Like any entrepreneur, when you start a web design business, pricing your services can be difficult. What’s worse is that when you do some research about what your competitors charge, you’ll quickly realize that rates tend to be all over the map. And all that can leave you wondering one very important question: how much should you charge for website design and maintenance?
In general, you should plan to charge between $75 and $200 per hour for website design/development, and between $75 and $125 for website maintenance. When pricing your services you should factor in your overhead, the type of website, the complexity of the project, and your skill level/experience.
Now, I realize that is a pretty wide range.
But pricing your website design and maintenance services adequately is the key to ensuring you make a healthy profit.
And, like any new business, it can take some time to find your sweet spot.
Fortunately, in this guide, we’re going to lay out all the factors and considerations you should take into account when deciding how much to charge for website design services.
We’ll also cover a few other important factors to consider, including different ways to charge clients and how much to charge for website maintenance.
How Much It Costs You To Build a Website?
One of the most important steps to take when coming up with your pricing is to figure out how much it costs you to build a website for your client.
Like any profitable business, you need to understand the cost of materials and labor that go into creating that product.
And in the end, the price of your website design services must be high enough to offset the money and time it took you to build it.
On the other hand, if you price your services too high, you’ll risk losing sales to your competitors.
It can be tough to know how much to charge for website design because of the wide range of website types and platforms.
For instance, do-it-yourself website builders like SquareSpace allow users to create websites for less than $20 per month. Some agencies, however, will charge upwards of $30,000 to create a custom website for clients.
Before you set your prices, consider your expenses.
At a minimum, website costs will include the price of a domain name and a hosting service. You may also need to use premium themes, plugins, security features, and more.
Then, factor in the amount of time it will likely take you to complete a project and decide on your minimum acceptable hourly rate.
This will provide a decent starting place for you to start structuring your pricing.
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3 Ways To Charge For Website Design And Maintenance
There is no set rule for how you go about charging your website design clients. Every pricing structure has its upsides and downsides, but learning about these different methods will help you decide which one is right for your business.
You have the option to charge clients based on an hourly rate, a flat rate, or a monthly rate.
If you decide to bill clients hourly, you’ll need to set a monetary value for each hour of work you put into a project.
Then, after you’ve completed the project, you’ll bill the client for the total number of hours you’ve worked.
So, what should your hourly rate be? It depends on who you ask. Sources like Upwork say freelance rates range between $15 and $30 an hour. However, I personally know many skilled freelance website designers that charge upwards of $150 per hour.
There are many advantages to using an hourly rate pricing model for your services.
One such advantage is that most clients understand and expect this form of payment. You put in a set number of hours at an agreed-upon rate, and they pay you for your time.
This method also removes a lot of the guesswork when it comes to setting your prices, as you be able to charge for the exact amount of time you spend on each project.
As an added note, if you choose to implement an hourly rate, remember to diligently track the time you spend working on the project with a time tracker in case your client asks for it.
Charging a flat rate for web design and development is another great way to go.
You can even choose a tiered pricing model with different packages and flat rates that depend on website types.
Just like hourly rates, flat rates can vary greatly.
For instance, as a freelance web developer, you might start out charging between $1,500 and $5,000 per website. However, as you gain more experience and as your client base grows, you can end up charging significantly more than that.
These rates aren’t an exact science. Rather, you just have to test the market, compare your rates to your competition, and provide a high-quality service. Eventually, you will get a feel for how much you should charge for web design, development and maintenance.
To create a flat rate for your website design business, focus on the value a website provides for your clients.
When you charge a flat rate, the major difference from charging an hourly rate is that the value of the end result is not measured by the number of hours it took you to create it.
Therefore, you will need to help your client understand that they’re paying for the outcome, not your time.
The good news is, the more your client understands the value of the result you’re providing for them, the more you can charge. If you can frame your service as one that will give your client a significant ROI, they’ll be much more inclined to invest.
Another advantage of charging an hourly rate is that it’s typically easier to sell websites for a set price.
A flat rate will allow you to “productize” your service, meaning it will be much easier for potential clients to gain a clear understanding of how much it will cost them to hire you.
Your flat rate will provide a basic formula for how to charge clients for website design, so you won’t have to calculate custom quotes for every client.
This is a great way to keep your pricing transparent and predictable.
