How much should you charge for your freelance website design work? Getting clients to phone you up, or sending out a mass email, can be quite a daunting task. Often we end up charging too little for our services and losing potential business. Be sure that you’re charging enough for your work, tools, and expertise.
That is one of the most common questions I hear and everybody has a different answer. There are many factors like experience, location, your client’s budget, and more than dictate what you should charge. In this article, I will give you basic guidelines as well as some tips on how to come up with a good price.
1. Figure Out What You Need To Charge To Be Profitable
The first thing to do is to figure out what your expenses are, so you know the absolute minimum you need to charge in order to be profitable.
Your expenses include:
Cost of living. This includes mortgage/rent, utilities, food, entertainment, and any other costs associated with living where you choose to live. You’ll want to include a “savings” line item here so that you can put some money away for retirement or savings each month.
Taxes (including self-employment tax). Self-employment tax is 15.3% of the first $118,500 you make plus 2.9% of anything over that amount (it’s reduced slightly if your business is incorporated).
I’m no tax expert, but keep in mind that this is a pretty high rate! Just remember that only about half of what people pay in taxes actually reaches the government the rest goes toward paying interest on our national debt and other things along those lines so don’t worry about it too much.
Business overhead (rent/utilities for office space if applicable). If your business has an office separate from your house then add those rent and utility payments into this line item as well as any other expenses related to running your business like phone bills or web hosting fees. I’d recommend having a home office at first since it will reduce initial overhead costs quite a bit!
2. The State Of The Industry
Today, more and more companies are turning to outside help to solve their problems. The frequency of outsourcing has increased drastically since the 2008 recession. Indeed, it is currently at the highest percentage ever recorded—and the trend shows no sign of stopping.
The rise in outsourcing can be attributed in part to a changing economy, which has forced businesses to adapt how they operate. But there are other factors at play: for one, technology has improved dramatically over the past decade.
Nowadays, you can meet with clients from all over the world without leaving your desk chair. You also don’t need an expensive office or a secretary anymore; freelancing allows people who want creative control over their work environment to thrive in their own home office or even a co-working space that costs less than traditional commercial rental rates.
Across the board, we’ve seen an increased demand for freelancers today—both among hiring managers and would-be freelancers themselves.
3. A Historical Look At The Salaries Of Layout Artists And Graphic Designers
As a layout artist, you’ll make more than your counterparts with less experience in the field. If you were to compare that with other fields, you’d find that the salary for an entry-level position is comparable to most job titles at that level. But as you gain experience, you’ll start to see your salary rise faster than others.
The current median salary for a graphic designer is $50k per year. That’s right around the national average rate of pay for jobs in America today.
Below are some of the averages across America by state:
New York (NY): $52K /year
California (CA): $52K /year
Illinois (IL): $50K /year
4. Your Value As A Freelance Web Designer – Personas
So you know who you are as a professional web designer, but what about the competition? What can other professionals in your field charge for their time and how do they position themselves with their clients?
The answer to all of these questions requires that you take a step back and look at yourself and your own work in the context of the lives of all those around you. In this case, it may be useful to think about your work as something more than just work. Your web design services are actually products that consumers purchase. The people and companies who buy your services are consumers, or rather: personas.
Personas are fictional representations of the most important segments within a market. Personas help companies get inside the heads of their customers, understand them better and then make better product decisions that satisfy customer needs more effectively.
In order to create powerful personas for yourself, you need to give them characteristics that allow them to represent real types of people found within your market for web design services.
5. What Benefits Do You Offer?
This is your opportunity to stand out from the competition. A competitive advantage differentiates you from other freelancers because it provides something that your client can’t get elsewhere.
How do you determine what your competitive advantage is? Think about what you have to offer that your competitors don’t. I have a design aesthetic that’s unique and stands out in my market; I’m also good at writing and can create copy for clients’ landing pages as part of their marketing strategy.
Here are some examples of competitive advantages:
You’re an expert in a particular area so you know how to solve problems quickly. The coding work will be done much faster than any other freelancer on the market, which means the client saves time and money by hiring you.
You offer services that no one else does or they’re unique in some way. For example, perhaps you provide copywriting or social media management services as part of your web design package, or maybe you throw in a free consultation every quarter to keep them updated on what’s new with their website (and help them avoid losing traffic when Google updates its algorithm). This benefits the client because they don’t have to pay extra for these services if another freelancer doesn’t offer them—cost savings for sure!
6. Who Is Your Competition?
It is important to understand who you’re competing against. This can be other freelancers, agencies, or in-house designers. It could be people who are local or global. They might be in the same niche as you, or they might specialize in something different entirely. They may be cheaper than you, or more expensive. Their skills and services may be better than yours, but it’s also possible that your work far exceeds theirs.
The point is to know who your competitors are and what they do well (and not so well). This information can help guide your own decision-making process when it comes to establishing your rates, determining which clients to pursue and how much time (and money) each client is worth investing in.
7. How Much Are Freelancers Charging For Web Design Services?
Okay, so in the world of Web design, to charge a client more is “unprofessional.” Hanging out with other Web designers? That’s totally fine and even expected. But when it comes to charging clients, suddenly it seems unethical (explain why).
