Recently, someone requested a bid on a corporate website design.  I responded characteristically with a quote and my usual terms. They immediately replied, asking me to repeat what I’d already said in my response — what would it cost for just a mock-up of my design ideas?  I quoted myself and hit send.  I have yet to hear back from them, though I did receive a read receipt.

It always startles folks that they have to pay for me to mock-up a website design idea, but not commercial artwork.  They think that I should do the mock-up for free, like I do book covers, CD covers, and brochures.  Nope.  Here’s why: You’ll take my design, go over to some Indian coding group and have them reproduce it for pennies on the U.S. dollar.  You’ll be using my design and not paying me for my time and ideas.  In other words, I’d be letting you steal from me.

Three-hundred dollars for a look at my ideas isn’t outrageous at all, especially when you can grab a screenshot of my ideas and still head out to some second or third world country to have some starving coder do it for you for a few hundred bucks.

A mock-up isn’t XHTML and CSS, either.  Nope.  Nor is it search engine optimized by my team which is very good at getting your website up in ranking.  It’s a .jpg snapshot of a website that could be, no code included. I’m not in business to give away my ideas and my secrets. If you want them, regardless of where you have it coded up, you do have to pay for it, and, like I said, $300 ain’t much for a world-class idea.