How to Get Higher Budget Projects with Paid Project Discovery

May 23, 2018

What if there is an easy, no-cost way for your web agency to get better, higher-paying projects consistently?

Unlike marketing automation or other methods that require you to invest time and energy into giving your agency a more commanding market presence, this is something you can do today to improve the quality of the projects you take on.

The secret is simple: Start asking clients to pay for project discovery.

This one step can significantly improve the projects you end up taking on, and there are quite a few important reasons why. Understanding project discovery as a value-added process will help you make the most of it when talking to new clients in the future.

What Makes Project Discovery So Important?

First, it’s important to cover just what makes project discovery such an important step in the web development process. For a detailed overview of what project discovery means and how it should be done, check out our blog post on the subject. Otherwise, here’s a quick run-through:

  • Project discovery is a roundtable planning session that gets every project stakeholder on the same page before work begins.
  • During project discovery, you will establish what the client’s needs are while paying special attention to whether those needs actually advance client interests.
  • Project discovery allows you to identify the individuals responsible for the project and to establish an approval system that prevents expensive revisions.
  • The primary deliverable of project discovery is a project outline, which details the milestones you’ll need to complete to satisfy your client’s goals.

Project discovery can last anywhere from two weeks to an entire month, and it requires work. Establishing a system for working on your web development project is key to making sure the project runs smoothly.

Transforming Project Discovery Into Paid Work

For web agencies, it’s clear that project discovery involves a great deal of effort. Construction companies hold lengthy consultations with their clients before creating blueprints – web developers shouldn’t treat their work differently. But construction clients pay for those consultations.

This can be a helpful analogy to use when discussing paid project discovery with a potential client. When talking about project discovery with your clients, you must establish the value of enjoying a streamlined project free of communication mishaps or false starts.

1.   Paid Work is An Incentive to Deliver Value

One important argument for paid project discovery is the ability to offer total and undivided attention to the process. If you perform this step for free, you will eventually find yourself performing multiple discoveries at the same time. As your calendar fills with unpaid discovery calls, you will begin to short-change the process to move on to the ones you get paid for.

Compromising the first step of your project will not inspire confidence on behalf of your client. In fact, they’re likely to ask what other steps you are willing to compromise on, which will undermine the success of the entire project!

It can be helpful to think about it this way: If you charge your client 10 hours to perform project discovery, both you and the client know that you are dedicated to completing this part of the project thoroughly and without compromise.

Furthermore, if it turns out that you need to invest more time in the process, you won’t be scrambling to fulfill other obligations to keep income rolling in. You can rest assured that you are being paid for your time and that the work you’re doing is generating value.

2. Paid Project Discovery Proves Project Commitment

This is an important argument for paid project discovery, and it has powerful implications both for web agencies and for their customers. Serious, business-minded clients who are looking for web-based experiences that deliver value will understand the premise of paid project discovery.

On the other hand, clients that are less committed to the outcome of their web project will only see the dollar cost of a process they thought could be covered in a single email. In many cases, these are the same clients who will ask for extensive revisions when the project is 80% done – revisions that comprehensive project discovery would have avoided in the first place.

Paid project discovery works as a filter because it rewards committed clients who understand the value of smooth, problem-free web development. These are the clients every agency wants, and it is through attracting these clients that your agency will be able to get better, higher-paying projects more consistently.

3. A Detailed Project Outline Ensures a Smooth, Successful Project

The main deliverable of the project discovery process is the project outline. It is a fundamental economic truth that if you are paid for the time it takes to create this document, you will have a greater incentive to make a better, more detailed version than if you performed the work for free.

Since the project outline will define guide all of the subsequent processes that go into your web development project, it must be as detailed as possible. Usually, upon seeing a detailed, comprehensive project outline, clients are happy to pay for the project discovery process – it shows the value of the work they paid for.

Use this time wisely and learn as much as you can about your client’s business and industry so that you can generate value for it. With paid project discovery, you may discover an opportunity for a custom-coded web solution that would give your client an edge over the competition.

Ask any business professional if they’d pay a few hundred extra dollars for a web application that delivers state-of-the-art functionality no competitor has, and the answer will almost certainly be yes. It’s up to you to use paid project discovery to determine what that functionality is, and how you can incorporate it into your client’s web project.

Sometimes project discovery unearths the need for web development expertise you don’t have on-hand. Talk to our project manager to make UnlimitedWP your white label web developer!

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ronik patel

After building my web agency JD Softtech in both Boston and Ahmedabad, India, I wanted to find a way to help other agencies.

So we took our team of highly qualified website developers and web designers and launched UnlimitedWP, a white-label WordPress partner for growing agencies.

If you’re frustrated by how much time working in WordPress takes, consider UnlimitedWP.com.

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