So, I'm based in the UK and would like to start offering web-design services to my clients.
I myself am not a designer (I just don't have the eye for it) though I know there are many talented Indian designers that are; usually they'll also code at a cheaper rate than say a UK based designer would too.
With not having offered website design services to clients on a professional level before, I'd like to know a little more about the process involved from start to finish.
Can anyone here detail how they go about ascertaining a quote that isn't just a figure plucked form thin air, the stages from quoting to signing off a project and any tips on how to deal with one (or more) outsourced workers?
I understand this is vague, though any pointers are much appreciated.
I'd hate to try this - it's bad enough being in the middle when you do know design and have a known designer you've worked with many times. It's rare to get a client who knows what they want in design terms and doesn't need (at least to a degree) leading by the hand to something suitable for their brand, needs and market. They frequently ask for ridiculous things that will harm them that they then need to be talked out of gently, or shown a better way.
Quoting is easily done based on knowing roughly how many days a particular design is likely to take, along with weightings for it being graphic heavy / very light on graphics etc, will it need eCommerce, CMS, etc. Getting it right needs a degree of experience of the likely timings - so you'll need someone design aware for the first few (and a client willing to wait the little extra time for first estimate).
Now, I'm going to be harsh:
I myself am not a designer (I just don't have the eye for it)How on earth are you going to assess the client need, possibly rough out a wireframe for him, capture what he's trying to create as a requirement, establish what mood he's trying to convey, etc and then explain that to a designer in such terms that he is likely to create something resembling a suitable design? Even if you're presuming a 70%-80% profit margin going on Indian rates, and typical small business web designer rates in the UK, you are going to blow all of it doing and redoing designs that don't meet the client need. You're going to end up with a lot of unhappy clients and burn a lot of reputation while you figure out enough design to ask the right questions and capture the right things to avoid 10 times round the loop with your designer.
You'll probably lose a few designers in the process too.
I know that wont be what you wanted to hear.
My 2 cents:
I am in the process of out sourcing web design to India. To deal with the problem of getting a specific look I am having the developer look at a site that is pretty much exactly what I want for my site, yet with different text and a few minor different placement details.
So I would recommend as an option for you: Find a site that you like that is similar in nature to your site. Then tell the web developer to pretty much copy that site, yet with your text and minor design details. A picture speaks a thousand words right? So just show him/her what you want visually and add your text and other specifics. There are millions of really good websites out there. I am sure a few of them have what you are looking for visually.
I will let you know how mine goes.
Just my two cents, may not be the answer you are looking for.
I am based in the US, and from my experience running a web design firm, it is more cost effective to hire young professionals locally that I can meet with face to face. Their hourly rate is much higher but that is made up in the speed and quality produced.
It should be noted that by speed I don't mean how quick the design is made. I am referring to how quickly the full deal gets done with the client. Having a designer on staff allows for minor updates to be completed accurately. My experience has shown that the money and reputation lost, going back and forth with someone on another continent in another time zone is not worth it.
If I were working on a personal project, I would not hesitate to outsource it to India or another country. I know what I want. When I am attempting to create what someone else wants, I need the skilled professionals near me to complete it quickly and accurately.
Basically it's a process that estimates the number of hours effort... Most clients will come to you with a set of requirements - these may be very clearly thought through or it might be a vague idea that is still in somebody's head.
The first meeting you would normally do for free, so they can gauge your style/communication/project management methods. They might even ask you to pitch for the job against other design agencies. You need to know what you are doing if you're going to pitch against other agencies. Lets not go there for now.
Assuming the client has a bunch of requirements, after the first meeting where you understand what they are trying to achieve you would probably do a little bit of work to demonstrate to them that you are the man for the job. This may not even involve design - it might just be clarification of their goals written down in a formal specification.
Most leads will involve some risk of the potential client not becoming a client - so you have to be prepared to lose some. The more engaged you can be with them and their idea, the better the chance that you will get their business. Show them other relevant work you have done to convince them you're the best choice. It's likely they are looking at other design agencies as well. Find out what their budget is.
Once they decide they like you (but before you quote), it's back to the requirements and breaking it down into milestones or deliverables. This is basic project management really. Talk to them about the milestones and break each one down into a list of tasks. At the task level, estimate how long each task will take. At the end of this process you will have a bunch of milestones and tasks and an understanding of how many hours it will take for this to happen. If you are not familiar with estimation (or even breaking the milestones down into tasks) you may have to outsource this (or employ a project manager). Try to understand from the client which milestones (and what functionality) are must have and which are nice to have.
Throw some contingency into the estimation - between 10 and 20%, and multiply by your hourly rate. Remember what their budget is. Then go back to the client and see how they react. Most will try to negotiate. You know what your margins are and you know how hooked in your clients are, so make the right judgement such that you keep the business but without reducing your margins too painfully. That's the quote end of things.
If you haven't been involved in quoting for web design work before I'm not sure how you are going to do it other than handing off the whole process to somebody that can do it. Unless it is very simple, there is going to be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing which if outsourced (and you being the main point of contact) will be a laborious and potentially frustrating process for all concerned.