Not long ago I read a great article called How Public Perception of WordPress Influences Developer Contracts and it really got me thinking about how this applies to me and my business. The main takeaway is:
Some people massively undervalue custom WordPress projects
With WordPress, so many things are cheap or even free. You have a huge repository of free plugins and themes available. You also have websites with massive selections of “premium” plugins and themes (usually ranging from $20 to $80). For an entire website/blog, that’s dirt cheap (or entirely free!). We run into a problem when people then want to enhance their site with custom work.
The thinking is: If I buy this plugin for $35 and want to hire a developer to tweak it, the tweaks should be less than the price of the plugin since the modification I want is smaller than the plugin itself.
Sadly, that’s not at all true!
Custom work is worth more than a pre-made
I sell my Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin for $35. That gets you:
- Tons of boxes for entering in book information.
- 8 review archives that update automatically.
- 8+ custom widgets
- And so much more…
So then let’s say someone comes along wanting to add one extra book info box for “Country”, one custom widget, and one extra review archive (for reviews listed by country). Their logic is that they’re asking for extra features that make up a teeny tiny fraction of what the plugin actually is (1 field next to 12+, 1 widget next to 8+, 1 archive next to 8). So, by that logic, this custom work should just be a fraction of the plugin, right? Maybe $5 or $10 max. And if you think about it like that, it does make sense. But, when you compare custom work to pre-made work, that’s when it doesn’t make sense at all.
Custom work is sold once and tailored specifically to you
A pre-made plugin with tons of features can be priced at $35 because I build this product once and ship out this same product to hundreds or thousands of people. That’s why we can justify the small price tag.
But when you order custom work, I have to take hours out of my day to build something ONLY and SPECIFICALLY for you. These hours I put in can’t be re-sold to hundreds or thousands of clients. They’re only for you.
So let’s say I value my time at $50 per hour (which is pretty cheap for a web developer, by the way). Well if it’s going to take me an hour to do this work for you (which it probably would), that’s already $50, which is more than the price of the plugin! I know why someone would balk at that price tag, but at the same time, the developer is putting an hour of time into this just for you. Shouldn’t they be fairly compensated?