how much should i charge ?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by thevessels, May 14, 2006.

  1. thevessels macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2004
    ok so im going to start making simple clean web sites here and there . nothing to crazy . im still just starting off . but again i dont want to undercharge ( i know how much people pay for **** web sites ) yet i dont want to look like i think im all that .
    heres an example :
    didnt take me too long , hasnt been critiqued by the client , or added real content yet . but in the end how much would you sell a simple site like that <b>with</b> monthly hosting and a few email accounts .
    just some loose estimates would really help me alot guys .

    and i also designed that logo , and the whole look for that company , so .. any extra charge there ? i was pretty much asked " hey were startin out so and so , can ya make us a website ? "
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Um... YEAH....:eek:
    A corporate identity package they would normally be paying thousands or tens of thousands for if they went to an agency? Yeah, you should be charging extra for it...
    You would typically deliver specifications and files for print colours, with letterhead, envelopes, business cards, fax header sheets, all of their print needs. Don't forget the black and white version of the logo too.
  3. thevessels thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2004
    thanks for the help dude . but i still need some rough figures ?!!?
    pleeeeease . if you were in my shoes what would ya ask , i gotta look like i have some spine here ! haha ...
  4. Mr. Durden macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2005
    I realize this may be a bit vague, but hang in there with me...

    Charge as much as is reasonable for the client. For example, when a buddy of mine asked me to throw together a simple logo for him, I just had him buy me lunch one day. But when a huge corporation like, oh lets say Target, asks me to do something for them, I automatically start out at $100 an hour, with a minimum of 40 hours. If I get the project signed off on in 30 hours, yea for me.

    Now, I'm not saying you should take advantage of anyone, I'm just saying that your work has a different value depending on who its for and how they'll end up using it. And also realize that you'll probably get a different answer from nearly every designer you ask, so it more or less comes down to what you are comfortable with. Good luck. And whatever you do, don't under charge them. Nothing is worse than working your butt off and not getting a fare wage for it.

    One more thing regarding that undercharge thing. I always start a bit on the high side with the pricing. Its easy to come down on your price, but nearly impossible to go up.
  5. corywoolf macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2004
    nice work! :)
  6. thevessels thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2004
    thanks for the input guys .
    on a side note how much would you charge any low traffic client to host their website and set up a few emails for em , $15-25 a month ? plus $25 an hour for updates ? does this sound normal ? haha , i feel so silly being so clueless on the financial side of things ...
  7. jive macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2006
    About the "depending on your client thing"

    I've done teh website/logo/all artwork for my friends band and charged them £150 over time. I've poured hundreds of hours into the project.

    Whereas a few other bands/promoters want posters etc done and I'm charging £15ph (Yes, I know it's not very much) and all I'm delivering to them is a .jpg file.

    Take each one on a personal basis - it's much easier.
  8. Moria macrumors regular

    May 7, 2005
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Look on, they've got loads of good articles for people starting up webdesign businesses.
  9. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    Time is the most precious commodity on earth. Don't shortchange yourself. :)
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    that's really high, imo. i'd say $5-10/mo, since hosting is such an abundant commodity these days.

    however, regarding pricing yourself and your skills, i agree that you should go high. one thing i learned through my years of consulting: the more you charge, the more you're respected.

    it's so true that, at one client, i raised my rates 30% after a year. not only did they pay it, they took me more seriously after the raise. same me, same service, new rate. go figure.
  11. ihobbit macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2006
    Hello there,

    I'm the Executive and Creative Director at If I were you, I would likely charge approximately $600-$800 for a website like BNW Consultants site, plus $100 per year for hosting and domain. I hope this info is helpful.

    Great work BTW!

  12. thevessels thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2004
    thanks alot , and it was very helpful .
    i think since these are people i know and im starting off i'm gonna charge 400-500 plus $50-100 a year for host/domain .. thanks for the input guys
  13. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Wow, great...another wanna-be website designer. Just what the world needs. Your first mistake is posting on the Mac Rumors forum. Why not a website design forum where you'll get honest answers? Anyhow, since I happened by your post, while reading up on the latest Mac equipment rumors... I'll try to be nice and answer a couple of your questions.

    First off, you don't just make a website and then go to the client and say, "How do you like it? Ok, that will be $600..." There are certain procedures you should follow if you are going to do this professionally.

    Some questions. Did you negotiate your fees BEFORE starting work? Did you get an idea of their budget prior to jumping in? Did you plan the structure that would allow for what their current and future needs are? Did you involve them in the process? Did they decide on using Flash or is that something YOU thought would be "fun" to do? Why did you use Flash? Nothing against Flash (I'm a Flash developer myself) but the site you made didn't need to be done in Flash. Not only that, you screwed up by using Flash because of the search engines can't properly index the primary content.

    Have you any professional experience? If not, you are sure to fail, or get so burn't out when you realize you are in over your head.

    Before you go out there selling your services, you need to decide on some prices and build your portfolio. The website you showed is just "ok." Sorry, but I think you should just give it to them at cost and use it for your portfolio.

    If you just throw stuff like logos, graphics and site content in (where did you get the photo of the anntenna?) you will go broke. Normally logo design is priced separate. Same thing with photos and copyright images.

