How much should I charge for doing a site?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by 0dev, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68040

    0dev

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    Dec 22, 2009
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    127.0.0.1
    #1
    Because I'm the resident computer guy and I've set up a few websites before, I'm helping a business run by some friends of mine by doing them a website. Since they're friends I will be charging them less than a normal web developer would but I want to get a reference point for pricing beforehand.

    What I'll be doing is setting up a shop with a CMS, doing a custom theme and a custom banner to their specifications, adding the inventory to the shop database (with descriptions, pictures, etc.), and setting up credit card payments.

    If you were doing that job as a web developer how much would you charge?
     
  2. macrumors 604

    Jessica Lares

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    Oct 31, 2009
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    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    #2
    I have a standard price of $100 for every project I do. But it only takes me like ten minutes to get something like that setup on WordPress with all the plugins they have already. So the $100 is really covering the CSS overrides and images. Don't worry too much about a discount. Maybe another $50 since you have to plugin in all the wording yourself.
     
  3. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    #3
    I can't actually tell if you are joking with this or not.

    If you were to start at bear minimum of $100 and not do any customisation at all I think you might not be completely insane.

    I would break it down as to how much you think your time is worth and think what you could potentially be earning in the time that you are doing this, remember that just because they are friends doesn't mean they will be any easier to work for and if anything they are more likely to take advantage of you. I have known developers who will straight out refuse to work for friends and family purely because they expect everything instantly and for very little money.

    When you are working out your timescales remember to include all the various emails back and forth, the extra time to format all their descriptions properly and the time to make the banners etc. Once you have this figure in your mind, double it. It might seem like overkill but I've learnt from experience that no matter how simple a job may seem, people will change their minds and expect you to be able to accomodate that, emails can be misread and things that can seem really trivial to do get pulled out over many MANY hours.

    Remember, its always easier to start expensive and drop the figure down. If things go swimmingly then you can always give them a big discount and deliver early and that will always work out better than going over time and over budget.
     
  4. 960design, Jan 25, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013

    macrumors 65816

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    Destin, FL
    #4
    Simple Answer: $1200 for the site, $600 for the shop so total would be $1800, half up front, they'll get a client login to 'watch' their site get built, when they are happy with it, and the final check clears the bank, the site will go live. Once the site goes live any additional work is billed at $70/hour.

    The price includes 3 years domain name and web hosting.

    Additional hosting will be billed at the future going rate, right now about $12/month. So three additional years today would cost $432. If they would like to move to another, web hosting package, I zip up all the files and database information and send it to them. If they need assistance setting it up with their new web hosting company, I bill them at $70/hour.

    That's a very BASE line pricing, of course I've done tons of free sites, $100 sites and a couple of $10,000+ sites.

    A long time ago, I read that the best companies, find a product and sell it at three times the product's cost. If the market will not accept the x3 pricing, pick another product. Basically, if you cannot make back three times your cost, your company will fail. With web development, most of the cost is your brain and time. Figure out how much your time is worth and multiple it by 3. If you cannot get that rate, get additional training, offer better service, pick another job, ect.

    That's just me though.

    PS. -pete- has it exactly right. I always try to deliver early and at a price lower than quoted. You want to see an entire company board smile?! Tell them you will do it 2 months at $1800, then give it to them in 1 month for $1000. Let them know that the job was less complicated than you originally thought and that working with them was such a joy that you have altered the price accordingly. After getting half up front they only owe you $100 to go live, they will love you.

    PPS cheap or free sites are the most difficult sites to create
     
  5. fig
    macrumors 6502a

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    Houston, TX
    #5
    I lean towards charging a lot, it usually works out best for me. I also like projects where I charge a good amount.

    As mentioned the price can range, when estimating I've found that adding around 30% to the time I think the site should actually take me it turns out about right.

    I tend to charge a project price with half up front and half on completion. I work pretty quickly when building out a site and if I charge hourly I'd have to either charge a rate that would seem really high or make less because I finished the site quickly, neither of which seems ideal.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 68040

    0dev

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    Dec 22, 2009
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    127.0.0.1
    #6
    Thanks for the replies, I have a wide variety of answers here from $100 to $1800 :eek:

    I should note that they already have a server and a domain, I'm just setting up the site itself, so the only thing I'm really charing for is my time and labour. I also don't have formal training nor am I a professional, I'm just a geek with personal experience setting up my own websites, hence asking what the going rate is here.
     
  7. macrumors 65816

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    Destin, FL
    #7
    I'll hire you at $100 a site, I have way more than I can handle. You said custom theme. May I assume that you know PHP and understand OOP best practices?
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 68040

    0dev

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    #8
    I can do very basic CSS and PHP but nothing too fancy. Like I said this isn't really an area of expertise for me, it's something I usually do as a hobby and am just doing as a favour for a friend now. I wouldn't want you to hire me then get upset when I turn out not to be an expert at web development. What I usually do is set up a CMS, play about with the themes a bit, and add whatever I need to in terms of plugins, pages, other content, etc.
     
