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Professional work using CMSMS

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:54 pm
by aozuas
Today a possible client consulted me about the price to convert a site to CMSMS. I sent her my price for two possibilities: a) Convert a site already in XHTML/CSS and b) convert a plain PSD (design) to the system. In the two cases the site consists of cover, news page, contact page, articles, image gallery, and other static pages. Well, she thought my price was very expensive, what I disagreed. One thing is help the people here in the forum, trying to solve problems, other thing is spend some hours converting an entire site, fine tuning, improving, test the sever, install the system, test the modules, hack something when you need and so on. In my experience I learnt, in the worst way, that a project never happens in the way you thought.

My question is about prices. How do you (people that work in webdesign for living, as I do) would charge a work as I describe above?

Re: Professional work using CMSMS

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 11:42 pm
by faglork

just my 2 cents.

It doesn't come cheap.  CMSms works right out of the box, but to fully adapt it to one's needs is quite a job. It is still easy compared to other CMS systems, but it still is heavy work.

I just converted an old static site of one of my clients. Luckily, the old site was done by me, too - so I could just simple copy&paste the content code, since I use nothing but valid xhtml.
Nevertheless, you have to tweak a lot of parts. Like the templates for News and Album and GoogleMap and and and ... not to mention the CSS.

For professional work, you cannot just buy a 60 $ standard template and put it in. You have to come up with something at least a bit original, even if you have to cling to the client's CI. Besides looking sharp, your work hsat to be compatible, valid, section-508-compliant, and whatnot.

A lot of work. If you want to keep high standards and make a living from that, you have to maintain a decent price level. Or else you may find yourself working round the clock like crazy, earning 3$ an hour ...

But I have a question: Why did your client think it was expensive? I often find myself using arguments only a programmer or a designer can understand. A client is something different. He needs to know that he gets what he wants, and that he pays a fair price for it. So it is worth to think about the needs of your clients. Nobody calls out of the blue, saying "I feel funny today, let's convert my site to CMS!" So what drives your client? Find it out, and give him the feeling that he gets the best his money can buy.

I know that it isn't easy ...


Re: Professional work using CMSMS

Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:43 am
by emt
My experience is this either means (1) they don't have a clue or (2) they don't have the budget for the project.

It's a simple fact that few people understand the amount of work it takes to put together a good site. Let them get other quotes and compare for themselves. In fact, encourage them to!

If they don't have the budget, you can see if they will scale their expectations down to something within budget.

Don't sweat these - they're often not a serious prospect and don't make good clients.

Re: Professional work using CMSMS

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:42 pm
by aozuas
Yes, I agree with you two. The clients don't understand the amount of work necessary to put a good web site working. And I am still worried about little and important details that my clients couldn't understand, like the good and correct XHTML/CSS, or the better compression for a JPG image, just to give some examples. In other words: first you need to teach them what is good and what works; what are the new tendencies in web design and how important is the use of a good CMS. You need to convince them and after all the hard work they pass the work for their nephew or something like that. Its really sad... Only the big companies, with marketing department, give the real value for a good web design and great functionalities in a web site.

Re: Professional work using CMSMS

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:51 pm
by savagekabbage
Unless you have the credentials as being a good design firm with previous work to back it up, I find it extremely hard to charge a decent amount on this kind of stuff and make any money. Any companies with money will be going to well established firms in the field. There's just way too many college/entry level people doing this stuff to just get experience.

Re: Professional work using CMSMS

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:31 am
by dsims
If someone thinks your price is to high, don't bother with them. If they don't have the money for what they want they will never get it. Some people would rather waste little amounts of money at a time and have nothing to show for it than spend the money for what they want. Do not sell yourself short! Ever! Once you go down that path you will end up working for 3 dollars an hour. Be picky about your clients. You can usually tell from the get go how they are. Whatever time you think a job will take add 30% more time.
You will never know what you will run into. Always get a deposit, usually a third or half. Contracts Always Use Contracts, if someone is unwilling to use a contract, let em go. If someone is apprehensive about using a contract, explain to them it not only covers you but it also covers them. The days of handshake deals are long over. Always do a follow up on people who have decided to go with someone else. They might have gotten a royal screwing and you could be a knight in shining armor. Some people do not understand what goes into a website. You ever here "all you have to do is" from a potential client. If that's all I have to do. Than Pay Me! Contracts are fairly simple to write and always put in a clause for work order, state the objectives and the resolution of the project and write a clause for the work order. Some people will be like "while your their can you also do this and this and this and this. If you have that contract you can politely say you will have to fill out a work order if you want me to do that. Instead of not having a contract and saying no and than having them say screw thank you for your free labor. 