Another way you can charge for your services is with a monthly rate. In this method, you charge a flat rate for a recurring website design and maintenance service.
This method comes with many of the same advantages as charging a flat rate. It also has the added bonus of allowing you to retain clients over the long-term, and thus, develop a reliable stream of income for your business.
In which scenarios would you charge a monthly rate?
Well, in many cases, new business owners DIY their websites in an attempt to keep costs low. They may try to create their site using a beginner-friendly CMS and then come to realize they’re unable to make their site look the way they want.
And that’s where you come in.
Rather than charging them for a full rebuild, you could offer to fulfill all of your clients’ ongoing website needs for a set monthly fee.
However, before you decide to offer monthly rates, it’s important that you define which exact services are included for clients who pay monthly.
Some of your monthly services could include routine updates, hosting management, website maintenance, design changes, feature expansions, and regular design audits.
Your client will have the peace of mind knowing their website is always up-to-date and in good hands, and they won’t have to worry about the high cost of a website redevelopment.
5 Factors That Influence How Much To Charge For Website Design Services
Now that you understand some of the different methods you can choose when charging for a website, let’s discuss some important factors to consider when deciding your rates.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much to charge for website design.
Rather, your rate will likely depend on some or all of the following key considerations.
1. The Type Of Website
As you probably already know, different types of websites take vastly different amounts of time and effort to create.
For instance, building a small personal blog with a minimalist design requires a lot less skill than designing a full ecommerce website for a business.
On the other hand, creating a membership website complete with features like payment gateways and shopping cart functionality will demand a lot of your time and expertise.
Thankfully, clients who need these types of websites will likely have larger budgets than a blogger who’s just starting out.
You may be able to price your website design services more easily if you categorize different types of websites into a few main boxes.
Ultimately, the more features and extra functionalities a site needs, the more you can charge for it.
2. Your Target Niche
When setting your pricing, it’s important to identify your target niche (i.e. your ideal customer).
Since there are many different types of people and businesses who need websites, and they all have their own budget sizes, the niche you serve can have a major impact on how much you charge.
Plus, it’s typically much easier to grow a website design business if you focus on serving a specific niche or industry.
Because after you have a few projects under your belt, you’ll start to benefit from word-of-mouth advertising within that particular industry.
Also, businesses in certain industries pay better than others. For example, real estate agents and finance bloggers probably won’t have as much to spend on a website as an ecommerce brand or an established retailer.
You may want to start out by getting experience building websites in a lower-paying niche, and then you could move up to higher-paying industries.
3. Your Skill Level And Experience
Your portfolio, client testimonials, and past projects will go a long way in marketing your business to potential clients.
And the more experience you have designing websites, the more trust you’ll be able to establish with prospective buyers.
Like any career, if you want to charge higher rates for website design, make sure you’re taking steps to improve your skills. Because the more advanced your skills are, the more you can charge.
And seriously, once you have a body of excellent work to showcase to prospective clients, you’ll be able to justify much higher rates.
4. Project Scope
As any experienced web designer will tell you, website projects have a way of spiraling into much more work than a client originally requested.
If you’re charging an hourly rate, this may not be a problem.
But if you’re charging a flat rate, it’s vitally important to define the scope of each project in your contract, and then charge an hourly rate for any out-of-scope work you do.
Remember, the scope of each project will greatly impact the amount of work you’ll need to put into it, and therefore, the compensation you should receive.
5. Value Of A Website To Your Client’s Business
One of the biggest factors that determines how much to charge for website design is how much your client values a website and recognizes what it can do for their business.
As a website designer, it’s your job to help your client understand the impact a website will have on their business goals and revenue.
You’ll be able to charge much more for a website that actively grows a business’s number of leads than you would for a site that’s a static, digital business card.
Therefore, in your sales process, do your best to highlight the value a website will add to your client’s business.
Deciding How Much To Charge For Website Design And Maintenance
Your business is unique, and your revenue model is no different.
Therefore, just because a competitor charges a particular rate, doesn’t mean you have to charge the same.
Rather, you should consider your time, skill-level, the complexity of each project, and the value of your work to your clients’ businesses.
Also, remember that your rates can and will evolve as your business grows!
And the more experience you gain, the further you develop your skills, and the better your portfolio gets, the more you will be able to charge.
The only question left is, how much will you charge for website design and development?