“What’s the bottom line?” It’s the question on many clients’ minds when they work with design agencies. However, many factors go into design agencies’ pricing models, so the answer isn’t necessarily going to be simple to determine without in-depth consultations and considerations.

To understand how design agencies determine their pricing, it’s important to identify the influencing elements that go into the process. Each of these elements can sway the final investment.

Element #1: Scope of Design Project

Design projects are all unique, so most reputable design agencies can’t immediately quote a one-size-fits-most bid. The scope of the design project can be slight, or vast. If you want an agency to completely re-design the look of your website, rather than simply make modifications, it’s going to require more designer time and effort.

Element #2: Type of Design Project

A “design project” is a generic term that will mean something different for your company than it will for another. Design projects come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as parameters. Some businesses work with design agencies for complete overhauls, from logos to online marketing materials. Other businesses just need a refreshed brand image.

Element#3: Design Time Expectations

The actual time spent on the design project will also play a role in figuring out the cost for corporate clients. However, this may also be rolled into the whole pricing bid, if the design agency offers packages rather than prices based on hourly work completed.

Element #4: Expertise

A professional design agency will typically ask for a fee commensurate with their level of expertise. By paying a little more, you not only benefit from their designers’ knowledge, but you can also see a wider portfolio of other businesses they have helped. Hiring a cheaper, newer design agency or freelancer may be tempting, but it can backfire and result in subpar work.

Element #5: Timeframe to Completion

Need a design project within an extremely short amount of time? You’re going to usually pay more for the “emergency” nature of the assignment. A fee may be added onto the normal package deal, or a greater percentage of the agreed-upon quote may be required upfront, rather than at the completion of the design project.

Element #6: Your Relationship With the Design Agency

Sometimes, if you’re already a client with the design agency, you’ll be given a discount for your loyalty. This discount is a reward for putting your faith in a trusted group of web-based designers.

Element #7: Add-ons to the Design Project

A design project may be bundled with another type of project, such as content creation or SEO marketing and development. This means that the end cost will reflect these add-on services and solutions. As a side note, if you know that you’re going to need the add-ons, look for a full-service, comprehensive design agency. That way, you can get a one-stop shopping experience.

Hints on Hiring a Design Agency

As a final suggestion, make sure you look at the following items when evaluating your preferred design agency. As you’ll see, they are above and beyond pricing, which is only one aspect you need to consider. Other considerations include:

  • Find a design agency that’s been around a while.
  • Find a design agency that’s staying up to date on trends in the industry.
  • Look for a design agency with a robust portfolio.
  • Check out award-winning design agencies and recognized leaders.
  • Examine your preferred design agencies’ websites.
  • Find design agencies that are thought leaders and have tons of information.
  • Pick a design agency that can truly help you and will be your partner in business.