Web Design: How Much to Charge for Website Design
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Web Design: How Much to Charge for Website Design


– This video is gonna get
interesting very quickly. Hey everybody, this is Roberto
Blake of robertoblake.com, helping you create
something awesome today. So today, we’ve got a
very interesting topic. How much should you be
charging for web design? Well, it depends. There are a lot of different
ways to approach this. I have an agency background, but I’ve also worked as a freelancer, and I’ve worked as an
in-house designer at a company that actually would do web design. So there are a lot of
different perspectives that I have on this, and there are a lot of different models for charging that people like to use. Immediately, many of you might be thinking of the hourly rate and how much you should be
charging per hour for web design. I actually don’t like this model, and the reason I don’t like
this model is because yes, there are ranges you can use that would be fairly appropriate, but it also makes a lot of assumptions that I’m very uncomfortable with. It makes a lot of
assumptions about how long a project actually will
take in terms of hours, and then it also makes some
assumptions based on that on how much time in terms of calendar days you have to commit. From my point of view, this is not a practical way to charge, and the analogy that I’ve always used is that it’s not practical for the client or for you as the creative. And the reason is because
if you were painting a house and you were doing it by the hour, you have no incentive to finish
the job quickly and move on. Your entire paycheck and pay scale depends on being inefficent, and that’s not good for anybody. So that’s why I’m not
a fan of hourly rates for graphic design or anything creative. I feel like hourly rates are more toward non-skilled, very specific things, versus creative things that
require technical expertise, creativity, but also require a back-and-forth dialogue with the client and something being done
to their satisfaction. It’s too open-ended to just go ahead and slap an hourly fee on, in my opinion. Alternatively, while flat
rates are a little better, they also make some other assumptions that may not be comfortable
or practical for either party. If something is a flat rate, that means that it’s
the same amount of money whether you spent five
hours or 50 hours on it. The client may not be
comfortable with that. You as the creative may not
be comfortable with that. What I propose is I propose
an a la carte system. This is an agency model. It is a service-based
model where you assign fees to a very specific task in the process, and you bundle that together
and attach a rate to it, and that is a project fee, but it also has all of
the individual services for the project broken down. You can include, if you choose, estimations of time and deadlines for each of those deliverable services. That’s something that
might be very practical and appropriate for you to do. A lot of you thought this was gonna be just a quick video with, like, charts. This much per hour or charge
this much for this thing and this much for that thing. But the thing is, it is much more complicated than that, and I want to be honest with you, and I want to give you a
different type of video than you’ve probably gotten from anyone who’s covered this topic. And I just think the most
realistic thing for you to do, the thing that’s best for a client, if you’re watching this
and you’re looking to hire somebody for web design, is to, you know, ask them
for an itemized bill. And I think for you as a web designer, I think presenting an itemized bill is the most transparent thing you can do, it’s the most lucrative thing you can do, and it’s the most fair thing you can do. So web designers, I encourage you to break down your process and your scope of work, lay it out, and come up with some ranges and fees for those specific items
that you’re going to do in the process of delivering
a functional website. Once you have that, go ahead and deliver that to your client. And again, I want you
to come up with a range, because there are different projects that require a little bit more work for some of those tasks than others. When you’re coming up with this, you should account for
personal internal estimates of your time in the worst case scenario, and you should be giving yourself what you feel is an appropriate
fee for your time for that, within the range of the
amount of time you project at best and at worst you’re
going to spend on the project. You should also account for any cost that you’re going to incur, or any resources that you’re going to need up front to start the project, and you should also figure out what a healthy deposit
is for this project. A lot of people like to do 50-50, half up front, half on completion. Some people like to do
it deliverable base. You finish and deliver on a
service or a part of a task, you get paid for what the billing was for that service or task, and so on and so forth. Some people do it that way
and it stretches things out. Other people like to
set up the payment plan as schedule of increments
for their clients. Some people do three installments. Some people do four. You have to figure out what
you’re comfortable with and what makes sense
for your business model and, you know, just what you can handle. So this video was less what to charge and more how to charge, and I know that that is a little weird, but at the same time, I’m a web designer. I know that the SEO value
in YouTube is on how-to. So sorry about that. Anyway, I’d love your
feedback on this video. I’d love to answer some
questions that you might have, so leave those in the comments section. Also, I’m running a interesting poll here. I want to know if you prefer
to do hourly rates anyway, despite what I said, or whether you think
flat fees are the best, or whether you think that
itemized billing is the best. So go ahead and vote on the poll and let me know your thoughts on that. Anyway, if you dig this topic and you want me to cover
more web design stuff, let me know that in the
comments section as well, ’cause I really love this topic and I would like to cover it a little bit more here on the channel. Anyway, like this video if you like it. Don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other awesome
content on the channel. As always, you guys, thanks so much for watching, and don’t forget, create something awesome today.

