Billable hours? Not to be sneezed at!



47° 34' 54.6528" N, 2° 39' 31.2876" E

One of my UK clients came to me with an interesting problem: he wanted changes made to one of his websites, but the agency that originally built it for him wanted to charge him £80 an hour plus VAT.

He wanted to know what I could do…

I had a look at the site and found some interesting things:

  1. Every page of the site failed to comply with web standards – sometimes at an alarming level – so search engines might have been having a hard time trying to index and rank the site.
  2. The website offers a ‘flu vaccination service to businesses in the UK, so getting maximum exposure in the midst of a swine flu pandemic was axiomatic. Unfortunately, every page was using a set of keywords that included the typo “inFlunza”.
  3. To add insult to injury, each page of the website contained a meta description tag that said “… description goes here”. In other words, the people who last worked on this website had failed to replace this meta tag with something both meaningful to real people and useful for search engines. When a page from the website was listed in search engine results, it was this gnomic text that the public would see – not something that could ever inspire confidence.

Needless to say, I fixed all these issues – and gave my client the ability to edit the part of the site that he knew would require frequent updating.

Billing by the hour might just be OK (in the corporate world perhaps) if the work is of a high standard. I usually charge a (very reasonable) flat fee – and do the work to a high standard as a matter of course. As the saying goes: if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.