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  1. bruto

    At a crossroads

    Hey fellas, First time poster, long time lurker here. I've worked as a freelance web developer for the past 6 years, and, although things have not always been easy, I've been able to sustain a steady and decent income until recently. I specialize in CMS-powered and e-commerce websites and, in general, most of my clients are SMBs. So, what's the problem? Well, it's simple, lately I'm finding it incredibly hard to get businesses to accept my proposals. Granted, it's not an overnight thing, it's not that last year they were all happy with my fees and now they aren't, but I suppose over the last two years or so, there's been a downward trend as far as fees go. Now, I have an idea why this is happening. In the country where I operate, the average fee for a simple, static website is in the region of €300-350, and for a CMS website not that much more really. E-commerce websites normally command a higher price tag, but we're talking sub €1,000. My fees are significantly higher than these, and, honestly, no matter what I tell prospective clients, they just plain refuse to listen to my arguments. They simply don't care. They don't care whether their websites are all based on poorly coded templates downloaded from the Internet, they don't care if hundreds of other websites look exactly like theirs, most of them don't care if their website loads fast or slow as hell. In fact, they don't even care about security, as long as it's "secure enough". I suppose all of this is to say that I'm no longer competitive in this crap-as-hell-and-cheap market. My high quality, specialized services are no longer valued, or even needed. This has put me in a very awkward position, to the point where I need to radically change my strategy or simply close up shop. Honestly, the only alternative I see is to basically follow suit, stop creating handcoded, unique websites and just sell template-based ones for the average going fee, significantly lowering my standards along the way. I could do that, but every single cell in my body shivers at the mere thought of it. It's just sad, I got into this business because I like to solve problems, and I've always thought that people pay me precisely for that, to solve their problems. So, here I am now, asking for your opinion and advice. What would you guys do? Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Should I close shop? Should I become a template monkey? Thank you all.
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