Book cover: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh.
As the founder of a web design company, you might be surprised to learn that I myself am regularly approached by other companies who offer web design services too.

Their offering is simple: they are happy to act as subcontractors for my own work, and they claim they can build websites for a fraction of what it’d cost me to do the same.

Surfing offshore

Now, I’m sure high quality ‘offshore’ web production houses do exist. Sadly however, through my work for a previous employer I only have personal experience of the offering at lower-quality end of the scale.

All those guys did was create one hell of a mess, which I then had to clean up. In one case I even found a database dump that was publicly accessible.

Even if you’re not technically-minded, I’m sure you can appreciate how dangerous this was. Anybody could’ve potentially found that file, and contained within it would’ve been all kinds of sensitive data: login details, personal information, the website configuration itself… This is not what I’d call best-practice.

Cost versus value

It’s such a staggering cliche that I can hardly bring myself to type it, but it rings true every time: you only get what you pay for.

I’m a professional, and I charge professional rates. If you’re trying to provide something for less than what I’d charge, then there’s a good chance what you’re offering is going to be of a lower quality than what I would do.

A cheap website is precisely that, and I don’t believe my clients want that; they might only have a small budget, but they still want a cost-effective solution that will help them meet their business objectives. Within a clients’ budget I always seek to deliver true value and do my best to delight them with the finished product.

If my objective was to simply build websites for as little as possible that would stand completely at odds with the business lifestyle I want to lead. I don’t want to earn myself a reputation as “that guy who knocks out cheap websites”.

Never outsource your core competencies

Building websites is what I do. It is one of my business’ core competencies — if nobody within the four walls of my business is directly responsible for doing that, then what could I say my company actually does?

Tony Hsieh (pronounced ‘shay’), founder of Zappos.com summed up the dangers of outsourcing your core competencies far more eloquently than I could ever manage:

Trusting that a third party would care about our customers as much as we did was one of our biggest mistakes.

That sums up my position perfectly — just like Hsieh, I care about my customers too. I’ve had to work hard to earn their trust and respect. I’m not about to risk throwing all that away by buying into the idea that the value I bring to the table can be delivered by somebody else for a fraction of the price.

If you haven’t read Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, then I’d recommend you stick it on your Christmas wish-list straight away. Hsieh is a disarmingly honest and readable author — and there isn’t a dull business cliche in sight.

And finally, if you’d like show your customers how much you care about them by presenting them with a website that will knock their socks off, have a word with me, and I’ll be happy to show you how I can help.