I've been involved in web design/dev business before, and it's been rather big of a headache most times.
- Re-work requests
- Scope changes
- Lots of work to nail down requirements to prevent clients from wriggling out and finding some loophole to say, "a ha! you didn't do it to my liking yet"
I'd really like to just run a more cookie-cutter type business where staff can do their work without me getting involved so deeply each time. Now, tell me what you think of the following:
Offer up Joomla/OSCommerce packages with templates. Client picks one, and gives sales an idea of what they need. Sales presents to clients 3 different packages. Each package comes with a pre-determined amount of dedicated tech hours. A tech reviews the requirements and gives a good estimate, then sales presents to the client the most suitable package (based on # of hours of work required).
This positions the concept of "pay by the hour" to the client and nails them to it.
Then, a schedule is made to reserve work time by the tech. The client can either be on the phone, chat online, or just monitor by email. I'm thinking of dividing up these chunks of times into 4-hour blocks.
So suppose a client picks a package with 16 hours of tech time, then he can use the first block to communicate all the various pieces as well as negotiate with the tech to find the best way of getting what he wants. The last chunk should really be reserved for fixing bugs and cleaning up last-minute changes, as well as some training, if needed.
Now mind you, I am doing web dev. in an asian country. Here there is not concept of "charge by the hour" except maybe massages lol. No other web design companies work this way, so it's kind of a hard sell to tell customers, "well here's your quote, but it may go up depending on the situation".
What are your thoughts on this?
Sounds like a great business model that would be convenient and profitable for you.
Now, how are you going to sell it to customers? There is lots of competition and clients don't care how you run your business.
I don't think you're taking the concept to its full flowering.
The web is driving to a random website generator which makes the designer irrelevant. Site not to the client's liking? Just hit the generate button until it is, or the client gets tired out.
All the basic elements are there. Random stock photos of no business in particular. Random Mootools and Jquery gimmicks with no particular user in mind. Absolutely generic, lowest common denominator "pretty" layouts. Layouts which, but for the illusion of a client meeting, could apply just as well to any business inside or outside the industry the site is supposedly for.
Marketoids have contributed a generic drivel of buzzwords which seem to promise something, but really say nothing. Very nice for filling in the content. (No more waiting for client content. Bonus).
Frankly I wonder why CMS "systems" don't come with "Generate Site" buttons installed ...right down to the text. All you do is type in a name and keywords, and I think those can be automated as well.
(Don't forget to put up a tip jar, just in case the odd client wants to contribute a few cents)
The site wouldn't have a focus or purpose of course. And the benefit of that is you get to take all the credit and none of the blame.
I think you should stop half steps get to the end game so very many are playing towards. The best part yet is you need no staff. Including you.
[25+ Web 2.0 Generators to rescue. Or put all the element generators together and you get something like [URL="http://www.artisteer.com/"]Artisteer](http://desizntech.info/2009/02/25-web-20-generators-to-rescue-be-lazy/).