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    37 Replies Latest reply on Mar 10, 2010 6:58 PM by creativewayss

    Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?

    libria Wayfarer
      I have been trying to get my site up for about a month now. I hired 4 people through and to create Joomla site (not ecommerce but similar because there are product catalogs involved). They all failed to deliver what they promised. They missed the deadlines. Their quality was bad (not matching what was in their portfolios). They didn't include features I asked for etc. Yet they don't know how to say sorry. One of them asked for 50% upfront money and I lost it. :-(

      Frustrations after frustrations, I let go #4 developer yesterday and trying to figure out what is wrong. If $500 is too little, I can get rid of some pages and features to reduce the cost. But where and how can I find reliable and trustworthy developers? Why do they say one thing and do another? Can't find integrity anywhere...

      As a startup, this is such a challenge. I can't afford to spend a few thousand dollars on creating website at this moment. So would I get only incapable and dishonest developers with $500 as people say you get what you pay for?

      Does anybody have any tips and ideas? I am very so tired of those developers...

      Sorry about negative posting and thanks for reading. Hope you all have a good day. :-)
        • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
          Iwrite Pioneer

          I'm not sure if you can for $500 and how did you arrive at this price? If the designer's hourly rate is $25 per hour that is only 20 hours to build a website.

          I think that is going to be tight. But if someone is willing to do it then let me suggest a couple of things you should ask or require:
          1. Ask to see their portfolio - this is not negotiable.
          2. Ask for three current references and check them
          3. Get a signed agreement that outlines your expectations and deliverables.
          4. Ask questions about how the site will work and how many revisions and how easy will it be to update, it is called CMS.
          5. Ask to see their portfolio - this is not negotiable. I know I repeated this but it is worth repeating.

          This economy has a lot of folks saying they can do things for cheap but you get what you pay for. I am not attacking anyone, I am simply saying that $500 is extremely low for a designer. The good ones charge more because they are that good, and there is a difference.

          Good luck.
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
              libria Wayfarer
              Thank you very much for your advice, Iwrite. I am planning to increase the budget.
              • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                Hymesdesign Adventurer
                I just wanted to address one thing that was said, the good designers charge more because they are good is what they want you to think, but really pricing in web design is based on one thing, confidence, at least when you're talking individual desingers. I personally know two guys in my home town that both charge more than twice my rates, and niether is worth anything in my opinion one uses terrible bigg buttoned templates that were out of date when he bought them and the other codes his own stuff like a high school freshman that just learned HTML in tutorial class as something to do.

                So if you find a price that's low be wary but you don't have to go with the more expensive guy just because he acts like he knows more, he might be a total disaster, and checking portfolios is a great idea but with "companies" a portfolio may not be representative of the quality of work you will get I know some of my local competitors better portfolio pieces were in fact designed by me when I considered myself a no good freelancer...

                Lastly and probably the biggest issue here is the use of developer versus designer, these term generally refer to two completely different types of people. If you want a well designed website you want a good designer, if you want a site with databases, applications, and lots of backend coding you want a developer if you want both then generally speaking you really should hire both. I know I've done developer type work for past clients but it's not really what I do and I'm no expert in it but most honest developers will admit to lack of skill in design as well.

                Anyway rant done, and I can't actually answer the main question because I don't do developlement work so pimping myself out here would be both dishonest, and ultimately doomed to failure, assuming you did need a devolper and not a designer.
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                  Hi Iwrite,

                  We've had both succes and failure at the $500 level-- depends on what you expect. If you want to dominate the search engines in a competitive area and drive 10 phone calls a day from traffic to the site, you'll be disappointed. If you have tight-- I mean, TIGHT, requirements, you can get it done with an offshore coder that is well-rated on odesk or rentacoder. We learned this the hard way. You have to also advertise to get traffic, too.

