How much will a site cost in a college town?

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Looking for a less expensive way to get your Web site built?

One way to cut costs without cutting functionality might be to look at hiring a developer in a college town such as Ann Arbor, Mich.; Boulder, Colo.; or the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area of North Carolina, according to NetMarketing's recent survey of Web developers in those cities.

The median costs charged by developers in those cities were lower than the six markets NetMarketing has surveyed in previous issues.

Median Price High Low
Small Site
major markets
$25,000 $378,900 $6,100
College towns $10,700 $18,050 $1,000
Medium Site
major markets
$83,000 $771,135 $6,500
College towns $46,000 $90,075 $5,800
Large Site
major markets
275,000 2,367,440 50,000
College towns $100,000 $600,000 $40,300

The median price for building a large site in these markets comes in at only 37% of the median in the most recent survey of the major markets -- $100,000 compared with $275,000.

The low and high prices in the college towns were lower for each site than the prices in the major markets. The small site could be built for as little as $1,000, while the large site could be built for $40,300 -- 20% less than the major markets.

Matt Brown, creative director of Boulder's ProMotif Media, said one of the major factors in determining price is overhead, which is lower in these smaller towns.

ProMotif is currently moving offices within Boulder, but its new rent will still be much less expensive than comparable space in San Francisco or New York.

"Cost of living and cost of doing business is much lower and that gets reflected in the costs of our projects," Mr. Brown says.

Cheap student labor

Another big perk of Web shops set up around major colleges and universities is cheap student labor.

"We get a lot of technical talent and marketing talent from the University [of Michigan]," says David Fry, director of Fry Multimedia, Ann Arbor.

Blue-chip marketers have chosen college town shops over Silicon Alley competitors. Some marketers, however, don't want to a developer where they don't have an office.

Mr. Brown says college town developers find it difficult to win bids against competitors that work in the same city as the marketer, but he says logistically there's no reason for a marketer not to choose a Boulder developer over a New York shop.

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