Re: Professional work using CMSMS

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:20 pm
by ironblaze94
what is a fair price to charge per hour of work using cmsms ?

Re: Professional work using CMSMS

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:13 pm
by dsims
I don't understand? I mean how much is your time worth to you. I would research it first look around and call some other web designers and ask what their going rate is. Kind of like you want to be a customer. I mean cmsms seems to be based on this code just with more extensions

Code: Select all

class Page
  var $page;

  function Page($template = "template.HTML") {
    if (file_exists($template))
      $this->page = join("", file($template));
      die("Template file $template not found.");

  function parse($file) {
    $buffer = ob_get_contents();
    return $buffer;

  function replace_tags($tags = array()) {
    if (sizeof($tags) > 0)
      foreach ($tags as $tag => $data) {
        $data = (file_exists($data)) ? $this->parse($data) : $data;
        $this->page = eregi_replace("{" . $tag . "}", $data,
      die("No tags designated for replacement.");

  function output() {
    echo $this->page;
example template files

Code: Select all

$page = new Page("template1.php");

  "title" => 'Ask A Smart Guy',
	"date" =>  'dat/date.dat',
	"keywords" => 'dat/keywords.dat',
	"extracss" => '',
	"javascript" => 'dat/java.dat',
	"javascript2" => '',
  "descript" => 'Welcome to my website!',
  "menubottom" => 'dat/menubottom.dat',
	"activemenu" => 'menuitem1',
  "menutop" => 'dat/menutop.dat',
  "main" => 'dat/main.dat',
  "ads" => 'dat/ads.dat',
  "footer" => 'dat/footer.dat',
	"urchin" => 'dat/urchin.dat'

and the template 1 would be

Code: Select all

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
<__html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
		<meta name="keywords" content="{keywords}" />
		<meta name="description" content="{descript}" />
    <meta name="robots" content="index,follow"/>
    <meta name="rating" content="general"/>
    <meta name="revisit-after" content="7 days"/>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" 
          content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="master.css" type="text/css" />
		<style type="text/css">
  .{activemenu} a{border-bottom:solid 1px #FFFFFF;
	<div id="page">
    <div id = "header">
      <a href="index.php"><img src="logo.png" width="381" height="60" alt="Ask A Smart Guy" /></a>
      <div class="menutop">
			<div class="menubottom">
			<div class="date">{date}
    <div class="main">
    <div class="ads">
    <div class="footer">
anything look familiar? That's why I use cmsms I've been used to the script for a year using the before mentioned? Personally I think charging by the hour is a bad idea, it's always best to get the price out in the open. Asking someone how much you should charge per hour is something you will figure out on your own, trial and error, it's the only way I learn.

Re: Professional work using CMSMS

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:50 am
by Jack @ PharSide
I personally have a standard rate per hour and it doesn't matter what I am doing. It can be SEO or design or a complete install and customzation of a system like X-Cart or CMSMS. However, I only use the hourly rate and time to justify a fixed project total/proposal. This allows the client to see where the money is going and what is being done for it when reading the proposal. Trust me - this is the best way to write contracts. I have personally learned and been burned so my contracts have grown over 10 years. Yours will to.

As far as an hourly rate goes. What can you get? I charge a flat rate for any work I do and clients pay it. When I get too busy - the rate goes up $5-10 and hour until it slows down or until I need to increase again:-). I also tend to give non-profit or educational/government discount as well which gets quite a good amount of business.

Good luck to anyone starting their dev biz's :-)