74 Comments

  • Denislav Zhelyazkov

    In order to have a runway you need to make a bigger profit. The way I charge my clients is foe example the project could be made for 1,000$ and I bid for around 2.5k or 3k so I can have a bigger margin to make a bigger profit, as eventually the most valuable in our lives is time. We can work 2-3 hours a day but if they are creatively fullfilling that doesnt mean we are lazy. So the idea is if the clients budget was 800$ and I submit him a big of 2.5k he could say hey listen I got only 1.5k which leads that I still made 500$+ of what I needed for that job. I think thats how business is made, and your skillset is what you can offer to the world. Good video Roberto, keep em comin!

  • Tricia K

    Excellent information. I vote for itemised billing. It justifies each element giving the customer options to suit their budget. Im still practicing how to create websites and sticking up all the great information I'm learning. Thanks . London U.K.

  • Derrick McLean

    I want to learn how to make wordpress websites for people and eventually get good enough to charge them for the work. Any tips, tools, and ideas to get started doing this and do it successfully?

  • Adam Talic

    after watching this video everyone should read the short e-book ' Breaking The Time Barrier' which talks creativley about selling your VALUE instead of your TIME and how much you can benefit from value based pricing for your client AND yourself.

  • Grace Yoo

    I'm highly interested in the web development and design. I want to know more about making portfolio and/or experience, education requirements, and getting started with it. I really enjoy its technical and abstract fluidity. I want to know as much as possible!

  • Guillermo Bueno

    nice vid's Roberto! question, when you do websites for customer w/o a domain name or/and hosting package, how do you offer your affiliates as an option?

  • Rosh Sillars

    Thanks for stepping up on your industry topic. I'm totally with you on your hourly and day rate stance. I share similar information for the photo industry. It's my most popular post year after year.

  • Shameless

    flat fees every time, but thats because i have a lot of experience with the projects and formats, i can estimate worth pretty accuratly since ive been doing that a lot as well. When youre starting out just test, a lot

  • Anthony Purington

    I had some bad experiences by charging flat fees, but then again, I didn't have any contract written up, so I guess it was my fault anyway. How do you feel about people who buy WordPress themes and reskin them, and sell them for thousands of dollars to their clients?

  • Grant Norman

    Is there an equation or theory you use to set specific dollar amounts for services? If one uses an itemized system, how should one generate prices?

  • Ryushai

    Flat fees are best when there's rules and limitations for revisions and changes. It's not just websites, but everything when you're a creative. I've had people happy with just 2 changes, and others that still weren't sure after 40. Setting boundaries and itemizing is best for everyone.

  • SirWithrow

    About the algorithm, my suggested views have went down from 42% to 4%. I do all the things you advice as well. Can ya help me?

  • Vladimir Spasojević

    One thing that doesn't make sense in charging hourly is that if you are efficient and work very good and very fast, you will, by default, earn less because it takes you less hours to complete your project. If you are slow, you will earn more?

  • ForrestKnight

    Flat fees plus revision fees, if excessive. I feel we owe the client a good amount of revisions included in that flat fee, but once it gets out of hand, up-charge.

    The best payment format IMO is 50%-100% upfront with, at most, 2 installations after. E.g. 50-25-25, 75-15-10, 80-20, etc. However, I wouldn't do 50% before with 50% upon delivery. I think the most upon delivery should be 25%.

    Thanks for the video! I made a similar one regarding iOS freelancing.

