Website Pricing?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by ericp99, May 31, 2013.

  1. ericp99 macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2013
    Hello guys, I've read this forum for a while, and decided to join. How much would you guys think is reasonable to charge a real estate company to design a website? Don't have all the details yet, but I think it will mostly be information about the company and the houses, with some contact info for the agents (nothing to fancy). I'm a high school student, and have a friend who would help me and we're going to split the money. Thanks!
  2. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    That's a really tough question. Cost is relative to experience and skill. Here's a simple formula: determine how much your time is worth per hour and multiple it by the number of hours you think it will take to create a real estate site. That is how much you should charge.

    Over time your skills will grow, as will your worth per hour, you will become much faster and will charge the same price for less work.

    Just make sure you get them to sign a contract with exactly what they expect you to do for the price you choose. Most often beginning web developers get stuck in the 'forever' site, where they continue to work for free long after the site initial requirements are filled.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes or ask us for any help.
  3. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    Read carefully and completely before responding:

    As to rate, according to the national average for "web designer" is $58k per year. From this you can loosely extrapolate, using a 40 hour work week, that the average national hourly rate for web design is between $27-30. However, don't tell the client that just yet! This number can vary greatly depending on these critical factors:

    • Job Title
    • Skill Level (Junior, Senior)
    • Age
    • Experience
    • Region (oh so important, your location)

    Not to mention if you're going to theme, create modules in an open source CMS, do server side/web hosting/DNS setup, design from scratch, database implementation, initial content entry, session/login, SEO, etc. I mean, just changing "designer" to "developer" (i.e. back end coding/database involved on a dynamic site) increases the average national base salary to $75k without any of the above factors taken into consideration.

    So this can get real confusing, fast.

    My advice is to visit this page:

    But --- add in your location at minimum, also try correcting the job title and by adding keywords that best describe what you're going to actually do and use that to create a sensible range. Go towards the lower half for simple static web pages, middle if a simply using open source CMS, higher if doing back end work, database, on top of all that. Get the idea?

    For comparison, do the same on your local Craig's List just to see how others are charging, but only use it (like findings) as one source, not THE source. Just like the advice offered here as one source.

    There is no perfect number, and without knowing your direct experience or tasks involved, alwats include some wiggle room in your rate to account for mistakes, but keep within the overall range as I noted above if you "need" to be competitive. The purpose of my reply is NOT to act as a numbers guide nor is it intended for DIY's or one-timers who want fast and easy money and could care less about reputation ("need"). So this is a "professional" oriented response even for High Schoolers doing their first or only gig. This is also so many more may come your way as you start your portfolio -- by doing it "right". Understand?

    As noted by 960design, get it in writing and if you have to work late at night then so be it, do it, but don't punish the client for your lack of experience on the first couple of gigs. If the client varies from the contract in a major way, you are protected and you'll save everyone stress if you mediate a change and again put that in writing.

    I hope this helps you and others a little, by no means do I claim the advice offered here is the only way to determine rate -- wait for other replies, but this advice is a great foundation or stepping stone to ensuring you're not way off in your basic rate. That's why I posted this - to get the conversation started, to get you thinking.


  4. soupmix macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2011
    El Paso, TX
    Part of it depends on how much you do in development, part of it depends on how much it's worth to the client. If they are going to be making hundreds of millions (exaggeration in this case) then you wouldn't charge them $100.

    Figure out how much work is going to go into it. Are they needing to be able to add properties themselves? Are they going to need to be able to sort and filter by different criteria? What all do they need to be able to do? Will they need to be able to pull in data from MLS?

    From there, decide on your back end. Don't try to just have a static HTML site with a project like this; leverage the power of a CMS. I am a fan of WordPress but there are many CMSs out there that will do the trick.

    Beyond that, if you're working with someone else, remember that you should make sure to charge enough to cover both of y'all's work.

