How To Get The Most Out Of Your Freelance Web Design Work

If you’re new to freelance web design work, you’re likely feeling a bit overwhelmed. There are so many different things to consider when you’re working for yourself!

Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years that can help make your freelance web design work more fruitful and lucrative:

Money Saving Tips For Freelance Web Designers
Freelance web design work can be lucrative and fulfilling
Building a strong portfolio is essential to attracting clients
Effective communication with clients is key to a successful project
Continuously updating your skills and staying current with industry trends can set you apart from competitors
Networking and building relationships with other freelancers and industry professionals can lead to new opportunities

Have A System For Staying On Top Of Deadlines

There are many apps and software solutions out there to help you stay on top of deadlines. Some will allow you to add tasks, make notes, track time and keep track of each project status. Others will let you set up notifications so that everything is done at the right time. You’ll find a lot of tools out there but it’s best to have a clear idea of what your needs are before committing to any one solution.

Once you’ve found a system that works for you and your workflow, stick with it! It’s important not to get bogged down by too much functionality. Make sure the tool has everything you need without adding too much complexity or distraction. Find something simple yet powerful enough to help keep things organized so they don’t become unmanageable over time.

Looking to take your freelance web design career to the next level? Our article on 22 Expert Tips to Improve Your Web Design Freelancing Career offers valuable insights and advice from industry experts to help you succeed.

Be Upfront About Your Rates

In this industry, it’s standard for designers to charge either an hourly rate or a flat fee for each project. Whichever option you choose, it’s important to know what your time is worth; many web design professionals recommend starting with a baseline of around $50/hour and adjusting from there. 

As with any freelance work, getting paid in full and on time can be a challenge. Be sure to discuss payment terms before you begin working with a client—you may want them to pay half the cost upfront once they sign off on the project brief and final wireframes, and then the remaining balance once the design is complete.

It can be intimidating to see what other freelancers are charging for their services; don’t overthink it! If you’re experienced in your field, don’t be afraid to ask for more than someone who’s just starting out as a web designer.

When you’re first beginning your career as a freelance web designer, it might feel awkward talking about money with potential clients. But remember: if you don’t value your own work enough to talk about money openly, clients will doubt whether they should trust you with their projects!

Starting out as a freelance web designer can be challenging, but following these 19 Rules for Starting Freelance Web Design can help set you up for success and avoid common pitfalls.

Keep An Open Line Of Communication With Clients

You know how it goes: You’re a freelance designer with a client who wants you to build an app. You begin brainstorming, but the client turns out to have very little in mind as far as what they want their app to do. They only have 4 requirements:

  • Be fast
  • Be reliable
  • Be intuitive
  • Be Flexible

Make Sure To Factor In Base Expenses And Benefits When You Quote A Price

Don’t forget about the benefits. When you have a full-time job, your employer pays for things like health insurance and retirement contributions. As a freelancer, these costs will come out of your own pocket, so don’t forget to factor them into the price you quote your client.

You also have to pay for business expenses when you work from home. You’ll need to add an expense account to cover things like internet access and electricity bills that you have to pay anyway because you’re working from home all day. The amount that you add depends on how much extra money it costs you per month to run a business from home.

Curious about freelance web designer salaries? Our Ultimate Guide to Freelance Web Designer Salaries FAQs provides detailed information on average rates, factors that can affect pay, and tips for negotiating rates.

Have An Easy-To-Use Way To Make Invoices And Get Paid

Here’s the key to invoices: make them easy.

  • Make them easy to understand. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all invoice because every project is different. But here are some standard guidelines to follow:
  • Include a due date, so your client has a deadline for paying you your hard-earned cash. Especially if this project was working on spec, you don’t want it hanging over your head indefinitely with no resolution in sight.
  • Include your contact info, so that it’s easy for clients to reach out if they have any questions about their invoice or payment method.
  • Make them easy for the client to pay you promptly upon receipt of an invoice:
  • Choose a payment system (like Stripe or PayPal), and include a link with each invoice that allows the client to pay instantly online via credit card or bank transfer. I personally use Wave Accounting, which also provides its own payment system (Wave Payments) and links up automatically—but there are plenty of other options out there!
  • Be sure that you’re getting paid promptly after providing service! We all know this can be easier said than done, but these tools will help make sure that it happens as consistently as possible.