    What to charge? Figure out how many hours it will take you, add additional time for meetings, multiply by your hourly rate, add in cost of images x percentage markup. Add in monthly expenses divided by billable hours. Then you will come up with a general price. Then you'll have to decide if your work is good enough to charge that much, or if the market in your area can bear it. Chances are, you'll be lucky enough to make minimum wage.

    I could go on and on... the bottom line is that you need to know what you are doing, and how to charge, if your going to turn it into a legitimate business. Take a class. Volunteer at a design agency. Read a book on web design business. But whatever you do, make sure you know what your doing or you're just going to adding the already cluttered World Wide Web.
  14. Dunepilot macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2002
    You managed to be nice and answer some of his questions, but you seem particularly negative in the way that you answered them. Any particular reason?
  15. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    I would have to agree with the guy above about using Flash. Its nice but not desirable unless there is a companion HTML site to mirror it.

    Learn about web standard, dont ever touch PHP and you should be fine. If you like Flash, learn it inside out. There is a lot of cash to be made with Flash but not the way you are using it! I can do the same with the javascript prototype/scriptaculous lib. Flash should be used for timeline driven animation and dynamic stuff (even then, AJAX is better).

    You best bet is to find a programmer friend (Java or Ruby on Rails preferably) and do the graphical aspect of his applications / website. You will get less money but it is easy money and fun.

    Also, start working on building yourself a set of pictures you can use (for which you own the copyright) and do the same for buttons, icons, etc. If you own the copyright of all the pictures on the site, you can charge the clients for it.

    All the web apps that I create use the same icons. Took me a while to create them but now I have icons to cover most of my needs. Totaly worth it! I just have to change the colors and bingo!

    Finally, the questions you ask show that you dont know the market, so you should not go there alone. As I said, work for someone else, or go at a design shop. Working for friends is OK, but dont expect to charge pro rates. I charge 115$/h when doing consulting. The client isnt paying that much for my work, they are mostly paying for all the experience I got with my previous clients and projects, how professional I look and the fact that they can count on me. These are the important things in the corporate world. They cant assess the quality of my code or how neat it is, but when I sit and talk with them, they know they are in capable hands. Clients are paying for security, they dont want to worry about their project. Give them that peace of mind and you are on your way to success.

    Hope this helped!
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    just curious -- what's wrong with php?
  17. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    I dont want to start a flamewar about PHP so I will keep it short:

    - it encourage bad programming practice
    - the code is impossible to maintain

    Of course, PHP is easy to learn and that is why it is so bad. Anyone can make a PHP app, and that is why so many sites have security issues or bugs (especialy forums).

    Java is a nice step foward, there are some very good framework (Struts, etc..). It is structured and guide you toward good design.

    Ruby on Rails (RoR) is the best (IMHO). The framework is built fromt he ground up to make webapp, there is a clear distinction between the MCV parts, it encourage automated testing, etc... Oh, and it is super elegant!!! The downside is that is not easy. As every good thing in life, you have to work to master it ( I am still far from it!), but even at about 20% of using all of its features, I am more productive than when I was a Java dev. This thing is awesomely fast! I am doing a quick prototype right now and if it wasnt of all the time spent on debuging CSS, my app would have been cerated in less than 1/10 of the time I would have used to do it in Java, and that is including the unit tests! Anohter great thing is that the dev team around RoR are mac users so we have all the great tools needed for dev, tests and deployment in the box.

    Finaly, to bash some more on PHP, the reason I dispise it so much is that I work with a lot of people who use PHP at work. These guys are good PHP programmers. Yet, everytime there is a bug in their apps, patch it in a very non elegant way that make it even harder to debug the next day. One day, the code will colapse on itself and the app will never be able to be resurected. Development is suppposed to be fun, so you better start with the right language and that is Ruby or at worst Java. And dont even get me started on .Net...

    Took me about 20 hours to move from java to Rails, and about 40 more to be able to code without lookig at the documentation / API. I just wish there was a IDE with code hinting...

    Visit: and see for yourself!
  18. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    i've not (yet) checked it out, but i've heard good things about it. maybe i'll redo my band's website in that instead of mambo/joomla.

    there's always a fine line between blaming tools (php) and blaming developers (php developers). fwiw, i programmed professionally for over a decade, and i've observed that some people can't program (and indeed, shouldn't) regardless of technology. i've also seen people who can turn out working, understandable and maintainable code regardless of what mess has been dumped in their lap.

    that said, after having done a few sites in php now, i see where one can go very wrong with it.
  19. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    Thing is maintainability over time. PHP code is a mess, no matter how you look at it, there are DB calls right in the middle of the page. Of course it is possible do to the same in Java, but it is more frequent in PHP because of how easy it is to do.

    I am a strong believer of strong - hard entry barrier. It keeps the idiots out ;-)

    Check the video on the RoR site and you will understand why there is such a hype around RoR.
  20. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    i checked out the blog video. cool stuff. not sure what i was expecting, but it wasn't something which embraces MVC to the point of the console being just another controller.

    i'll definitely have to look into this more. thanks for the link.
  21. thevessels thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2004
    yeah totally did , thanks ,
    and i know i totally got an ass load of learning ahead of me , being the depths of coding and such . but your advice was encouraging ! thanks man


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