What web professionals can learn from Sarah Beeny

Following on from last week’s rapturously received What web agencies can learn from Gordon Ramsay post, I’m continuing the series with a take on the advice of Sarah Beeny.

For those, who do not know, Sarah Beeny is a highly successful property guru/writer/TV presenter who presents (among other TV shows) Property Ladder. This show is essentially shows Beeny following the progress of novices in the property development industry and shows the mistakes they make.

Sarah Beeny

The parallels between property development and web design

Although startlingly different industries these do share one common attribute which is, people think it’s easier than it is which is why both industries have a large share of people who don’t have the necessary skills to do their job properly these people can be cowboys.

Maximise profits by keeping development simple

Hang on a minute, that sounds like some of Ramsay’s advice: well it’s true of any industry. Beeny tells new property developers to spend time on making improvements to buildings that add value. that means not spending £3000 on a new bathroom when you could spend 10% of that and get the same result. Disclaimer: this is not an excuse to be cheap. Costs should be evaluated – corners should not be cut.

Do you really need that flash website that will have to outsourced/take 2 weeks of your time or will a simpler HTML/CSS + images work just as well if not better for half the time/price?

Know when to outsource to save time

Every new property developer thinks they can plaster/knock through walls. If you can and you have the time then great. Most building skills are exactly that, skills. People spend a long time in their trade learning those skills and if you need quality finish coupled with a fast turnaround them stump up the cash for that expertise. It will probably save you in the long run.

Same is true of web design. If you’re not an expert in a certain discipline then outsource it. The time you spend fiddling with code, trying to debug something you don’t understand is time that could be better spent.

Manage your costs and plan your time

A follow on from rule 1. It’s easy when doing up a hosue for your budget to spiral – hidden costs and that must-have kitchen can be budget-busters. in web design, its imperative to plan throughly when budget each project’s cost and time. Have you factored in testing time? Have you factored in the hidden time costs of fixing Internet Explorer CSS bugs which may or may not occur and may or may not be severe.

You cost the project on the time it will take plus materials plus the margin. If your time management is poor, your deadlines will overrun and your margin will get eaten into.

Don’t live on site

Beeny always states that living on the building site of your latest property development is a bad idea, its stressful and its difficult to separate your worlds. Needless to say, actually sleeping in your web agencies office is not a good idea but is working from home as a freelancer a good idea? Personally, I work in an office for an employer and I like the social interaction plus getting out of the house. However, I know people who disagree so we’ll leave this point for now.


Is the comparison to property development and web development too strenuous? Let me know what you think?

Useful links

Property Ladder website

3 responses to “What web professionals can learn from Sarah Beeny”

  1. urgh hate the way she implies You Should Have Done It My Way all the time, i reckon she needs to take a leaf out of kevin mclouds book.

    Nice run of articles though, who’s next?

  2. not sure who’ll be next.
    here’s some possibilities:
    alan sugar/the apprentice
    gillian mckeith
    trinny & susannah