Web-designers-for-hire: What do you charge?

After amassing a few “clients” on a volunteer/uber-cheap basis, I’m trying to build a pricing structure to bring with me when I meet with new prospective clients.

It seems that a lot of places either charge by the page, or by the hour.

My plan is to put together some basic plans; hosting, design within a certain framework, and support at a fixed price.

That part I seem to be able to wrap my brain around, but what I’m not sure about is how to charge when, say, two months from now they want to add two new pages to their site. Or some new graphics. Or a database and coding to make the site more dynamic.

I guess I’m curious as to various experiences with charging per page (or project) versus charging per hour.

I’m thinking that a ‘per page’ approach might work best for me, as it keeps the client focused on the value of the product delivered, and not my hourly income.

I haven’t done a lot of web design for hire, but when I did I charged by the page, with an initial project set up charge. Something like $300 for the basic project and first page, then $25 for each additional page.

Mind you, this was for really basic design, html only. For anything requiring database access or php or anything other than “slap this info on the web” it would be quite a bit more.

See this older thread for some discussion, and in particular pay attention to ZipperJJ’s posts. Be very careful if you do decide to do a per-page rate–a site with a few database-intensive pages could have you working for a low hourly rate.

We charge by the hour, but try to not focus on that during the initial proposal. We just say, X, Y, and Z items will cost $5,000. Additional work after the delivery is done on an hourly basis.

As for having a ballpark figure, I usually have a few rough levels of service/product in mind–$2500 for a 1-5 page site, $5000 for up to 10 pages, and so on–so I can give a client a general idea, and make them think about what this site is actually worth to them, so we’re not thinking on different planes; but I always tell them it will take a few days to work up the final quote.

I charge about $1,000 for a site for raw coding, because that’s really easy for me, and then extra after that for the graphics, which take more time. My average, 15-page site costs my clients about $2,500 after everything is said and done - but I do EVERYTHING. I design a logo if they don’t already have one (I do a lot of new businesses), and I also format letterhead and business card graphics, and set everyone up with e-mail. I get the domain set up and get a payment schedule going, et cetera. I’m more into customer service than making money, I guess - but these people come back to me when they have problems, and are willing to pay me the $30 an hour for troubleshooting that I ask.


Here’s an email I sent out the other day to someone who asked me pretty much the same question:

This was in regards to a 10-page, pure HTML site that I thought looked pretty pro.

One other thing…if you don’t know any dynamic coding (ASP or PHP), you should learn it. Start writing dynamic sites so you don’t become peoples’ Web Slave. Make the site updateable from the get-go - which will be more expensive - and explain to the clients that it’s really in their best interest to pay extra up front to keep them from having to pay you every time they want a change. Getting “regular” work from updating Web sites sounds like a swell idea, but it’s not. It’s sooooo not worth it. Updating Web sites makes me want to kill myself. Don’t do it. Please don’t do it. It makes the baby Jesus cry.