New Website, NOT made by a Ukrainian Outsourcing Company

New Website, NOT made by a Ukrainian Outsourcing Company

A week ago we started dealing with a Ukrainian outsourcing company about creating a new website for us. We already knew our existing website wasn't modern, and we wanted something fresh, that would hopefully drive better conversion.

We were approached by a Ukrainian outsourcing company who gave us a Figma mockup. We liked the mockup so we asked them their price. The price they gave us was $1,200. This was within our budget, so we proceeded with a meeting with them.

During the meeting we were told that the original price didn't include responsive design for phones, and that they had to charge extra for this. Other "extras" started accummulating until the price no longer was $1,200 but had increased to almost $2,000, and we all felt uncomfortable. At this time I doubt they would have been able to deliver it for $2,000, and it felt as if their prices just kept "creeping up".

We told them that delivering a price for a website without calculating the price for responsive design to have phones work, is like giving somebody a price of a used car without the engine, gear box, and wheels. I felt as if we were being taken for a ride - In a car without an engine, gearbox and wheels may I add ...

I told Tage and Aria "xxxx the Ukrainians" and I bought a template for $16 at some template site. I started working the 30th of November, and the 3rd of December we were done. I had some help from Tage with the graphics, but mapping the old site on to the new template, and accommodating for our business logic, took me in total 3 days of work. Below is what I was able to pull off.

  • Convert our site to the new template
  • Wire up our contacts form
  • Wire up our create demo chatbot form
  • Create a new theme for our chatbot to match the new website design
  • Wire up each section of each page as a "component" (think server-side includes)
  • Map up the navigation
  • Create a new 404 page that automatically redirects if somebody visits a page that doesn't exist
  • Wire up most of our existing pages to match the new design

We didn't port all pages to the new design, and we deleted some articles. This was a job we had planned on doing anyway to simplify our messaging and focus on only our core products. Our AI Expert System for instance have more or less become completely obsolete because of OpenAI releasing their GPTs, so marketing this system no longer made any sense. However, in retrospect our choices were to.

  • Pay a bunch of Ukrainians $2,000 to do the job
  • Have one of our own resources spend 3 days doing it ourselves

That's a saving of $630 per day. Multiplying this by 22 workdays which is the average per month, implies the Ukrainian outsourcing company is making $13,860 per month per developer. I realise that it's not that simple, since most developers don't have (paid) work more than maybe 70% of the time, but even multiplying that number by 0.7 results in total earnings per month of $9,702 per developer.

I happen to know a lot about the Ukrainian outsourcing business, having had a lot of partners in Ukraine - And I know for a fact that a senior software developer in Ukraine is making somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000 per month. This implies a mockup of 3.3 to 5.5 times the salary of a software developer, resulting in profits of 330% to 550% per head - If you believe the average senior Ukrainian software developer can create a new website as fast I can.

Conclusion

You could argue we're in the wrong business, and that we should move to Ukraine and start an outsourcing company creating websites for European and American companies - Because such arbitrage profits haven't been seen since Pablo Escobar moved Cocaine out of Columbia and into Florida.

The next time a Ukrainian outsourcing company offers you services through LinkedIn, come back to this article and read it once more. I know for a fact I will, and in fact every time a Ukrainian outsourcing company offers us services, I will send them this article as my reply to them - Because doing business the way this company was running their business is quite frankly not ethically right.

Giving you one "fishing pole price", for then once you take the bait sending you a contract with a price that's almost twice the agreed upon price, is a business tactic that in the end will destroy the reputation of all Ukrainian software companies. In the short term it might generate some extra profits for the company, but in the long run it will not hurt only the company itself, but the entire industry as a whole.

There's a reason why we make such a big fuzz about exclusively hiring Norwegian family members. For the record, we do have some partners and staff in India helping us out with some parts of our operation, such as the amazing Shaguna at Tyche Consultancy - But in general we're much more suspicious about partnering up with people and outsourcing services to 3rd parties for reasons that should be fairly obvious by now. A friend of mine, paradoxically a Ukrainian CEO of an outsourcing company once told me.

The best marketing is a happy client

I won't give you the name of the company who offered to create a website for us, unless you explicitly ask me what I think about this company in particular - But dear Ukrainian outsourcing company, you flunked on your "marketing", by applying dubious business methods for short term profits.

Hasta La Vista! Now go find some other schmuck to steal money from - Because in the end, that's what you're doing ...

Thomas Hansen

Thomas Hansen I am the CTO of AINIRO.IO AS. I am a software developer with more than 25 years of experience. I write about Machine Learning, AI, and how to help organizations adopt said technologies. You can follow me on LinkedIn if you want to read more of what I write.

Published 4. Dec 2023