                  With gratitude,
                  Dennis Yu
                    • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                      Iwrite Pioneer

                      I want to clarify that price is not the only indicator as to whether or not a person gets a website that works. I think you are right, you have to know what you want and communicate it to the designer. The design and flow of the site has an impact on the success of a site also. You are also right that you have to advertise also. Search engines are not the only thing people should be thinking about but it is so hard to get folks to realize that.
                        • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                          libria Wayfarer
                          Hi Iwrite,

                          What other things than search engines do you suggest to consider for advertisement? I'd like to hear your ideas. Happy Holidays! - by original poster -
                            • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                              Iwrite Pioneer

                              There is developing a social media presence (facebook, youtube, myspace, twitter, linkedin and others). Let people get to know you and like you and they will buy from you more often.

                              Email marketing allows you to remind and reinforce current and past customers what you have to offer, and encourage trial by new prospects.

                              Blogging allows you to develop a more human side of company or product while educating people as to what you have to offer.

                              Electronic newsletters work too.

                              These are interactive approaches. Offline approaches can also work if you are patient and consistent. True some cost more but they have their benefits. There is also becoming active in the community.

                              The web is a great tool, but I think we depend on it so much that we forget about some of the less technology driven ways to reach people. Sure it requires more work but it can reap huge benefits. I recently wrote a proposal for a client who was invited to bid on a multi-million dollar project by someone who was impressed with their community outreach. They had work along side them on a project and discovered they like the people and what they stood for. My client did no selling, they simply were themselves. All it cost my client was a few hours of working on someone else's home.

                              How many business cards are you handing out and what do they say about you and your business?

                              We make this too hard. We need to be thinking about how to reach people on and off the web.

                              Merry Christmas!!
                            • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                              Hi Iwrite,

                              I fully agree with you and would add that price is probably a less important factor than ultra clear requirements, a good relationship with the developer/designer and knowing what competition you're up against. We've put up great sites for under $100, have also failed at projects where we've spent over $500k. More money is no indicator of greater success, any more than having a fancy sportscar with a newbie driver is any less of a guarantee you'll not crash into a tree.

                                • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                  Iwrite Pioneer

                                  I agree about the need for clarity but I don't believe you are inaccurately representing what I mean about price. I think you can pay too much AND you can pay too little. I am talking about setting a price for a task that you cannot do before talking with people who do the task. Let me clear this up:

                                  I believe in having a budget but I also believe in being reasonable. I believe $500 for a website is pushing the boundaries of being reasonable, especially if you want it to do more than simply present product. I think you get what you pay for.

                                  Would you expect a $500 car to run like a brand new car? No.
                                  Would you expect a $200 TV to perform like a $1000 TV? No.
                                  Would you expect a $100 diamond to have the same quality as a $1000 diamond? No.

                                  But still we claim that a website costing nearly nothing is going to behave like a website that cost more. I know what it takes to create a website that allows people to place orders, maintain their accounts and provide security to protect them from information theft, and you cannot get that for $500. And if you do, I would not sleep well, thinking my customers' information is safe. But no where in this discussion has anyone mentioned security or maintaining customer information for easier repeat ordering. As a matter of fact, I do not remember anyone talking about customer security at all in any of the posts about getting a cheap website! I just realized that.

                                  I have seen $100,000 websites make millions in the first few months. I have seen them lose money. I have seen less expensive sites do well but I have also seen them do poorly. It depends on more than the price of the web design, it depends on the quality of product, the quality of the message, the price you are selling it at, the flow of the website, the position on the search engines, the competition in the market place and even more variables.

                                  The poster found that he or she had to increase their budget to get the site they want. Did they pay 10 times what they started with? No. The thing folks should learn from this thread is: figure out what you want your website to do and write it down, do some research, get bids, check references and talk with the designers before picking a number out of the air for what a website should costs. Do your due diligence.