Have A Template For Contracts

I’m not going to tell you that you have to have a contract for every job. But there are some freelance web design projects where you should definitely be prepared with a written contract of some kind. 

For instance, if you’re working for another company or on a project that has multiple collaborators, it’s absolutely essential to put everything in writing. Other situations that call for contracts include:

  • When the client is off-site and won’t be meeting face-to-face
  • When the client isn’t very tech-savvy and may need more support after the project is finished
  • When the client wants to pay in installments

The important thing about having a template for contracts is that it allows you to write one quickly and easily when needed. That way you don’t have to start from scratch every time and risk missing something important because of it.

Don’t Be Afraid To Say No To Gigs That Aren’t A Good Fit For You

  • This is why it’s so important not to be afraid to say no to gigs that aren’t a good fit for you. A client who wants you to build them a website but doesn’t have the budget or the means is one example of this. Someone asking you to do something outside of your skillset or experience is another example.
  • While it can be tempting to take on any and all projects, if you’re going to stretch yourself too thin, then you won’t be able to get as much out of your work as possible.

Considering hiring a freelance web designer for your next project? Check out our article on Why Hiring a Freelance Web Designer May Help You for 15 compelling reasons to choose a freelance designer over a traditional agency.

Tell Clients About Potential Problems Upfront

As a freelancer, when you’re handed a project, you want to do the best job possible for your client. If a problem comes up that could affect your ability to do this, it’s important you tell them about it as soon as possible. The more information they have up front, the better they can work with you to get the best results.

When talking with clients about potential problems in their projects or ones that may come up in the future, keep these things in mind:

Explain what the problem is. Don’t assume they know exactly what your issues are (unless they asked for this information). Be honest and transparent about what’s going on and how it affects you and your business. Make sure that their eyes don’t glaze over when you talk about technical details by keeping it simple. Use jargon only if necessary—many of them may not be familiar with industry lingo and won’t understand everything anyway. In short: explain yourself but don’t make things complicated unless absolutely necessary (and even then, try to clarify some more). Be clear and concise!

Suggest solutions if you can. This shows your client that not only do you recognize problems but also that you care enough to fix them. They may take your suggestion or opt for another option—that’s okay! Either way, they’ll be grateful for the consideration of their ideas and will appreciate the fact that they have someone who can help them not just when things are right but also when things go wrong (something which inevitably will happen at some point).

Don’t sound like you’re complaining or blaming others​. Remember: no one likes a whiner or complainer —especially clients who are paying good money for services rendered by professionals such as yourself! Instead of focusing on negative energy/attitude toward either side in order to maintain positive relationships between colleagues so everyone can stay focused on doing their jobs well without distractions from outside influences such as gossiping coworkers etc…

Being Clear About What You’ll Do And How Much It Will Cost

No matter how good you are at web design, no one will hire you as a freelance designer if they can’t tell what kind of work you’re capable of doing. If a potential client isn’t sure what you can do or what the results would look like, they aren’t going to have the confidence to make a decision to hire you. 

It’s important for them to see examples of your work and understand exactly how the project will play out. This is why it’s so important that you clearly define what your service is before even attempting to sell it.

How much does it cost? As a freelance web designer, chances are that money is an important factor in your life. Not only do you want to find clients who are willing to pay for quality, but you need enough money coming in so that you can continue doing the work that you love. 

In order for this to work, everyone involved needs a clear understanding of how much time and resources will go into any particular job offer. When defining your services, be sure that the prices reflect this understanding and are reasonable compared with similar projects in your local area (if not lower).

Hiring a web designer can be a daunting task, but our guide on How to Hire a Web Designer Without Getting Ripped Off offers practical tips and strategies for finding the right designer for your needs and avoiding scams.

Stay Organized

When you work from home, it’s easy to let things slip through the cracks. That’s why it’s important to have a system in place for keeping track of your deadlines and time spent on projects. I’ve found that even a simple spreadsheet can be a great way to keep all of this information in one place.