    Also remember that your work is worth real money - don't be afraid to charge what might at this point seem like way too much money at this point in your life. I remember being afraid to charge $400 - at this point my average website starts at $2,400 and goes up from there and even then I'm seriously considering upping my prices.

    Lastly, like the others have said - GET IT IN WRITING! Cover your butt and make sure that everything you do is in there. Also, make sure to cover your expectations of the client in there as well. Sometimes a client will drag their feet and then you can't finish the project; if you have a time deadline that you can't meet because they drug their feet and you didn't cover that in the contract, you could be out of luck.

    Good luck!
  5. ericp99, Jun 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013

    ericp99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2013
    First, thank you for the responses, they are very helpful. I would just like to add that my "region" is the Bay Area, California. My friend and I are only in high school, so I have to take that into account. I was considering around $400, so my cut would be $200, but i'm afraid that I may be asking for to much. At my age, anything I get is great, as I can use it to help pay for things like computer equipment and software. Am I "more valuable" because I have a 2-person team? By the way, for hosting I was looking at this company: $15 a month plan). Anyone have any experience with them?


    They are a local company, so I don't imagine they make a ton of money.
  6. soupmix macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2011
    El Paso, TX

    I've never used them, however I can recommend MediaTemple. Get one of their (gs) accounts. It's a little more ($20) but I've had nothing but good experiences with them (even at 2 AM!).

    $200 sounds like a lot, but in all honesty, they would be getting a huge bargain paying $400 for a website, even if y'all are in high school, unless you are talking straight static pages (which I wouldn't recommend). But here's the tradeoff - if you charge more, make sure that you deliver everything you promise and more. If you have the ability to add in a little extra something that will help them (obviously not "Oh hey, we threw in a plastic chair as well" - it's extra but not really helpful with their website), then all the better. As far as pricing, the rule of thumb I've heard is that if 50% of people aren't saying your prices are too high, then they are probably too low.

    With regard to 2 people vs. 1, most companies don't really care how many people you have, it's more about what you can do for them. A company with 40 inexperienced people would probably not get the job over a company of 4 rock star developers.
  7. ericp99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2013
    soupmix- thanks for the recommendation, I think i'll go with them. In regards to pricing, do you think that i'm charging to little at $400? What would you expect to pay two high schoolers to do a website?
  8. soupmix macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2011
    El Paso, TX
    First thing, I would not market yourselves as two high schoolers. You are developers who make websites - age has nothing to do with it.

    Second, not knowing how good you are, I don't have a firm number for you. However let me ask it this way: if you were to take age out of the equation, how good are y'all? What are you worth? Are you going to be doing a website that would look like a high schooler did it? Or are you going to be deliberate and professional, delivering a website that is standards based, beautifully designed, and well thought out? Don't sell yourself short, but at the same time be honest with yourself about your abilities.

    What you might do is find two or three designers in the area that have similar skills as you and find out what they charge. You don't have to charge what they do, but it might give you an idea what the market is for your location; then go from there.
  9. SrWebDeveloper, Jun 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013

    SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    That's right.

    My reply was all about "comparison" to determine your rate -- "per hour". As to fixed price contracts, i.e. the $400.00 the OP noted here, all I can say about that is people like me are hired to come in and clean up the mess on many of those situations! This is because in the real world things go wrong, as they do on any job, but in a fixed budget there is no wiggle room built in to properly handle things going wrong or add on services even if they go right. So someone loses, usually the contractor, either working for free or getting fired or losing friends in the process. High Schooler or not, none of this is good.

    As to "am I charging too much at $400.00" the answer is simple:

    1) Itemize and list all tasks and level of effort (hours to complete, estimated)
    2) Multiple hours by hourly rate (see my previous post)
    3) Set start/end date
    *4) Get approval in writing before starting

    Download an example web designer contract and example proposal:

    Then YOU are responsible to complete all obligations as stated in the contract.