There is no industry standard for you to work from as far as how much to charge — some people charge $30 an hour while others are charging $80. Find out how much your colleagues charge and then work out what rate would be ideal for your freelance business.
You want to charge enough that will enable you to earn enough money but still leave the prospective person with a good deal overall.
Some web designers prefer to charge per project: they will do a project for a certain price and then offer that same rate when that particular work is done again.
8. Can You Easily Be Replaced?
This is boring, but an important one. It’s about competition and demand for what you do. If you’re a young freelancer fresh out of college, or someone new to the industry, then there’s a good chance you can’t charge your clients as much as someone with more experience working on projects for bigger clients. You have less experience and less of a reputation to prove that you’re worth what you charge.
And if there are lots of other experienced designers in your area ready to take on work at a lower price, then it’ll be tough to win over clients willing to pay higher prices than they can get elsewhere.
The amount of time and energy you’ve got available also matters. If you don’t need the money (you’ve got rich parents or a trust fund) or if you’ve got enough work coming in from full-time employment, then perhaps all that matters is how much extra cash you want/need on top of your salary.
9. Calculate Expenses Related To Running Your Business
As you figure out your rates, keep in mind that your revenue is only part of the story. Once you’re bringing in money, you need to cover any expenses related to running your business as well as taxes.
The easiest way to make sure you’re accounting for both of these things is to keep separate tracking of your business and personal finances:
Keep track of all your expenses. It’s important to know how much money you spend on things like software, office supplies, or other services related to running a web design business. This will help show you how much overhead you have so that when it comes time to calculate a price for a project, you know what profit margin works for your business.
Make sure you have enough money set aside for taxes. When tax time rolls around, are you going to be prepared? Or does the idea of filing taxes make sweat drip down your back and send chills up your spine?
The last thing you want is an unexpected tax bill or fees from the IRS because it’s not fun receiving surprise expenses from the government! No matter if this is your first year freelancing or if this is just another year of freelancing under your belt, be sure that when making decisions about budgeting and pricing, always account for taxes.
10. How Long Does It Take You To Create A Website?
It depends. The length of time it takes me to create a website depends on the size and scope of the project, as well as how much I know about your business and your goals for the site.
If you’re looking for something simple, like a one-page website with some basic information and an email signup form, I can probably get that done in a day or two.
However, if you want something more complicated—maybe you’re looking for an e-commerce website or an interactive landing page that includes banner ads—then it will take me longer to do my research and plan out those elements.
The amount you charge for freelance work is one of the most common questions and concerns you’ll face in the field.
However, the answer to this question is far from simple – there are countless factors to take into account, such as your past experience, your current reputation, and how much work you’re truly willing to do.
Remember that if you charge too little, you’ll be seen as less valuable by clients. However, if you charge too much, it could make it difficult for you to find clients who are willing to pay as well as lead to a decline in your repeat business. Think about what you’re worth and what prices similar designers are charging their clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Some Considerations When Deciding What To Charge?
What skills do you have? This can include things like knowing how to code in HTML and CSS, or having an eye for good graphic design. If you have certifications or degrees related to web design, those can be considered as well. A person who knows only basic coding may not be able to command the same price as someone who knows how to write complex code.
How many clients have you worked with before? If this is your first time doing web design work, it would likely be wise to charge less than if you had done a lot of previous work in the field.
How long will this project take? Ultimately, you are charging by the hour (whether it’s on an hourly or per-project basis), so it’s important to consider how much time you’ll need to complete the project.
Where Do I Start?
First things first: decide what kind of website you want to create. Are you looking for a personal blog? A simple landing page? Or maybe something more complex like an e-commerce site or an online portfolio? Once you know what it is that you want, you can start thinking about what exactly that means in terms of design elements and features.
How Long Will It Take Me To Get Started?
We recommend starting right away! It’s never too early in the process to begin thinking about your website’s design needs, especially since there are so many different things that go into creating one from scratch:
Do I Need A Contract?
First, you should always have a contract. It’s important to spell out the terms of the agreement between you and your client, to make sure everyone knows what they’re getting into and what they need to do to get paid.
A contract is also a way for you to let them know what your minimum standards are—that way, they don’t expect you to work for free or undervalue your work.
How Can I Make Sure That Clients Pay Me On Time? Or At All?
It’s important to have a contract in place when you begin working with a client, and it’s also important that you have a system in place that lets you track your time. If your client is taking longer than expected to pay you, try sending an email or making a phone call to see if they are able to speed up the process.
What If Something Goes Wrong With My Project?
The answer is: it depends. It depends on how much your freelance web design project costs, and it also depends on how much time you want to spend on the project.
If you ask for too little money, then you’re likely to get someone who doesn’t care about your project and won’t put in the effort needed to do a good job. If you ask for too much money, then people will be scared away by the price and won’t even consider hiring you.
If you have a solid portfolio, don’t be afraid to ask for a higher rate than other freelancers might charge. People are willing to pay more if they know they’re getting quality work—and as long as your portfolio shows that quality work, then you should feel comfortable asking for what you deserve!