                                  Please do not take this the wrong way, I am not attacking Mongoose or doubting his claims. I am simply saying be careful and do your homework. You can pay too little and you can pay too much for web design.
                          • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                            libria Wayfarer
                            Thank you all who answered my questions.
                            • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                              MoveForward Scout
                              As to have them work with pre-set templates then you will know what it will look like up front.
                              See "Homested Templates" online they have a two minute video for you to better understand how
                              templates work.
                              • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                libria Wayfarer
                                Thanks everybody for your input! I am still looking.
                                • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                  Ambitousss Newbie
                                  Late response, but just came up upon this forum site. I go thru this company and have had two websites done by them. My new website has blog, gallery, four pages, flash, and newsletters. Not thinking you may need exactly that but I thought I'd share my business interaction with you. All that only cost me $640 and hosting is 9.99. give them a call, check them out. They want business and sets you up with designers, they also do ecommerce and they host. Hope this helps, I like this company and had them for 4years because after they design my website's lay out as I wanted it I can change any wording and pictures I want on my own. If I need anything else change they have a request form. Good luck hope I wasn't too late!
                                  • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                    BangWeb Newbie
                                    The short answer is: No. You can't get a "good" developer for $500 to design and build out a site.

                                    The long answer is: Good developers (or designers, doesn't matter for my answer which we're talking about) are in demand. This allows them to work at a $ rate that would only give you 7 to 10 hours for $500. Does that mean you can afford less experienced, there for lower $ rate developers, more? Well, actually no. You may get 20+ hours for $500 from a less experienced developer/designer. But that doesn't mean you will get further in your project. A good developer should be much more productive per hour and with fewer mistakes. Also, good developers are very concerned with their reputation and know that their next job may from from a reference of a past job so they will do a better job of meeting the objective.

                                    Also, elance and other freelance sites are a mixed blessing. If you're experienced at posting jobs, seeing through the bids that are "trouble from the beginning", and then good at managing a project remotely then elance and like sites are great. If you're new to elance, you will have a learning curve, sometimes an expensive, frustrating learning curve.

                                    I hope you got things worked out on this project. And for future readers of this thread, please remember that quality/experience/verifiable references are your most important factors in picking a developer/designer. Rate per hour is pretty low in the importance scale to me.

                                    I hope this helps.
                                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                    • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                      libria Wayfarer
                                      Thanks everybody. I doubled my budget and found a company. Due to several failures I had, I don't know how it will go this time. I will update this post later. Steve (BangWeb), you are right. I think there is a big learning curve there at outsoucring sites even though I have extensive knowledge and experience with outsourcing itself from my previous jobs. This one is different. Thank you all.
                                      • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                        br2002vz Newbie
                                        500? Maybe if you hire someone from another country who charges $12 an hour. A realistic price for a good website starts at $1K and up.
                                        • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                          vivianrollins Wayfarer
                                          Depending on what you are looking for, this might or might not be enough. If you are a small business on a budget, consider my services at
                                          Check out the templates available and if you need to see more, contact me from there. Once you determine which layout and design is right for you, I'll build it according to your needs for free. All you need to do is register for a domain (if you don't have one) and set your name server to mine. You still own the domain, it is just hosted on our server. You pay $9.95 per month or just $99.95 per year. That's something you'll need to pay no matter where you host so why not try me and get yourself a free designed website in the process?

                                          I hope to hear from you soon.
                                          • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                            libria Wayfarer
                                            Thank you "vivianrollins" but the company I hired is doing an excellent job. We almost completed design phase and now entering development phase. I will update this post (if it is allowed) once my site is up (scheduled for end of this month). Thank you all.
                                            • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                              lynny05 Wayfarer
                                              Good to hear that you've found someone you like and that's doing a good job for you so I won't offer my services here. However, I would like to address the issue of how cheap is too cheap when you're looking for a web designer. I personally am low-cost, not cheap. I do believe there are a lot out there who are cheap and their work proves it but there are some of us who charge low prices for other reasons and we're good at what we do. I started out advertising for small businesses and the main thing I found out that most of them have little or no budget for advertising anymore. THEY ARE SMALL BUSINESSES. They can't compete with large multi-million dollar businesses. Making my rates lower for them doesn't make me a bad advertiser. I don't give them cheap service. The ones who advertise with me appreciate the low cost but effective methods I use. So, when I started making websites (again, for smaller businesses) I knew I couldn't charge outlandish prices. I went far below the normal costs. Yes, less than $500. I charge a flat rate of $279 and then $24.99 a month after. The monthly cost is because I do something a lot of designers don't do. I stick around to maintain and update their site. Whenever they want. As many times as they want. No extra cost per hour just the straight $24.99/month. They never have to touch it since maybe they don't know how, don't have the time or for whatever reason. All they have to do is get in touch with me, tell me what they want changed and that's it. I do it for them. Most all of the businesses I talk with seem to like this better than doing it themselves. I don't do ecommerce websites- mine are Brochure websites which are just right for 98% of businesses. That also keeps the cost down. Anyway, thanks for letting me put in my 2 cents worth. I just want everyone to know not EVERY low cost web designer is cheap and not worth checking out.