    *You do not need to reveal all the tiny details/tasks, just try to think of all the steps you'll take and LOE and list only the major milestones in the actual contract.
  10. 960design, Jun 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013

    960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    I do not have any experience with them. I recommend googling something like best web hosting 2013 and reading some of the reviews. The top tier hosting companies are there for a reason and usually have ridiculously low priced 'welcome' plans.

    I'm not sure how to answer that, we don't know exactly what the client expects. Real estate sites are fairly easy to setup if you use a CMS like wordpress. Agents come and go, so you want it fairly easy for the non webby people to be able to change, you also want them to be able to add, edit and delete properties; contact page, media ( property pictures ) uploading, google map routing to property location, ect.

    You can get really high tech and create 3D virtual walkthroughs (think 1st person shooter without the gun), 3D printed models of the house, or even more amazing things that are currently in the patent shop.

    If they expect you to do it all, make sure it's in the contract and charge them per hour or property for your work.
  11. soupmix macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2011
    El Paso, TX
    With regards to contracts, you might check out the "Contract Killer" - great, non-legalese contract that's easy to understand.
  12. Mac21ND macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2007
    This is an awesome link. Thanks.
  13. notjustjay, Jun 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013

    notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Some good advice in this thread. I'm not a pro (not in this business anyway) but I do dabble in web hosting as a volunteer project.

    I have a friend who recently became a real estate agent and answered some of her questions about making a website. She wanted it simple and cheap, so I recommended a Wordpress site with a real-estate specific theme (many of these are out there for sale). There are some that will plug right into their property databases so it is easy to keep the site updated with current listing information.

    Since the other guys in this thread have already tackled the subject of cost, let me come at this from a different angle. I've been casually looking for a new house (no rush) so I've popped on and off of a LOT of real estate agent websites. Frankly, a lot of them stink. Some of them have data that is obviously outdated, or a bare minimum copy/paste from their database with no useful information for you. Some of them are functional but just look outdated. Some of them are all flash (a beautiful, graphic-heavy front page with a portrait of the agent, but little else) and no substance.

    Unless the client already has a specific design in mind, I would tackle the problem by looking at the client's competition, taking notes on what you see that is good and what is bad. That will help you determine a set of features/requirements.

    Then look at how difficult it will be to get that done, using the tools of your choice -- CMS? Themes? A COTS product? Hand-code it yourself? This in turn will help you figure out how long you think it will take, and that will drive the price you give the client. It will also help you justify the cost. Instead of just saying "I will charge $400" you will be equipped to say "This will require 10 hours of design work, 10 hours of set up work, and the purchase of X, therefore I will charge $400."

    Good luck!
  14. Fergo macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2011
    at home
    Hello ericp99,

    there is an really helpful app for that where you can get some idea of pricing for (graphic) design jobs. In this app you are able to adapt (factor) the fee in terms of usage: if it is an easy job, regional or national, how long it is going to be used and how often it is going to be used.
    There is also a calculator to identify your own hourly rate included and for 1.99 USD its a steal :)
    Oh and I am not affiliated with the makers of the app, was just looking for that kind of information quite a while myself and I found it quite helpful.


    Additional you will find some courses on

  15. Ap0ks macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2008
    Cambridge, UK
    How much does it cost you to live comfortably per year? i.e. housing bills, utility bills, taxes, etc... It may not apply to you now, being in high school, but if you can work out what that would be, then break it down into hours, you'll get a figure that you should be making per hour to keep afloat.

    For example $40k per year, working 50 weeks of the year (taking 2 off for public holidays), 5 days a week of 8 hours you'd need to be making $20 an hour. Since there will be two of you that's $40 per hour before you even consider making a profit.

    Now the above is just an example and possibly overkill for just a one-off project, but if you're considering doing this longer-term then it's a good start.

    If it is just a one off the easiest way to price it up is to consider how much it is going to cost you to develop the website (software/equipment needed, homework missed, hosting costs, etc...) then add a bit of profit on to that figure.

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