  • Riley Jones

    Very helpful, and I will definitely apply these tips for my next project! I really like the a la carte concept.

    I always prefer the service based/flat fee model. Hourly can be draining and hinders the quality of the process. Yes to more web videos!

  • Ilija Lazarov

    Hey there Roberto. I've been a subscriber since forever and have been really liking your videos, but do you think you can share a link or a pdf of a good case practice? Telling us something like this is gold, but if we don't see, we won't know how to use it. Thanks in advance

  • ProlificBanana

    I prefer doing a flat-fee, but I like the idea of an "a la carte" system. I also like the idea of doing a retainer or time-blocking if a client isn't quite sure what the scope of their project is (like website maintenance or something). I'm trying to move away from hourly though – It causes more issues than it's worth. You basically get punished for becoming better/more efficient. Pricing has been my weakest point in my entire business. I hate to say that I've just thrown out a number without really putting a lot of thought into it and I tried to be "affordable" because I didn't want to lose a potential client. I don't deal with that as much now, but definitely in the past I did.

  • Ray Franklin

    Roberto, I believe you are 100% accurate on the distinction between charging hourly and a la carte. The biggest problem I have seen is the initial deposit. I think it is an easier ask when there is brand recognition (the designers brand). Clients in general are the same as any other consumer in the marketplace when it comes to comfortability, and tend to be hesitant to pay much of an initial fee when working with an unknown. Maybe your feelings on the coalition between the ask (for fees) and a designer/developer's brand recognition would be good content for you. Great work, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  • Jaywalker Pictures

    For smaller projects I charge a flat fee, it gives the client security knowing their costs won't blow out. To figure out that fee I use an hourly rate and estimate the hours needed adding in some 'fat' as a buffer against changes. If the project is particularly complex, then a hybrid model is good – a flat fee with a clause stating changes beyond a certain sign off point or number of changes will incur an hourly rate.

  • ET_Studios

    This is great! Definitely spreading this around.

    Also, I'm for itemized, whenever possible. It feels fairer, to me, for all involved. The client, at least the ones who just want the work done, are paying for the finished result, not necessarily the process and time that goes into it, so there's less risk of getting screwed by me overestimating how complicated it'll end up being. And I don't run the risk of underestimating the time needed and essentially doing unpaid work, which I feel is part of any solid business strategy.

  • Offline Creative

    Any chance you can make a mockup client and itemized bill for an average website? just for us to see and get an idea of how to present this to clients. this is one of my weaknesses, the billing clients part.

  • Roberto Blake

    Some of you are asking about templates and examples. I use Freshbooks and it setups everything you need pretty much automatically. You can check it out for free with NO CREDIT CARD over here: http://robertoblake.com/freshbooks
    I have the paid version for unlimited clients and recurring billing.

  • nikyie

    Hi Roberto! I'm a long time watcher now. I'm a coder with a design background, looking to start a web design business. I love all your videos but got extra excited when this one discussed web design. Keep them coming! More web design videos, please!

  • Zachary Allen Kravits

    Roberto, I love that your doing videos on web design. I love to see more on this. I would also like to see some on color theory and color psychology. Those would be cool

  • MathCat321

    I have watched oodles of your videos and benefit greatly from them. I like the practical steps that you give us. It's not all theory. Thanks for information!

  • Profile Booster

    100% agree on not charging based on an hourly fee. Your method of bundling all the tasks into one big project and putting a time line together is great.

  • Heather Harris

    I believe what you have suggested is in line with what I am looking to do. I am looking at my personal fee plus; fees for packages (which would show a breakdown); plus the costs of add-ons; plus any costs incurred. Thoughts?

  • Whisky O

    I like hourly + itemized services and tasks. Many designers undervalue our profession by asking for so little, not to mention reject the opportunity to make more money.

  • WhirlOmar

    I'm sure you have, I'm looking through your past videos. But have you previously discussed how to find clients for design and video work? It takes too long relying on networking and spreading the word.

