When I first meet someone, I will ask them anything…except what they do for a living. I do this for a couple reasons. First, I once had a job that made me dread this question. Second, the most interesting thing about someone usually isn’t their job.

That said, I sometimes get asked this question. I say ‘online marketing and website design’, then change the subject.

This seems to intrigue people because, no matter what, the topic always comes back around. They are bound to ask me what I charge and I am bound to horrify them.

“Well, basic websites we do start at $3000.” I can see the color drain from their faces and while no one has actually screamed in agony yet, I can tell what they are thinking. “Why do you charge so much money?!?” Here’s a blog post to save on the boring explanation in case you ever meet any of us at a party.

You charge what?!? (The Scream by Van Gogh seemed appropriate both from a sentiment and non copyrighted standpoint)

You charge what?!? (The Scream by Van Gogh seemed appropriate both from a sentiment and non copyrighted standpoint)

Billing by the project, not the hour.

Do you love sitting at a desk with your stopwatch, timing every task you do during your workday? Yeah, us either. Working like that would drive anyone nuts. ‘How many hours will that take?’ is a common question but it is one we are trying to change.

It’s understandable why people ask: they want an idea of how much a project will cost. If it were me, I’d need to know too! On the web developer though end, I am wanting to solve their problem/give them something fantastic. So working with those two points of view, quoting on a project basis makes the most sense, for everyone.

At the beginning, we want to take time to:

  • Do a ton of research, both about you and your industry.
  • Find the best integrations with the website software.
  • Figure out ways to save you time and money with your website.

We plan out the project based on content, design, and functional website requirements and quote based on that. If the client sees the quote and says ‘Eh, we really don’t need to accept credit cards.’ we take that part out and resend the adjusted quote.

We think this complete, project-based quoting attracts the right kind of people, ones who want us to solve problems and grow their business, not stopwatch enthusiasts.

‘Affordable’ Is Relative

“I can’t afford that.” said Anonymous Prospective Client. Almost in the same breath, he told me about his new computer. I added up the components in my head and realized he had a computer worth twice as much as mine. I had to smile; ‘affording’ is relative.

The point is we all have different priorities. We want to work with people who have put a priority on their online presence. Thinking of it another way, we want to build websites that will make people way more than what they paid for it.

‘Simple’ Is Also Relative

Much like the word ‘affordable’, the word ‘simple’ is also relative. Just because something is online doesn’t mean it is simple, which is why the project quoting we outlined above also works well in another way: people know what part(s) are complicated.

If someone wants something truly simple, like a one page website they are going to slap online and never touch again, there are plenty of people who can build them. We just won’t.

We expect that even for the simple sites we build that people will take pride in them and want them to be beautiful, informational and functional. Plus since our reputation is our most important commodity, we need to not hide our faces when someone says, ‘Breaking Even did this.’

We won’t compete based on price. We will based on service though.

Our quest to be the best means taking the time to learn new technologies and work with clients directly. We can’t take this time if we are frantically cranking out 20 websites a month, answering thousands of emails, and maintaining so many social media accounts our heads begin to spin.

There is always going to be someone, probably in India, who can make a cheaper website than we can. And that’s ok. If someone is just looking at the number at the bottom of the quote to make a decision, why would they hire us anyway?

Taking the time to do it right. Training your staff on updating your site. Answering your questions when you call as straight forwardly as we can. That’s what you are paying for. We need to build in that time for you because we want to, and those who want an awesome website want that too.

We are competitive in our industry. 

According to Website Magazine, the average website design costs between $2000-$10000. So $3000 for our lowest priced websites are actually fairly competitive in terms of market value. And if you talk to our clients (many of whom we’ve charged more than $3000 for their website) they’ll tell you that working with us saved them time, money, and hassle.

For people who can’t afford $3,000, we have an alternative: training. That’s right, we will sit with you and show you how to use the open source software we use. I don’t know of any other web development company that does this, at least openly.

But in the training situations it is the client who is driving the design process, not us, which in our experience means things get done slower and maybe not as completely as we would have done the project. (Just as fair warning.) But we do it because we want to help people with more time than money.

We are in it to win it. 

Breaking Even isn’t some ‘until something better comes along’ project. I quit a job to do this full time and I’ve turned down several ‘real’ jobs to keep doing this work. Trust me, if I wanted to do other things, I’d be doing them.

If you go with Breaking Even, we aren’t going to go *poof* in the night. We are Chamber of Commerce and Rotary members. We have an office in Bar Harbor you can actually visit. We give seminars on a regular schedule. We work with an online team of highly skillful people. This business is in it for the long haul and we have priced ourselves to survive and thrive in this economy, and to help the businesses we work with do the same.

Is it worth it to spend thousands of dollars on  a website? That’s up to you to decide but from what we see, the internet is only getting more popular and easy to access so ignoring it is really no longer an option. But if you need to outfit your work truck or buy a photocopier instead, we aren’t here to stop you. You do what you need to do, and we will do the same.

A website tailored to your needs using open sourced software created by talented competent professionals who take time for you? Now I think that’s a bargain.

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