Joomla Project Costing - SMB and Vertical Markets

By Justin Kerr
July 01, 2010

Table of Contents

The SMB Market

The small- to medium-sized business (or SMB) market is one of the "sweet spots" for Joomla implementations, and indeed, it probably represents the most active market for Joomla services. Joomla fits in especially well at an SMB because Joomla delivers a lot of value, an SMB's needs are more likely to be general in nature, and the SMB will be able to tolerate some compromises or less specificity with its Web site implementation.

Web site project budgets in the SMB marketplace can vary widely: from the low-four to mid-five figures. (This is actually as much due to the range of SMBs – from mom-and-pop shops to well-established B2B firms – as anything else.) However, all SMB prospects tend to share some common characteristics:

  • They have a poor or under-performing Web site (or even no Web site at all).
  • They often have neither an internal IT/Webmaster resource nor or an internal marketing resource.
  • They typically want one-stop shopping for a discrete project solution.
  • Their needs often encompass a range of disciplines (not just technical expertise with Joomla).

For a generalist agency or service provider, successfully selling a Joomla project will require a client-specific pricing methodology. The smallest clients may require a phased-in approach to spread costs out over time. (In this scenario, it's best to first aim for any low-hanging fruit that will demonstrate an early return on investment, then move to Joomla, leveraging as many earlier project elements as possible.) Medium-sized clients will have more generous budgets that can easily include Joomla as part of the solution from the get-go.

Of course, building a Web site is a multidisciplinary process that also calls for marketing, communications, creative and support services: Indeed, the SMB client is going to look to the Web site solution provider to help meet these needs, even if the provider does not conduct this work directly. These are all additional opportunities for a generalist service provider to deliver more services and realize greater revenue.

Vertical Markets

One area of tremendous opportunity lies in employing Joomla as the solution for Web sites tailored to specific vertical markets, including using Joomla as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. Joomla delivers a tremendous amount of value, especially if it can be tweaked to accommodate a business's specific functional needs. Companies in the same vertical market will tend to share the same type of needs, and there is much appeal in building a standardized Joomla solution once, and then selling it multiple times. (Of course, this type of business model would undoubtedly include service tiers, additional one-off services, and other elements of a SaaS business model.)

Rafi Arbel, vice president of Online Video Concepts and a participant in the June 28, 2010, CMS Agencies meeting, told us about his successful use of Joomla as the CMS platform that delivers Web sites specifically for his law firm clients. Other examples of Joomla-based SaaS businesses are starting to crop up, and it seems highly likely that Joomla will become a popular CMS solution for many of these market spaces.