The Cost of Free

I had a friend who’s cousin had acquired a horse somehow, and when said cousin finally decided cowboyin’ was for the birds, he asked my friend if she “wanted a free horse.” Well, SURE!!! Free is always better, isn’t it?

  • “New” oak 3-board fence for 1 acre field, including installation, $2500 (thanks CraigsList!)
  • Stitches from chest to fetlock from “free” horse jumping “new” fence (unsuccessfully), $1279
  • ER visit after stepping on rusty nail in flip flops from “new” fence while chasing after “free” horse, $150 (co-pay) + $382 (above annual deductible, thanks ObamaCare!)
  • Free horse“, Priceless!

Recently we’ve had a large number of inquiries about our design services. Due to our recent price increases many are shocked by the initial cost. We hear all kinds of excuses, from the quick and polite,

“Thanks, but that’s out of our budget.”

to the outright demanding and outlandish

“That price is ridiculous! It shouldn’t cost me that much. I can do this myself for FREE.”

But you wanna know the funny thing? Based on industry standards, design quality, and customer service [the cowboy way], our prices are actually very competitive.  If you would like some recommendations for other website and graphic design companies specializing in the Equine & Rodeo Industries, please just ask, we’d be happy to share!

So why should you hire a skilled, trained expert?  The same reason you enter the rodeo arena on a highly conditioned and seasoned horse, or spend the extra money on a fancy matching Pleasure saddle and headstall.  You’re here to run a business, and no matter how small or how large, a business should look professional.  A qualified designer will be able to take your concept and create a visually stunning and equally effective marketing campaign without fear of any Killer Flamingos.  A talented designer knows what fonts to use and how (I Love Typography, do you?).  An accomplished designer is in tune with your customer’s demographic, and is able to provide a spectacular first impression for your business.

Think of it this way.  If you knocked your grandmother’s antique engagement ring off the side of the sink and it fell down the toilet, would you get out the toilet snake, or would you call a professional plumber?  If your kitchen lights were flickering on and off and you heard a faint buzzing sound and smelled burning plastic, would you get your trusty Phillips out and try and remove the light switch plate, or would you kill the breaker and call a professional electrician?  If your 12 year old niece cut her American Girl doll’s hair with Mommy’s good kitchen scissors and it was time for your semi-annual hair cut, would you let her go to town on your luscious locks, or would you go visit a salon and see a professional stylist?  If the AC in your 2009 F350 hauling rig started blowing hot air and it was 110-degrees, what WOULD you DO?  You’d call a professional mechanic!  Getting the idea here?

Look folks, it’s all about putting your Image, which is arguably the single most important aspect of your business, into the hands of a qualified professional.  If you want your Image to look cheap and free, there are plenty of cheap and free options out there for you. “Do-it-Yourself” websites like GoDaddy’s “Website Tonight”, Homestead, or Wix can be detrimental to a small business’s image.  Usually they’re riddled with their own advertising and the minimal “templates” they provide are inadequate hack jobs.  Then they entice you with offers of advanced e-commerce packages with features you’ll never use or “custom” (“We put the U in Unique”) website design for $299 (which I guarantee you is sent offshore – and then who are you going to call when you have a problem?).  And if all of that isn’t enough, you are then turned lose and, among other things, are easily allowed to put pink text on a neon green background, add umpteen pages in an unorganized nightmare to sell your puppies, showcase your stallion, and offer your hand knitted cowgirl beanies, then use as many outdated fonts as you can, and sprinkle in passages from the Bible for good measure, which definately ruined any sense of professionalism you might have had to begin with.   Don’t be RUN OVER by the CLOWN CAR!  It’s full of the elusive Killer Flamingos.

Photo Credit: Equine Web Design

This is why we are the professionals, why we spend big money for degrees and continual training and professional development, and why we eat, sleep and breathe design and code.  By spending a little extra dough up front, you can be certain that you’ll cross the finish line strides ahead of the herd.  After all, in an industry where Image is Everything and First Impressions are Key, if you show your customers that you value your own business enough to go above and beyond your competition, then they will believe that your business IS above and beyond your competition.