16 Jul Benefits of Smaller Design Firms
I had originally wrote this segment a long time ago, and intended it for our “about” section. I don’t know, but it seems more like a seminar speal than a friendly note about us, so I left it out. But, I think it’s a good read for potential clients anyway. This is mostly geared towards us in particular, but a lot of the same principles apply to other smaller agencies as well.
Why Smaller is Sometimes Better
There are many cost and quality benefits to working with a smaller agency like Corvus Design Studio. Have you ever wondered why some design companies charge $20,000 for the same website that a smaller company would charge $4,000 for? It is often a difference in overhead, not quality of service. Granted, not all design studios are equal in terms of quality of service, but that’s an easy thing to determine simply by looking at their portfolio. Because the web design industry is relatively new, it’s not always clear to potential clients how these prices are derived, so often a potential client will make the assumption that higher cost = higher quality. We can’t speak for the rest of the industry, but we can describe the cost and quality benefits of working with Corvus Design Studio so that you can make a more informed decision.
Cutting out the Middleman
Because we are a smaller agency, we are able to collaborate directly with our clients. We do not have a sales department, so as a client, you would communicate directly with our lead designer, cutting out the middleman completely. Not only does this save us a small fortune in overhead, but we find that things often get lost in translation when working with a sales rep. Eliminating the middleman allows for clearer communication between us and our clients, and allows cost savings that are passed on to our clients.
Quality Work Is Our Marketing Strategy
As a smaller agency, we don’t invest in outrageous and costly advertising campaigns or marketing. We rely mainly on word of mouth marketing and referrals. Because of this, it is our main goal to ensure each client is happy and satisfied with the services we provide.
In addition, we love to submit our projects to web design award presenters. Only outstanding designs, created with valid and error-free coding are considered. Another assurance of the quality work you’d receive with us.
Small Overhead = Reasonable Prices
Like most smaller agencies, we do not work from an exorbitant downtown office building. Although that would be nice, in order to maintain a profitable business we would have to factor that cost into our prices. It’s a luxury we’re willing to sacrifice to keep our costs within reason for our targeted clientele.
We feel very fortunate to have not been severely affected by the downturn of the economy, but we realize that many businesses, our potential clients, have been hit hard. Especially at this time in America, it would be a careless decision to push the cost of expansion onto our clients. Maybe when the rest of the country is prospering again, we’ll consider that level of expansion as well. Until then, we’re content putting on hold our dream of a lavish, ultra-modern downtown sprawl (within a block of a Jamba Juice, of course).
Websites made for people, by people
We do not rely on software, such as ColdFusion, to manufacture our websites. These solutions are great for enterprise websites whose purposes are more function than form, but not for our general clientele. Although we do offer a comprehensive CMS solution (ExpressionEngine), in most cases we handcode every page, utilizing today’s web standards, valid XHTML/CSS, and organic SEO (search engine optimization).
We have a limit to the number of projects we will take on at a given time. We don’t want to be stretched too thin to properly attend to our clients, so when we’re booked up we’ll turn down additional projects.
Doesn’t sound like the best strategy to grow and succeed, right? We look at it a little differently. We work very hard for our clients and we’d like to be known as “the agency that’s worth waiting for”. We want our clients to feel special and favored, and never like just another paycheck. We would like our success to come from hard work and unparalleled quality, and not from sheer volume of projects. If that means our growth to superstardom is a bit slower, we’re okay with that.
What you see is what you get
We have no sales spiels or useless fluff to offer. We assess your project details and provide reasonable quotes for the actual work done. We have a business conscience and feel that the prices we charge for the high quality work we provide is more than reasonable. Although there are other costs involved in creating websites and print materials (namely hosting and domain name), we do not have any hidden fees. Each project is a flat fee, determined based on a comprehensive analysis of the services needed.
This was mainly written because when I first started Corvus Design Studio, we had a string of potential clients decide to go with another firm simply because they were a bigger company. For a long time I couldn’t figure out why someone would want to pay 5 times the amount we were charging for the same quality of work (even higher quality if you ask me). Since then, I’ve come to understand that some people feel that higher cost equates to higher quality, which as any small company knows, is completely untrue. Web design is a relatively new business, and it’s not so cut and dry as say, an auto mechanic. I mean, if you’re replacing a transmission and one company quotes you $2500 and another quotes $5000, it’s apparent to anyone that one is trying to rip you off. Unfortunately, the same type of scenario in web design is not obvious. There are no standards and guidelines for web design companies, and quite honestly, web design firms can charge whatever they feel like, so long as someone is willing to pay their cost…. I know I’m rambling, but it is frustrating to lose potential clients to “fluff” companies who are more sales and less quality and knowledge. Hopefully this post will provide some insight as to the real reasons for the huge cost difference between some companies, and also hilite some of the perks of working with individuals instead of corporations.