It’s time we have this conversation in public because I’m exhausted from having it in private at WordCamps, Meetups, and in forums. I know there are many WordPress “builders,”or “installers,” or “integrators” who feel the same way, and I think it has more to do with their insecurity about not being a “developer” than anything else.
So, when a WordPress “consultant” (as I like to call them) asks me how to price projects when you’re “just” using a premium theme, here’s my usual response:
A premium theme, no matter how good it is or what it costs, is not the sum total of a fully functional, value-adding, business changing website. It is just one part of an overall solution that you have designed to help your client solve whatever problem they have.
Are You Nervous?
The problem is that most WordPress “consultants” get nervous that the client might discover the theme only costs $55 from ThemeForest and ask why they’re being charged $6K for their website. If this happens, then you’ve failed to qualify the client in the first place and you can look forward to them micromanaging you throughout the entire project (I’ve never experienced this, incidentally).
Do you have any idea how much the pharmacist pays for the medication the doctor has prescribed you and how much profit they are making on it? Of course not. Do you know how much that fancy tap cost your kitchen remodeler when they installed your $15K new kitchen? I didn’t think so.
A Theme is NOT A Website
Now I’m not suggesting that $6K revenue on a $55 theme is reasonable markup. Let’s take a look at what’s involved in turning that $55 theme into a finished product. At a bare minimum you will need to:
- Install WordPress
- Install Theme
- Customize Theme
• add client logo
• tweak CSS to match client branding
- Add Sidebar Widgets
- Add Footer Widgets
- Install and Configure Plugins
• WP SEO by Yoast
• Advanced Custom Fields
- Add Any Custom Post Types and Custom Fields
- Add Content
- Change Blog Settings (general and reading)
- Customize Page Templates
- Setup Backups and Security Settings
- Setup Hosting Environment
- Transfer Site to Host
- Teach Clients How to Use WordPress
This doesn’t include all the time you’ve spent answering the client’s questions about SEO, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, content strategy, Pinterest, SnapChat, startups, membership communities, product development, and what they should buy their teenage daughter for her birthday (I kid you not).
A WordPress theme is simply a raw material. Your job is to add value to that raw material and deliver a solution to your client.
Next time you feel guilty about getting paid good money to deliver a solution to your client that includes a premium theme that cost you $100, try sending the theme’s zip file to your client with instructions of how to install it and get up and running.
Maybe then you’ll realize the value you add to that theme and you’ll feel more comfortable sending off your invoice.
Tell me I’m crazy in the comments!
Troy Dean is co-founder of Video User Manuals and WP Elevation, the world’s 1st business accelerator program designed specifically for WordPress consultants. He speaks regularly at WordCamps and is also a professional musician and voice over artist.
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