I've learned that getting the lowest price for a product or a service doesn't mean it is going to be the best deal. I've also learned that paying the highest price doesn't guarantee the best product or service.
Case in point - shopped around for a house painter a few years ago and decided on the "cheapest" one. What a mistake! After he took forever to do the work, was sloppy and did an extremely poor job, we paid him and, a short time later, hired someone else to paint our house the right way.
Why do I mention this? Well, I had two interesting things happen in the last two days.
Yesterday, one potential client called and insisted on paying $xxx to have a web site designed - no more than that. I don't haggle on price with potential clients. I do, however, provide potential clients with valuable, useful information about web site design and the search engines and what I can do to help increase their business sales via the internet. I'm not sure if that client will call back, but I feel comfortable and confident that I do help clients achieve their internet objectives and that in itself has a value.
What happened today proves my point. A potential client called who had called me last year about designing a web site for him. Ultimately, he had opted to go with another web designer whose cost was not extremely cheap, but apparently less than what I quoted him. This client called to tell me how he hated what the other web designer had created, how it wasn't what he wanted at all and how even after 9 months of being "live", his site was not showing up in the search engines unless you typed in the exact name of his company. I won't say how much money he spent with the other web designer, but he was not a happy camper. On top of what he already spent for something that doesn't work for him or, for that matter, the search engines, he will now have to invest more $$$ to make it "right".
One of the best ways to avoid the above situation, when deciding on a web designer is to do three things: 1) View their portfolio of work and see if their style is in line with your business, 2) Visit Google or Yahoo and see how easily their site comes up in the search engines (if they can get their site a good ranking, chances are, they can get your site a good ranking, and 3) CHECK REFERENCES! Speak to some of their clients and see what their experience was like in dealing with this web designer.
I just wish I had checked a little further on that painter, instead of just looking at his price!