Fixed Price Website Project or Website as a Service (WaaS)?

WaaS or Website as a Service is a new and emerging service similar to SaaS, where users pay for their website monthly like a subscription service. But is this right for your business or should you stick to a more traditional Fixed Price Website Project?

Fixed Price Website Project or Website as a Service (WaaS)?

WaaS VS Traditional Fixed Price Website Projects

Website as a Service or WaaS is here and it's the new way businesses are buying websites.

With traditional Web Design, businesses would pay upfront for an agency to design and develop their new website, which the business would then own.

But with the success of SaaS or 'Software as a Service', just like subscribing to Netflix, you too can now pay for your new website in a very different way.

Different isn't always better, so should your next website be WaaS or should you stick to a Traditional Fixed Price Website Project?

What is WaaS (website as a service)?

WaaS stands for 'Website as a Service' and is an alternative approach to traditional website projects.

WaaS projects usually include web design, web development, SEO, maintenance, hosting and security as a single package. This package is then usually paid for in a monthly service charge for the length of a fixed contract.

Sometimes packages include monthly retainer time, where a client can approach the WaaS agency for requests, such as updates to the website.

WaaS or Website as a Service is a simple to roll everything you need to have a website designed, developed and maintained by a single agency, in a simple, easy-to-manage package.

What are the positives of WaaS?

Just like the endless stream of unknown TV series and movies that flood your Netflix account every month, WaaS comes with many positives.

The positives of WaaS include:

  • Lower cost - No large, upfront cost means businesses don't have to justify larger spends on Fixed Price Website Projects. Where some Fixed Price Website Projects can typically cost anything from $10,000 - $100,000+, WaaS tends to cost anywhere from $300 - $2,000 a month.
  • Easier budgeting - With a much lower up-front cost and a fixed monthly fee, WaaS can be easier to budget. Instead of having to find money or raise capital, businesses can make decisions quicker due to the lower cost involved.
  • Simpler organization - Since a single agency are looking after your website, the process of getting your site launched along with the longer term updates is much, much simpler. Rather than working with a Web Design Agency, a Development Agency, an SEO Agency and a Content Marketing Agency, instead you only have one point of contact for all of those.
  • Less commitment - Fixed Price Website Projects generally require more commitment due to their higher upfront costs and the time invested in launching the website. Since WaaS tend to be much smaller and run for a fixed contract, there is less long term commitment for a business.
  • Faster production - WaaS websites tend to be smaller and have less functionality, which in turn means they are generally much quicker to develop and require less time invested.
WaaS do not have the same large, upfront cost associated with Fixed Price Website Projects. They tend to be built and maintained by a single agency meaning organization is easier, plus they run for a fixed contract length meaning less commitment is required.

What are the downsides of WaaS?

It's not all sunshine and lollipops, while WaaS is definitely an alternative to Fixed Price Website Projects, it's not necessarily better suited to everyone.

The negatives of WaaS include:

  • You never own your website - Effectively you are renting your website in the same way you don't own a car when you lease it. Usually you will not have access to the codebase and cannot simply 'take the website with you' if you ever decide to not work with the agency any more.
  • Contract terms are fixed - Usually WaaS projects run for a fixed contract before renewing. But if you decide you want to take down your website before the contract is up, you may have to pay a penalty.
  • Less functionality - WaaS sites are affordable because they tend to be smaller and offer less functionality. This in turn reduces development time, which is why web agencies are able to offer WaaS projects so cheap. This is fine if you only need a simple website, but anything more complex than eCommerce might make WaaS unviable.
WaaS projects are not ideal if you want to take full ownership of your website, nor if you want a website that has a lot of custom functionality.

Who is WaaS for?

Any business can choose Website as a Service as an alternative over Fixed Price Website Projects.

But those that would benefit from WaaS differ from most.

Generally speaking, smaller businesses and startups benefit from WaaS the most due to the lower upfront cost and the ease of working with a single agency.

Smaller businesses who also maybe want to pivot also benefit from WaaS since there is less commitment and investment upfront.

WaaS is a great option if a business wants to get online fast and receive continuous updates from their partner agency, perhaps with a strategy of creating a larger, more functional, more permanent site several years in the future.

When should you choose a Fixed Price Website Project?

Larger businesses that may have a longer term strategy as well as more of an in-depth requirement for custom functionality may be better suited to a traditional Fixed Price Website Project.

The reason Fixed Price Website Projects tend to require a larger upfront sum is that the process and time invested is much greater than that of WaaS projects.

Fixed Price Website Projects tend to be very different from each other and so each project must follow it's own unique Discovery, Design and Development processes to get the client the end result they want.

Businesses who have custom requirements for what they want users to be able to do on their website as well as a longer-term vision and strategy often find Fixed Price Website Projects offer a much better result.

When should you choose WaaS?

Our first-hand experience as a web design agency

The great thing about WaaS and traditional fixed price website projects is that Always Fresh offers both!

From our experience, we find that smaller businesses and startups prefer WaaS while larger, more experienced businesses prefer traditional, fixed price projects.

Here's some trends we've spotted:

  • Startups & Small Businesses prefer WaaS- Quite simply, WaaS does not require a large investment upfront. This allows new businesses with smaller budgets to get online quickly without having to use template-based website builders.
  • Larger Businesses prefer Fixed Price Website Projects - Larger businesses usually require their websites to do more. More functionality tends to cost more, making WaaS not as viable as a fixed price website project.
  • As Smaller Businesses grow, they transition from WaaS to Fixed Price Website Projects - After a small business has been on a WaaS for a few years, they often find their websites require more complex, custom functionality as they offer their customers greater services or more products.

Generally speaking, Fixed Price Website Projects accounts for around 75% of all our projects, while WaaS accounts for 25%.

We'll advise on what's best for your business

If you're still not 100% sure which you should be choosing, or simply want confirmation that your choice is correct, we're happy to help.

At Always Fresh, we offer both WaaS and Fixed Price Website Projects and are in the best possible place to advise you on the direction for your next website project.

For a friendly call to talk through which would be the better option based on your own personal requirements, click these purple words and we'll be happy to help!

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