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Things to Consider When Setting Your Prices

Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Clients

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If you’re first starting out as a freelance web designer, you need to think about how much you’re going to charge, and what pricing structure you’ll use. But before you quote a price, you need to take a few things into consideration.

  • What is the project?
    Before you evaluate any web design project, you need to determine what it will entail. Some questions to ask include:
    • How many pages will need to be created?
    • Are there images and/or design that need to be used, or will they be created as part of the project?
    • Is there content for the site, or will that be written by the designer?
    • Will there be any Flash, multimedia, programming or scripting required?
    • Does the customer have any special requirements like ADA compatibility, support for an old browser version like IE 6, or something else?
    You may need to increase prices, depending upon the answers you get.
  • When do your clients want the project completed?
    The more urgent a project is, the more you can generally charge. But be sure that if you agree to an accelerated schedule, that it’s one you can meet.
  • How much experience do you have?
    The more web design experience you have, the more you can charge, and the more your clients will expect to pay. Keep in mind, however that if you don’t have a lot of Flash experience and that’s what your clients want, you shouldn’t rely on your six years of HTML coding to increase your prices.
  • How much long-term maintenance is required?
    Often, when a website is commissioned, the clients have not thought beyond just getting the page up on the site. As a Web designer, you should make sure that your clients have maintenance covered. If they expect you or your company to cover it, you should probably get a separate contract for that aspect of the job.
  • What is the going rate?
    This can often be difficult to determine. The best way is to talk to other designers in your area. Check out the salary and pricing websites listed below for more assistance.
  • How much do you want to make?
    The bottom line, after everything else is: how much do you want to make? For example, you might have a project you would love to do, because it would be fun, or interesting or challenging. Your bid might reflect that. On the other hand, you might feel uncomfortable doing a job or would have to do extra work just to complete it, such as if you would have to hire a database programmer to complete the project.

Some General Rules of Thumb for Setting a Price for Web Design Work

  1. Never bid on a project you do not have the resources to complete. If you assume that you’ll be able to hire a Perl programmer when you make the bid, chances are you’ll be scrambling 2 days before the due date and spend all your fee on a last minute programmer.
  2. Get as clear and specific a contract as possible. If the contract is vague, you may find yourself providing more services than you expected.
  3. Be careful with pro bono work. There are many good reasons to build websites for free, but you should treat your pro bono work as seriously as any other contract. And if you give away your services, your customers might not want to pay after the free period is over, even if they like your quality.
  4. Always be honest with your clients. If you say you can meet a deadline, then meet it, and if you can’t give them as much warning as you possibly can.
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