Web Development and Perceived Value

April 30, 2016

Let’s try a thought exercise.

Say we have a client with an established business who wants an eCommerce website that will sell their products and services.

You are told the budget is $5,000 and they don’t want to spend more than that. You accept the project and after some time, the shiny new bobslocalgoods.xyz is launched to the public.

The website is received well and the established customer base loves the ability to buy their favorite products online. Good Job! Within the first 2 months of operation the website generated $20,000 of revenue!

But wait, why did we think $5,000 was a fair price for a project that generated $20,000 in revenue in the first 2 months it was operational? We could have charged much more than the original $5,000 and it still would’ve been a great investment for the client.

Web Development and value

According to BusinessDictionary.com, perceived value is defined as a customer’s opinion of a product’s value. It may have little or nothing to do with the product’s market price or realized value and depends entirely on their perception of the product’s ability to satisfy their needs.

If you don’t show your clients how valuable what you can do is, they will continue to perceive it as an expense and not an investment. This is a huge mistake! Don’t sell yourself short because the client doesn’t understand how valuable their project actually is.

The idea of hiring a web developer is daunting enough without thinking about the associated cost. People who don’t buy websites every day might not know all the options available, or how they might affect the price. It’s our job to help them figure that out. Most people have bought a car at some point, comparatively very few have bought a website or know how much one should cost.

Charge for value, not time.

Figure out what the client really wants

Most clients will approach you with a wish list of features or desires. (If they don’t you should work with them to make one) Assign a cost and benefit to each one, then figure out which ones are crucial and which ones are nice to have. Not only does this help you scope the project, but you’ll have a nice list of priorities if you need to adjust something.

As an added benefit, they will feel like they have more ownership of what you’re building and it will be much easier to see the value you are providing them with.


Trevor Atlas

👋 Hello,

My name is Trevor Atlas – I'm a Software Developer and Designer based in Washington, DC

For the past 5 years, I've worked at agencies and startups building functional and intuitive interfaces, flexible and robust services and powerful mobile applications.

When I'm not building user interfaces in React, most of my day-to-day work involves microservices in AWS using Terraform to scaffold infrastructure, Typescript and Go for application logic and Postgres/Redis as a data store. I've also been working on mobile applications with React Native and Expo.