How Much Should I Charge?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by hulugu, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    quae tangit perit Trump
    I'm about to start building a small site for local architects, however I have no idea what to charge.
    The site will be primarily photos with a relatively simple link structure.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    You need to charge in relation to the amount of time and effort you think it'll take, and add on any extra charges you're likely to encounter. Figure out how many hours you think it'll take, how much you think you deserve an hour, and do it that way. You can always inform the customer that your final bill will be +/- 10% of your quote depending on how it goes.

    Just don't be greedy :)
  3. barneygumble macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2005
    A quote is a quote precisly becasue that is what your bill will be, changing a quoted price simply shouldn't happen unless the scope changes:p
  4. theappleguy macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2005
    It really depends on how much work it is going to be and how skilled you need to be to do it. Determine how many hours you think it will take and then determine a reasonable rate per hour. eg. 100 hours x $20/hour = $2000 for the site. If it is the first time you are designing a site for someone else, then it is probably best to under sell yourself until you have built up a portfolio. :)
  5. hulugu thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    quae tangit perit Trump
    That's good advice, I'm fairly new to the business and I want to build my portfolio, but I don't want to work for free per se.

    How long does it typically take to build a website? Do you have a general average?
  6. ThunderLounge macrumors 6502


    Sep 20, 2006

    If you're having to ask these questions, then your end result is going to be a rather low price.

    I could be very wrong, but here is what my assumptions are based on what you have written so far. This isn't personal, as everyone has to start somewhere. But at the same time, you'll need to understand that your end result will be very different than that of someone with much greater experience.

    1) You'll be using software to generate the pages.

    2) Pages may not be standards compliant, or cross-browser compliant.

    3) You may have "tinkered" around with a few basic pages, but actual design (both visual and underlying code) experience is extremely limited.

    To be honest, from your shoes I wouldn't punch much over $50 a page, maybe a little less. Regardless of time consumed. Most likely you'll be learning as you go, and a client shouldn't be charged for your learning curve.

    Reasons for this would be mainly a lack of experience, and therefore the end resulting product will not be as well crafted as from a professional designer.

    Again, it's not personal. Everyone has to start somewhere, and at one time was sitting with a page full of code going... OK, WTF now? Even Zeldman and Meyer had to start somewhere. We all did.

    IMHO, the best thing you could do with this situation, is simply learn from it. Don't be greedy, and definitely undersell in comparison to anyone else out there. If the site is 10 pages or less, I personally wouldn't recommend anything over $500.

    This way the client isn't paying an outrageos price for a site by someone without much experience, if they find in the long run they need a professional solution they aren't out much from the experience, and at the same time you get the benefit of something for the new portfolio and some on the job training as well.

    This way, everybody wins.

    As you build your portfolio, you can slowly start to charge a little more. Also, never stop learning. There's always something new to learn out there. Make it a daily or weekly ritual to spend at least an hour learning something.

    First, is obviously HTML and CSS. Next would be (x)HTML, Php, and MySQL.

    Personally, I'd shy away from ASP and .NET, mainly because it's M$ crap, and not every server out there can run it. Php/MySQL can work on *nix, and win platforms, and the client won't need to pay for anything extra to run the site (like MSSQL, etc).

    Learn the right way the first time, and get very comfy with web standards. The W3C is your friend. ;)

    Final shot, remember:

    Tables are for tabular data, not layouts!
  7. hulugu thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    quae tangit perit Trump

    I've designed pages before, but I don't want to charge based on how long it will take me, but rather a reasonable average. Essentially, I want to undersell as much as possible, but I don't want it to be free (especially because once you do something for free, it becomes harder to charge later.)

    I'm reading the O'Reilly books, and don't worry I'll be testing the site against W3C standards and several browsers to make sure it's lean, done right, and hopefully easy to update and extend later.

    I just don't know what is a reasonable amount of time. I'm considering a low-hourly rate at $15 per hour at 40 hours for 9+/- pages or $600.
  8. ThunderLounge macrumors 6502


    Sep 20, 2006

    For this level of work, and taking your experience level into account, that would be OK.

    I wouldn't worry about an hourly rate though. I mean, it's OK for you to consider it at least in part to get an idea, but you really don't want to get into a deal where you would say $X per hour with an estimate of 40 hours, and then have it come out at $80.

    You're not really underselling, though. You're simply charging based on your experience level. It's a tough market to break into, but I'm sure you know that.

    Just remember, there's always going to be some jackass out there with FrontPage that is willing to sell really cheap. At some point in time you'll lose a bid out to one of these freaks. Keep your head up, and know you're doing good work.

    I've lost jobs in that fashion, we all do. The quotes are very fair, but then comes along a jackass with FP and at 1/4 the cost. Most people needing a site don't necessarily understand the concept, but that's just life. When it happens, keep track. Some of those lost sales will come back around when they realize their site ranks poorly in the SE's for any key term, someone complains that it's not standards compliant and their screen reader can't read it, or they just wake up and realize that their competitor down the street did it right the first time and is killing them with their site.

    Some good references, if you're not familiar with them:

    - A List Apart (

    - Vitamin (

    - Zeldman (

    - Meyer (

    and when you need a laugh:

    - Kevin (
  9. BRUUUCE macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2006
    your telling him to charge 50 dollars a page and he barely knows HTML !??!?! where do you live and who is paying these prices?

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