  • Aubrey

    Spot on! Too many people are doing the hourly form and I totally agree that value-based payment is the most fair and aligned form of payment. Thank you Roberto for another great video! It is obvious you are very bright! One small critique though which will help you. Say "ask" instead of "ax". It sounds far less educated when you say "ax". Saying "ask" (pronounced like "ass-k" – sorry for using the word "ass" but it was the best way to phonetically sound it out correctly) will show you have given some thought to your enunciation. Words matter. 😉 You are obviously very intelligent, creative and driven. Good luck in your ventures! And thanks again!

  • Alexandria Soto

    I charge a project rate that always starts as a basic website and a predetermined set of tasks. I charge additional fees for more than basic functionalities, I also have labor fees when it comes to doing data entry for websites that have a lot of product.

  • Rhodesia P

    Hey Roberto! I have been subscribed to your channel for a while now. A lot of great information IMO. I just hope everything I have learned will help me this week with my first potential client for web design. Wish me luck!!😄

  • CLINTON JONES

    …well said …BUT, after years of the same rationale, I have 'engineered' the perfect 'no doubt' answer for any webmaster. GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR …I literally, 'xml' several templates with their 'data' before I approach. When I 'show them' a 'full service' profile and give 'em my card, I'm Done with the 'elevator pitch' and wait for them to call with 'adjustments' …Remember, the first to mention money …loses it …I create loyalty from the start. Once I set them up (automation), they send me more 'conditioned' leads (warm) and I 'kick back' a steady percentage (affiliate) to them. (full circle) …as my 'clients' learn about the process, they 'condition' my network of businesses for the 'real deal' a local 'treasure hunt' that targets a daily 'pot of value' for SEO …compounded locally. Remember 'full service' must be delivered and promoted properly. If money is the target, you lose.

  • Mayuko Sato

    You always have answers to my most concerned questions to be more efficient in my web/graphic creation business! I always felt skeptical about the idea to charge hourly for everything. It takes time but is important to set the price from breaking down itemized tasks and estimate time for each. I'm very looking forward to learning more from you!

  • Geminus Dev

    My company uses itemized billing. Every website uses completely different elements, has different pages, and has different needs.

  • Brandon Patterson

    Your explanation comparing web dev with the painting service is spot on and I haven't heard anyone speak about it like that before! Thank you!

  • Trevor M

    Itemized billing plus an extra charge for labor seems the best way to go. Itemizing things gives clients an understanding of where their money went and the labor charge can simply act as a buffer for things like projects taking way longer than expected or as a way to spread out the cost on a way clients can agree with.

  • eddie r.

    Hi, I need some help on how much to charge for ecomnerce maintenance fees, how much should i charge i the client wants me to add products for him

  • Best Of Klopp

    How much was the first website you charged and do you know of any online place to get a webdesign job without geographical restrictions?

  • Diego Segura

    At least give some estimates at the end, great info but ultimately you failed me and I have to watch another video. No thanks bro.

  • STS Tech

    Hotel in Space lol. Your business idea is an absolute joke and impossible to attain at the current time. Wix Commercials are painful to watch!

  • Para Bina

    1. Hourly rate charges – impractical
    2. Flate rate – common but not efficient
    3. Value rate – For rich clients only

    Honestly, the problem doesn't lies on the way we charges but more on how do we do the deal. The main problem is that designer can not put the end product target and client can not be satisfy enough. Thus making the project to be long and hostile experience for both party.

  • #IndieArtistsRule

    Hey Roberto – I know this video is a couple years old, but I just wanna say thanks! Because as a new freelance web designer I had no clue how to charge. I have an idea how much to charge, but I think breaking it down by pages/packages is the way to go. Just subscribed to your channel & will be checking out your other vids. You're very personable, articulate & easy to understand – all things I look for in a "How To" vid – THANK YOU!

  • Bruce Chamoff - Making Money in Web Design

    Hey Roberto, I am loving your videos. I mention my method that works for me in more detail in my YouTube videos, but I do not charge by the hour with a blind number of hours, but I DO charge by the hour and quote one price based on the number of estimated hours. What I mean by that if the client wants a WordPress website with a contact form, a custom theme, and initial SEO, I know that in the past, I have averaged around 25 hours on everything and if I charge $100 per hour, I know that I can charge the client $2,500, so for me, it is a combination of the number of hours and an estimate.

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