JavaScript and Web Development

Front End Design Conference – Rob Harr – Let’s Be Brutally Honest About Operations and Pricing for Web Agencies

12 July 2014 - Conference - James Brown - 1 Comment

  • Operations: Figure out what you make and then spend less
  • It is all about cash flow
  • Best case scenario, you have 6 mo before going out of business
  • Freedom is not free
  • Being good with cash today will finance good business decisions tomorrow
  • Business forecasting is difficult
  • 3 kinds of pricing
    • Fixed pricing
    • Hourly pricing
    • Value pricing
  • There is no right answer for pricing model
  • Focus on adding value
  • They do an initial engagement (small first project)
  • Users are bad at communicating what they want.
  • Devs are bad at estimating
  • They charge $165 an hour for dev and $250 an hour for specific consulting.  They are going to be raising their pricing.
  • Clients typically don’t share budget.  They share a high/low estimate.
  • They charge 20% deposit.  Won’t start until received.  It also reserves the spot on the calendar.
  • Weekly invoices
  • They work for hire.  Client owns all code (even if they don’t pay).  Reduces liability.
  • Know your terms.  Net 30?  Net 45?  You want it small as possible.  Start at Net 14.
  • Get a line of credit before you need it.
  • Get professional help!  Lawyer, accountant, etc.  Lean on them but you are responsible for the decision
  • Know your legal documents
  • Find some owner friends and share/collaborate
  • Train your clients to think about your pricing model
  • Have difficult conversations
    • Talk to clients every single week about budget
    • Talk about the money with business partners
  • Decide as a team what parts of a project should be experimented with
  • Track your time
    • Figure out where your hours go
  • Increase your rates
  • Find better clients
  • Plan for taxes all year long
  • Save your cash
  • No one should be able to dictate the terms in which you do business


  • Two basic rules
  • Life is too short to work with people you hate
  • If you ever become annoyed by a client, it is only because you are not charging them enough money.



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