Taking on an old website (built by someone else)

Sometimes, we may get a request from a company to work on an existing website that was built by someone else. These requests are rarely as straightforward as building a new site, or working on a site that we built ourselves and on occasion, it is not advisable to take on such a project.

Here’s our 3-step process of what to do in these situations:

1. Quick Review

We spend up to 1 hour reviewing the site for free. Based on this brief review, we decide whether:

a. It is a nightmare – don’t touch!

b. We need to review it further (see point 2. below)

c. The website looks clean and simple. We can work on it without detailed review.

If the website looks fine, we can simply quote for the whole project, in which case 50% should be charged upfront. For simpler jobs we can quote our hourly rate and provide an estimate for approval, then invoice on completion.

2. Detailed Review

The client will need to pay for a detailed review. Typically this will be around 6 hours of work but we can adjust the quote based on the complexity of the site.

If the offer of a detailed review is accepted, we will send the client a full report outlining any problems we identify, ranking them as Essential, Recommended or Trivial.

If the client accepts a quote for a detailed review, we should invoice 3 hours upfront – regardless of the full quote – and the rest should be invoiced when we send the final report.

3. Recommendations

Following a detailed review, we will then offer our final opinion, which will be one of the following:

  • All good. We can work on the site with no repair work required
  • We found a few issues that need fixing before we can work on the site. Provide a quote to fix them
  • The site is a hornets nest. Recommend that they build a new website. If they are interested, provide a quote. If not, then simply turn the project down.

The detailed report is good for both us and the client. They should be happy about getting the ‘review report’ because they may want to go back to the previous developers with some questions or ask them to repair it. At the very least, they can make an informed decision about developing their site further because they know what they already have and what problems they might face.