View Full Version : How do you figure pricing for web design?
10-23-2003, 12:48 AM
I did a search and couldn't find any other discussion on this topic, so please point me to one if it already exists. I am curious as to how other designers are pricing their work. Do you charge by the hour? By the project? Do you give a flat fee estimate and stand by that amount? Do you charge by the number of pages on the site? What do you do if the project goes over what you originally estimated? Do you have any good method or software for tracking your time?
I feel like I am working too hard and not getting enough for the amount of hours I put in on a site. At the same time, I don't want to price myself out of the market.
Any comments and guidelines would be greatly appreciated!
10-23-2003, 02:10 AM
To get my hourly rate I take the minimum per hour I would like to get paid at a regular 9-5 job and multiply it by 3. That will take care of all your other business costs and leave you with enough for living.
How you charge your customers depends on what you are doing. If you are doing something routine that you know you can get done in a set amount of time I would charge by the hour. The downside to this is that you can really piss the customer off if you go way over. A very well planned proposal will help a lot with this.
If you are trying out some new technologies that you have not delt with before I would charge by the project. I don't believe the customer should have to pay for hours of reading and trial and error. The only down side with this method is that you may put in way more hours then you get paid for.
Proposal: You should get paid for this. I usualy charge 1/4 the total for the proposal or 500 whichever depending on size of the site. Planning is the most important part of the webpage development. If you know exactly what the customer wants and you both agree with it there is much less back and forth on what somethign should look like or what it should contain. You also are getting paid wether or not you do the website. A good proposal can take many hours. I usually give the customers a free inital consultation. This is where I gather all the information to put in my proposal. With this information I can get an educated guess and give an estimate. If accepted I get 1st payment and develop a proposal. With the proposal I usually make 3-4 rough templates.
I feel billing really depends on what kind of relationship you have with the client. 1st timers I usually charge in quarters. return 1/2's
As far as pay per page. This is rediculis(sp). If you are developing a dynamic database fed site there is no way to judge how many pages you have. The question is what is a page. Another shell from your main template. If I were a customer I wouldn't pay for that.
Hope this helped a little.
10-23-2003, 11:27 AM
OK, the way we work it.
Our first consultation is free for the first 2 hours, if it goes over that we charge by the 1/4 hour. General phone calls, anything under the quarter hour, we do not charge, but after that. This keeps people from taking to much of your time.
After the consult, we look at what they want in detail and draw up a contract outlining that detail. We also give a best guess on how long it will take us for html and programming and charge (up front) the full amount which we bill against. The main problem we run into is changes the client wants to implement, this is where the price generally goes up. Once the deposit is depleted we bill monthly.
Being upfront and honest is the good policy, keeping everything in writing with signatures from the client is the best. Make sure they understand this change may increase the price.
Now as your relationship with the client grows, you can change your policy. We, on occasion, will make small, quick changes for free.
Now how much you charge, usually depends on the area you are working. In our area web design goes for $55 to $75, any programming is generally $80 to $100.
10-23-2003, 12:19 PM
My projects are all based on flat rate. I will explain why and how I create my bid.
redcircle is right in saying that you will most certainly upset your client if you go way over in your time estimation when billing hourly. The other problem with hourly rates is the additional time involved in the extra communications with the client. When a client is paying by the hour, they are more likely to hound you about getting it done early. The faster it gets done the less they pay. That is the why.
I always start with a free consultation. I don't believe you should charge for a proposal or consultation. It's like saying, "I want your business, but it's going to cost you to know why." Why Free? Because it saves me a lot of time in the long run, thus saving me money. I collect all the information needed to create a design, an overall idea of content, and what they want to achieve with the site. I use this information to create my contract/proposal.
If they want something that I cannot do, I subcontract. I don't want to waste my billable hours (for other projects) or push out deadlines playing hit and miss with a language or technology I am not comfortable with. (Both of which will upset the client) I Get a flat fee or rate from the contractor (push your contractor for a flat fee if possible), I buffer it by about 20% just incase they go over or as a bonus to them if they get it done early. I then calculate out a total based upon expenses out to contractors, my billable work hours and an estimate of consultation hours used during and after the project is completed. (Normally an additional 4-8 hours, depending on the size of the project)
Once I have a fee, I create a contract, which lays out in exact detail what they get for what they are going to pay. I incorporate a list of everything I am going to provide, and a schedule with estimated delivery dates. (This cuts down on the phone calls asking, (I always try to call them first) or me telling them where I am with this or that part of the project.)
I incorporate in the contract a paragraph that explains that any changes made after the signing of the contract, no matter how small, will be billed hourly with a 2 hour minimum billing. (And all changes must be signed before they are done so you have a record of the changes and back up your final statement)
I have also incorporated a dead project clause into my contracts. This clause details that if for any reason, the project is cancelled do to no fault of my company; I retain the rights to all project materials, and keep the down payment.
As for payment plans, If the project is small, then I do half upon contract approval, remainder when project is launched. If the project is larger, excess of $2,000.00 dollars, I do 1/3 upon contract approval, 1/3 upon sign-off of beta site, (always hosted on my server) and the remainder on launch to their server.
I normally incorporate 4-6 hours of consultation or adjustment time for after the project goes live which expires after 30 days. 4-6 hours over a month is nothing, and it gives the client a sense of security knowing that you have guaranteed you will be there if something goes wrong, or they just need advice.
I hope this covers your questions.
10-23-2003, 01:56 PM
There is a similar post here
that may provide some additional information.