                                              • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                                Wr3nch Newbie
                                                Good suggestions for looking for a site developer, I wish I looked more
                                                before I hired Heritage Web Design now HIT Web Design. Ive got other
                                                websites I want to have developed, but I think I will be paying more to
                                                get a better designer. It was the $199 web page offer that "reeled" me in. After getting burned by Heritage. I think paying more for a better designer/developer
                                                may be the best option.

                                                Without getting into the many issues with Heritage Web, I've been looking alot lately at for another site I'd like to get developed. They arent accredited with the, but do have an "A-" rating...quote was reasonable... I'd be interested in any input about them.

                                                SInce I'm also looking for another developer/designer, heres what I'm doing....

                                                Read and understand the
                                                Terms of Service. Know EXACTLY what I want in the site and what is needed. Be
                                                certain the developer understands all aspects of what it is you are
                                                requesting for the site. Be certain the designer is experienced to do
                                                what I am requesting. Compare quotes; It helps weed out
                                                the companies that are looking to overcharge or sell additional
                                                products/services that arent needed or want, Afterall, it is a business and they do it to make money. I know your looking to spend $500 or less, but imo it should be that you feel that $500 is well spent and you did not just get any "cheap" site that you will be unsatisfactory.

                                                On a side note... I was surpriesed that I was qoted $10,000 for a site with one company, then $1500 by another when requesting for the site and explaining same items/features/vision of site, etc.. For a $1500 I would expect a professionally layed out site that is clear and easy to read, eye-catching, userfreindly, but at $10,000. that thing better be popping out of the viewers monitors, images dancing around in holographic 3-dimensional, with surround sound! All im saying, is don't pay too little for something you wont be satisfied with, and dont pay too much that you regret the money could have been spent elsewhere, if thats any advice.


                                                Also, look at accreditation, rating and how many complaints, types of complaints. Although this necessarily dont tell you about the company, as there are many great companies that arent accredited...
                                                  • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                                    Ambitoussss Wayfarer

                                                    Yes! Hit web design is a bad company. I had two websites done with them. My first cost me $1100 and for three years was fine and I realize that was because I didn't need much work on it. My second is a disaster, 4 months and my website isn't finished. Endless voicemails and emails, yet no responnds.... Wow

                                                      • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                                        LoveWeb Newbie
                                                        Hello Ambitoussss,

                                                        Best wishes to you in 2010! I hope it will bring huge growth to your business.

                                                        I would like to order you a help with doing web site for you. Our cost is very low and we are group of highly professional people from Ukraine. Sounds too good to be true? :) In reality we were/are employed in companies providing IT service - web design having European and American Clients. We are ready to move forward and work directly on clients with having an employer. This should benefit both sides - you get highly-skilled professionals for creating your web-site and we get client to work with directly.

                                                        We have great experience in modern technologies and can offer you completing your web site design in short time and for low price which is explained by our location - Ukraine is the country with fairly low cost of life. We also understand that communication is essential part of any work so we are open to communicate with you any time and any level of the web design process.

                                                        Choose us - and you won't regret, we are group of hard-working people with very high standards.