  9. macrumors 65816

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    #9
    No worries, keep at it. After you have a couple of sites under your belt, look me up. I'm betting that your rate ($100) will go up significantly. :)
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 68040

    0dev

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    #10
    I may just get back to you on that in the future, thanks for the offer, I appreciate it :)
     
  11. macrumors member

    nomade

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    #11
    100$ will not even pay you for the time you spend meeting a customer and understand his needs. Let alone produce a nice web site, giving formation setup hosting, domain name and email. Even for a basic cms you should charge at leat 500$ and then when your customer will call you for a small change you will keep smiling:)
     
  12. macrumors 604

    Jessica Lares

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    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    #12
    I do this more as a hobby too. I know some people do this at $1,000 a pop, but honestly, a weekend worth of work is not worth $1,000 for me. I usually work with people who would benefit from having that extra money in their pocket anyway. When you land on something that is THAT good, it's priceless.

    And I do this for individuals, not companies. Companies are a PITA to deal with because there's too many people involved. The biggest group I've dealt with was a director, his producers, and a few PR people. And I got that gig because I worked with that producer in the past. Cheap labor has its perks. ;) Not many web designers get the chance to look at the official guidelines set by a distributor on making a website to promote a movie. They usually have people in-house to do it. They liked my casual communication style, and willingness to listen, and advise on changes as needed, so they refused to use the other guys.

    I also have a client who's a hairdresser, and I've done two sites for him too. He travels all over the place and has been featured in magazines, does celebrity hair and all that jazz.

    But I've also worked with people who hired me, then decided to get a more expensive redesign later on by someone who just blows them off a month later. So they come back to me looking for help to make quick changes.

    And whether it's 3AM, or 5PM, I do those changes then and there.

    For me it's more about the experience, and I choose who I want to work with. Obviously a lot of you work on really boring e-commerce websites, and you probably spend hours setting things up. I would never commit myself to do a site like that, unless it was like a fashion store that needed to be pretty and sophisticated, and would benefit from a really chic design. But then I'd rather get free clothes in return. :rolleyes: I would also quickly put together some PDFs showing a client how to fill out the info themselves, that way instead of just writing it all down in e-mail, they can go ahead and have it ready and I don't bore myself to death with it. I want people to be okay with editing their sites afterwards.

    And I don't really care about the money. I care about people's crappy online presence and making it look better and being able to say that I was responsible for it. There's too many designers hanging out on Dribbble all day, with high prices, waiting for a bite. I'm not as good as those people of course, but I'm also aware that most of those dream clients of theirs can't afford their prices.

    And that is exactly why I stick to $100. It's just extra cash in my pocket anyway.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 68040

    0dev

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    #13
    My thoughts on this are just the same as yours by the sounds of it. I'm not doing this for a company, I'm doing it for friends who are just starting a small business which is barely breaking even, even if they would pay me $1,000 I wouldn't feel comfortable asking that much from them. Plus they're giving me anything from their stock at a discount in return for helping them too.

    I think I will just charge a hundred, sounds like I'm certainly giving them a great deal :p
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    #14
    How much should I charge for doing a site?

    It depends on the website you are developing.
    But you can charge 100 USD for any static and small website.
    And for the dynamic website you can take charges according to time to develop website.
     
  15. macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #15
    Some good answers in this thread. It's always hard to put a ballpark on stuff like this because of the wide variety of work that's out there on the web. Let's face it, there are a lot of crappy looking websites, and a lot of nice ones.

    It's like asking "what's a fair price to pay to buy dinner". Well, I could quote you $5 for a value meal at McDonald's, or $100+ at a nice upscale restaurant. Neither of those answers would be "wrong". Likewise, what sort of output you provide on the "quality" scale -- and how quickly you can do it on the "time" scale -- will define how much you can fairly expect to charge.

    You'll likely have customers no matter what end of the scale you sit at, just like there are people who will happily pay $5 or $100 or anywhere in between for dinner. For cheap websites you can target charities, churches, people who just want something simple, and likely one-off work. If I was buying a higher-end website I would expect more functions, more design work, and maybe an ongoing relationship with you to keep the site updated.

    If you're looking to do this as a hobby and a learning experience, and just want some compensation for your time, then I agree that a couple hundred bucks might be pretty reasonable to start. You can always start raising the price as your experience and skill improve and as this project starts taking up more of your time.
     
  16. macrumors member

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    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    #16
    If done properly, this represents a lot of work and involves a lot of specialized skill. Sure, you could slap together some pieces in Wordpress and call it a day, but that website will either completely flounder or need to be rebuilt. Over the years, I've fixed a lot of these quick and cheap sites. Remember, a poor man pays twice, once for the cheap version, and once again for the proper version.