Set Firm Boundaries With Clients

I know there will come a time when your client will call you at 3 AM and ask you to change something on their website. While it may be tempting to do so (after all, they’re paying you!), remember that they still value their sleep more than their website—and chances are they won’t want to pay extra for an emergency fix at such an ungodly hour. 

By setting firm boundaries upfront, you’ll be able to set expectations and avoid those awkward late-night conversations down the road.


Despite the challenges, it is possible to make a living this way. To be successful as a freelance web designer, you must be prepared to adapt to changing trends by expanding your skillset and joining new platforms. You will also need to learn how to manage your time, money, and clients if you want to survive more than a year in business. The hardest part of the job might just be ensuring that you have the technical skills necessary for each project – which can change quickly in this fast-paced field.

If you’re ready for all of that, then here’s what you’ll need next: an online portfolio website with great reviews from satisfied customers who are willing to recommend your services publicly.

So get out there and start freelancing!

Further Reading

How to Get More Web Design Work: This article offers practical tips and strategies for freelancers looking to land more web design work and build their client base.

How to Become a Freelance Web Designer: Indeed’s guide to becoming a freelance web designer covers the skills, experience, and business know-how needed to succeed in the field.

5-Step Guide on How to Become a Successful Freelance Web Designer: This comprehensive guide from We Are Indy walks aspiring freelance web designers through the process of building a successful career.

People Also Ask

How Do I Make Sure I’m Getting The Most Out Of My Freelance Web Design Work?

The best way to get the most out of your freelance web design work is to think about what you want your website to accomplish. This will help you focus on the right areas during the design process.

If you’re looking to attract more clients, be sure to focus on making your site as user-friendly as possible, so that potential clients have an easy time finding and contacting you. If you’re looking for more engagement, make sure your site includes elements that encourage reader interaction, like polls and comments sections.

How Often Should I Update My Freelance Web Design Portfolio?

Your portfolio should be updated at least once a month with new work samples that showcase your greatest strengths and demonstrate your evolving style. It’s important to keep it fresh so that potential clients can see what you’ve been working on lately, and so that they know they’re getting a current snapshot of your abilities.

Do I Have To Have A Website?

It’s not necessary, but it definitely helps. Having a website makes it easier for potential clients to find you and learn more about what you do and what sort of work you’ve done in the past.

What If I Don’t Know How To Build A Website?

Most freelancers start out building their own websites, but when you get busy enough with client work, it’s probably time to hire someone else to take over that part of your business.

What If I Have No Idea How To Get Started?

Don’t panic! Getting started can be overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like you don’t know where to begin, and that’s totally normal. The best way to get started is just to get started! Focus on one part of your process, and dive in. If you want some guidance on how to do this, we also offer workshops catered to exactly this need.

How Do I Write A Good Freelance Web Design Proposal?

That depends on what you mean by “good.” If you mean, “How do I write a proposal that gets accepted?” then make sure that you are clear about what your client wants and needs and deliver on those things. If your client doesn’t say what they want or need, then make sure you ask them before getting started on anything.

How Should I Start A Freelance Web Design Business?

Start by getting some experience and building your portfolio, then focus on establishing your brand and marketing yourself and your business.

What Is The Best Way To Communicate With My Client?

Communication is key, particularly when you’re working with a client remotely. Make sure that you have regular check-ins with all of your clients, and that those check-ins are productive and helpful.

How Much Does Freelance Web Design Cost?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question! It all depends on what your clients are looking for and how much experience you have. That said, we’d recommend charging at least $25 per hour to start. This is just a starting point—you can always charge more based on the complexity of the project or the experience level of your client base.

What Are Some Good Places For Me To Find Clients?

If you’re looking for freelance web design opportunities, we recommend checking out sites like Upwork, People Per Hour, Toptal, and Guru. These sites allow freelancers to bid on projects posted by clients who need specific services performed. However, we like to think the best place for finding great clients is through referrals—so be sure to tell everyone (including current clients)

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