Unless you’re a developer yourself, it’s difficult to know exactly how long a set of new work should take. In fact, it’s almost impossible for developers to make highly-accurate estimates, which is why most firms are unwilling to offer fixed-bid projects. So, how are you supposed to know if you’re getting taken advantage of? Unfortunately, it’s tough to know for sure, but here are some basics to consider when trying to determine if your web development invoices are legit or not.
What is your developer’s hourly rate?
While rates can vary widely, the average for web work should be somewhere between $70-$170/hr, depending on experience, location, company size, etc. If you’re paying more than that, you may be hiring great programmers, but you are spending more than you need to for basic website work. Likewise, anything less than $70/hr indicates inexperience; while spending less can be attractive, keep in mind that, with less experience, things will take more time and quality may be sacrificed.
Do you have access to any project management tools?
Transparency is very important when it comes to your relationship with your developer. Is he or she providing you with access to Jira, Asana, Basecamp, Trello, or any other project management tool? If so, be sure to compare the work that’s being tracked with the work that’s being invoiced. If your developer isn’t using any project management tools, be sure to ask for periodic status updates.
How are the hours on your invoices rounded?
Rounding hours is standard practice for any developer. You’re not going to get an invoice for 1.19 hours, and rounding that amount to 1.25 hours is not frowned upon; however, if everything is rounded to the nearest hour, something isn’t right.
Custom design on WordPress? Check the source code.
Did you pay for a custom WordPress site instead of a template? If so, you want to make sure that what you got is actually custom. View your homepage’s source code and look for a line that reads “http://[yoursite.com]/wp-content/themes/[theme_name]/…”. If you have a custom design, then your “theme_name” will likely be something similar to the name of your business. To double-check, you should Google “theme_name WordPress theme” and see what comes up…if it’s a template that you can buy, then you need to have a talk with your developer (unless you have mutually agreed to use a theme and customize from there).
Of course, there’s no foolproof method to 100% protect yourself, but if you ask the right questions, you should be able to make a determination. If you have any questions or need advice, drop us a line.