    If you want to know how much to charge, start by coming up with an hours estimate. Server configuration, CMS installation, CMS customization, design work, content, images, payment processing, securing the site, documenting the process, defining a support process, defining ongoing maintenance, things like that. Then its just a matter of how much you value an hour of your time.

    but, to say "its $100" is just asinine. You're telling your client that you don't even care enough to plan out or size the project; you're just going to pull something out of your a$$, and charge $100 for the effort.

    Show some respect for yourself and your client and put some effort into planning the project. Everyone will win when that happens.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    laurim

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    Minnesota USA
    #17
    Just give some consideration to the fact that people who work for slave wages make it harder for people who do this as their primary occupation to charge a realistic price they can live on. Web design/development is a real occupation and deserves respect. It's like trying to compete with the cheap labor in India. Considering your own website is a WordPress template right out of the box, maybe $100 is appropriate for just setting up a basic WordPress site but if it's anything more than that, you should really consider charging an appropriate amount for anyone other than friends and charities.
     
  18. macrumors 604

    Jessica Lares

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    #18
    I didn't want to do my own template for the time being, if anyone's wondering. I'm leaving that for when I do get some portfolio work that I actually like done.

    And yes, it's rock bottom prices, but I'm sure if someone found better, they would have went with that other option instead of me. After all, people want to hire the person who has better ideas, don't they?
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    laurim

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    Minnesota USA
    #19
    No, people generally haven't a clue what it takes to build a website and what constitutes a well-designed, well-built website. So they go for the cheapest solution. Then, they either get a crappy website or they get a passable website that they don't know could be much better. If they know it's a crappy result, they lose faith in the web designer world and the next person they hire is punished for what the last person did by getting a client who micromanages them and asks for much more than they are willing to pay for.
     
  20. macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
    #20
    Also, for people who do have some idea of what things ought to cost, "too low" prices make people skeptical, if not downright suspicious. Just like how we always caution people to be careful if a deal seems too good to be true on Craigslist, if I see someone advertising design services for a price far below market rate, I automatically assume that the quality is going to be crap.

    If you can do better work than the people charging rock bottom prices, then you need to price yourself a step (at least!) above those people.
     
  21. fig
    macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    As already mentioned, chances are no. If they can get decent enough for cheap or good by paying for, most places will choose cheap.

    Just had a friend send me this and it's rather relevant to the topic.
     
  22. macrumors 6502

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    Sep 3, 2009
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    CT
    #22
    Wow, $100 a pop!

    My sites are in the thousands (4-20k), but usually because they don't want a cookie cutter "take template a" and doctor the CSS. My sites all need to do something, at a minimum if someone comes to me they need to access offsite data, have employee logins, have customer portal specifics, e-commerce, or some piece that makes them more than a flyer on the web.
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #23
    First of all, never do fixed price work, ever.

    Pretty standard rates for software development consultants would be in the $100/hr range, minimum. People with highly specialized skills or a lot of experience can get away with charging more.

    Sign a customer to a deal for an initial analysis, and time box it at like 40 hours. So tell them that you'll meet with them, gather details on what they want, write up details about what you'd build for them, and then you give an estimate for the number of hours to build the site they want. The estimate isn't a promise, it's an estimate, but obviously tell them that you'd keep them looped in on how you are tracking against that number so they won't be surprised if you go over.

    Sometimes what you can do is tell them if they decide to go forward with the building of the site/application after the analysis, you'll take the cost of the analysis off of the total. Basically it just makes sure your paid for your time if you meet with someone and find out what they want and write them up a detailed plan/estimate, so they can't just take that for free and comparison shop somewhere else.

    Anyone that wants you to build a site for a fixed (low) amount, like $500 or whatever, isn't worth your time. They don't have a sense for what the going rate is for software development and you'll never convince them otherwise. I could see knocking the rate down to 90 or 80 an hour to get a deal, depending on how much work is involved and whether or not it's worth it for you in the long run, but don't ever get talked into working for 25/hr or anything close to that. You can't even send a project offshore for that low of a rate...
     
  24. macrumors 6502

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    CT
    #24
    I agree, it's regional, but US development sees $85-100 for HTML/CSS/Design work, and $125-150/hr for e-commerce or web applications that do work. I will do fixed price work as many customers won't work without it, but only with sufficient padding, contingencies and a written scope. No scope, no work.

     
  25. macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #25
    Focusing on LAMP work:

    That pricing makes sense in terms of development/design houses with multiple employees which may be in house or contracted consultants all working on the same projects.

    In terms of independent consultants doing contract work, i.e. professionals who work solo via 1099 (could be W2 but you get my point) usually charge that only if 5-7+ years experience and highly qualified, but I could be wrong.

    Would like to hear your opinion on this.
     

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