have all the features in a half-made state or we’ll be forced to drop features in crunch time. Much better to reconsider the scope of a project at the top of the game than at the bottom.

The shop rate PXP provides and the estimates I propose are the product of a living body of experience.

I know my developers, their skills, and their timelines.

I know what frameworks demand what amount of doing it takes to get the job done.

Even for those left-field, pioneering ideas, I’ve got enough of a handle that I can ballpark an estimate close to what a new feature might cost.

We can work things out. After all, these budget estimates are not precisely set in stone. I always mention how I’m much more willing to commit to a project at a lower rate if it means a higher rate and a closer partnership with a client.

But I can’t help but reconsider a client who asks for the moon and pays me bus fare for the trouble. I assume that’s how they approach every relationship and it gets me nervous.

Consider your web site or app a worthy investment -- and establish the proper digital infrastructure to carry it forward.

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