                                                        Please do not hesitate to contact me:

                                                        Best regards,
                                                    • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                                      New to the forum and happy to be here.
                                                      As you have seen many times you will not be able to hire an experienced web developer for the amount that you are mentioning to pay. As someone in the IT industry I can tell you to expect to shell out at least $100.00 per hour. But you really should not be paying someone by the hour to do this type of work, this shoudl be a package type pricing. Look I haven't looked at the features in this forum but if I can I will send you a priavte message to contact me and if you like I can tell you what to expect for your money. No I will not charge you for answering some simple questions. Also I maybe able to point you in a better direction for website development; which what I think you are really looking for.
                                                      • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                                        libria Wayfarer
                                                        Just to leave a update like I promised a couple of months ago. The company I found after doubling the budget was able to complete my site ( It took much longer than planned and there were some things that could have been done better but they worked really hard and the owner was committed and dedicated. They also have 1 year tech support without extra charge. I am happy with the result. Now that I think about it, I could have done things differently to avoid the failures but back then, I had no idea. Good luck to everyone! If anybody needs information on this company, please feel free to contact me.
                                                        • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?


                                                          $500 budget is enough for developing a professional website if you do not need complicated server-side technology.

                                                          Let me put it this way. In order for a website to work, you have front-end browser side and back-end server side. The front end is 'look and feel', the back end is database and integration with front end.

                                                          Let's say you only want a website that delivers information only. You will hire a web develop team. They will have a graphic designer create psd page and , with your approval, turn that to html.


                                                          If you need database, then you can have your team create database to work with front end.


                                                          What happens in elance is that, some providers can only create graphics, some can create graphics and create a web. Some can write backeend coding and create databse only - but he doesn't know how to create graphics. Some are one-stop shop.


                                                          To develop a website, you need to think yourself as a web project manager. When you hire people on elance, decide the following: do you want to hire 3 freelancers: one for graphic, one for html, one for database and back-end coding; or, do you want to hire a one-stop shop?


                                                          The tricky part about developing a website is that because the service buyer (you) do not know the complication that technology involves, therefore, those service providers can bid very high, or bid very low and price range is wide. This is like a graphic designer can charge you $300 for a logo, or can charge you $50 for a logo. Trust me, $50 is not necessarily less quality - the key is you must know how to IDENTIFY TALENTS.

                                                          Hiring a virtual team can be frustrating. Try to learn how to deal with them. Elance have some providers that are notorious, but they do have some good quality developers. Make sure you look at feedback, and look at the date he has been on elance. You might want to shine away from those who just join for less than one year. Look at feedback just like the way you look at feedback of sellers on eBay.

                                                          Take your time to find a good team. It will pay off. You can remain a long term relationship with them.
                                                          • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?

                                                            Did you find someone?
                                                            I can refer you to a few of the folks that we use.
                                                            Some are offshore.

                                                            • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                                              securians Wayfarer
                                                              Yes, you can. What worries me a bit is how often I read that startups should hire a developer / hands-on lead developer.Pickup some best offshore software programmers and hire webdevelopers like securenext software. sample:
                                                              • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                                                scootersingh Newbie
                                                                What are your requirements? what do you want in the website. I can do it. do you have hosting account? you will need hosting with MYSQL. you will get shopping cart and catalog. We are a corporation so no worries about false promises. You have to add content yourself. you can pay us through paypal or by any mean you want. we will also upload your site and give you some technical support.

                                                                NexGen Software Inc
                                                                • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                                                  saji.dasan Newbie
                                                                  HI - I would be more than happy to help you with your web design / development needs.
                                                                  Please shoot me an email and I would be more than happy to discuss this with you.

                                                                  • Re: Can't I hire a good site developer for $500?
                                                                    creativewayss Newbie

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                                                                    Our services include the development and production of printed material (brochures, direct mail, copy-writing, advertisements etc), TV commercials, radio spots and websites. We also provide press releases, media placement, logo development, full-color printing and over 75,000 different promotional items for imprinting. We offer over 20 different advertising and marketing services under one roof.


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