A couple of things


So I've been approached by someone to design a website for a private parking firm. And there business model is similar to this.Stop illegal parking problems - private parking control solution - parking solutions There also wanting a similar layout of the site. And they seemed pretty fixed on it.

obviously I'm not going to copy it. But how do I go on if they won't budge on the layout? Would it be a copyright issue with it being similar.

Secondly has anyone ever used merchant companys such as sage pay? And can you recommend anything similar for payment integration
I'd urge you to stir them away from that layout as it's ugly and dated, and they'll be setting themselves back a few years straight away if they run with it.

I've had this situation crop up repeatedly (strangely also with parking industry client)s, and I normally just use the layouts as inspiration, tweaking things as much as I can to create something that's different enough to be at least almost unique, whilst still keeping the client happy. On occasion a client will request me to "copy that exactly" and I rarely win that argument, so I give in and do and just let them worry about the consequences (state in your terms that when working under the immediate direction of a client you accept no responsibility for 'similarities' with other sites.

If you're using several sites as inspiration you should probably be ok, but be weary of copying a site exactly AND if it's in the same industry/sector as your client, be sure to cover your back.
The other inspiration I got from the client was the SKY website and that's it.

I'm defiantly going to do my best to steer them away from the flash park layout and your right about the stuff in terms of contract. I've been going through it earlier today making sure it completely water tight before I submit it to client.
One other quick thing. Should i handle the hosting and charge them an annual fee? or leave that to a client for them to renew it every year etc.
Up to you. If you have a reseller account with a hosting provider then of course you should handle it, but often the client just wants to find their own.

If it's the latter don't upload any files or provide any support without requesting fee. Likewise if they ask you to handle it. Hosting and support are separate from my design projects, if the client wants me to handle that then I quote for it separately because it's a whole new area of expertise.
How about finding some layouts you think will work well and presenting them to the client?

Often they think they know what they want, or present certain sites because they've seem them and liked the look, or think that will work best.

However if you show them some layouts/sites/templates you might find they quickly choose one (and as you've selected it, it's one you know will work).

You could also produce a layout similar to that site but that doesn't look dated and is unique - just using similar core layout components such as a header image, menu bar, steps as a left or right side bar and content next to it.

Are you building the site from scratch or using a CMS such as Drupal? If the latter you can use free or premium themes to quickly establish a base layout/look, and work from there.

A site like that would work well in Drupal I think.

Regarding hosting, as Paul said if you already have a reseller account then you can use that.

Our design clients typically either use a reseller hosting account and then charge e.g. £40 per year for hosting and provide support, making a profit.

Or they order a web hosting package from us on their client's behalf - which means they benefit from a free domain and only pay for space when they need it (can be handy if you only have a few clients our would like to use a free domain).

We also have clients order hosting for their clients using their clients details, and have their clients settle the invoice. We then provide support directly as our relationship if with their client.
Doing it that way you can't mark the price up - but you also don't need to worry about providing any support for anything technical, and can instead charge for design changes or additional support - typically related to design.

We also have clients provide a year's free hosting ordered through us, and then simply have their client renew the hosting when the year is over - as that gives you the benefit of not having to do any technical support, but also not having to wait for your client to find a host and having to deal with different platforms/control panels and so forth - as you know how it works and can set the site up for development - you can then also show the client progress and perhaps even demonstrate different colour or theme options live.

I hope that helps.

Good luck