The Ultimate Guide To Freelance Web Designer Salaries [FAQs]

Determining how much to charge for freelance web design work can be tricky. You not only need to consider the time and labor involved but also whether you’ll be able to make a living based on your rates.

The average pay for a Web Designer is $59,000 per year in the U.S., according to Zippia. However, this is not reflective of the rate at which you will be paid as a freelance designer. In other words, don’t expect clients to be paying you anywhere near that amount unless you have an excellent reputation, tons of experience, and are charging by the hour—not by the project.

If you’re just getting started with freelance web design and are looking for a ballpark figure, it’s worth taking a look at some of the most popular sites where freelancers post their portfolios and rates. This will give you an idea of what others are charging, and whether or not it’s feasible for your own business model.

We’ve put together this list of ultimate guides FAQs to freelance web designer salaries to help get you started on your research.

Freelancing As A Web Developer in 2018
Freelance web design can be a lucrative and fulfilling career choice for those with the right skills and mindset.
Success as a freelance web designer requires a combination of technical and soft skills, as well as business acumen.
To succeed as a freelance web designer, you need to be proactive in finding clients, setting prices, and managing projects.
Staying up-to-date with the latest web design trends and technologies is essential to your success as a freelance web designer.
Building a support system and seeking guidance from other professionals in the industry can help you navigate the challenges of freelancing.

What Factors Affect Freelance Rates?

There are a number of factors that go into how much freelance designers can charge for their services, including location, industry, experience and skillset, and demand.

Location: Some places just have higher costs of living than other areas. If you live in a city like New York or San Francisco where the cost of living is high, you’re going to have to charge higher rates to make sure you can cover your own personal costs.

Industry: If you work in a specialized industry, like government or medical, you may be able to get away with charging more for your services.

Experience: If you have more experience working as a designer, you should have no problem charging more for your services. You know what it takes to deliver quality design work to clients, and you’ve got the portfolio to prove it!

Demand: There are only so many experienced designers out there and if they’re all booked up, clients will be willing to pay more to get access to those designers’ services.

Setting the right price for your freelance web design services can be tricky, but it’s essential to your success. Our ultimate guide to pricing web design freelancing will help you navigate this challenge and maximize your earning potential.

How Do I Set My Freelance Rate?

We’ve all been there: the moment when you realize that what you’re really meant to do is freelance. It’s a beautiful moment, and it’s one that I wish for everyone. But then comes the next step: how much do YOU charge?

If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, setting your rate for the first time can be daunting. To begin, you’ll need to know what other web designers in your area charge and what they’re charging for.

Freelance web designer rates vary based on experience and skill level, as well as location, the complexity of the project, and the number of hours worked. Most web designers charge by the hour, but some may also charge by the project or by the day.

Do I Have To Be A Design School Graduate To Become A Freelance Web Designer?

The short answer: nope!

The long answer: it depends on the client, and on your experience. Either way, we have some tips for you.

If you’re looking for clients who are hiring solely based on experience, you’re in luck; there are plenty of clients out there who aren’t hung up on whether you graduated from a design school or not. If they’re hiring based on experience, they’re probably looking for someone with a good portfolio and a solid understanding of the intricacies of web design. 

You can get experience by working for other companies as an employee, or by building your own portfolio (through side projects or freelancing).

If you’re looking for clients who require that you have a degree from an accredited design school before they’ll even consider hiring you, don’t fret—it’s not impossible to get them to work with you. It just means that you need to be willing to gain some more formal education. 

There are plenty of online courses available that will allow you to take classes and earn a certificate in web design. As long as the school is accredited, these certificates will be accepted by employers who require degrees.

As a freelance web designer, building a successful career takes more than just talent. Our 12 tips for freelancing success will help you navigate the industry and create a thriving business that you love.

How Much Do Freelance Web Designers Make In The US?

The average rate for a freelance web designer in the United States is $28.54 per hour. That’s around $59,353 per year, but it’s important to remember that this is the median figure—it takes into account those who only work a few hours a week as well as those who work full-time plus overtime every single week. 

There are also many factors that can affect how much you’ll be able to charge. For example, seniority plays a big part in your rate—the more experience you have, the more you can charge per hour. Your location and reputation will also affect your rate—you may be able to charge more if you’re based in New York or Los Angeles compared to if you’re based in a small town in Kansas.

How Do I Get Paid What I’m Worth As A Freelance Web Designer?

First, take an honest look at the work you’re doing: is it worth what you’re charging? Are you saving clients money by taking on tasks they don’t have time for? Are the designs or processes you come up with more efficient and effective than others’ designs? Make sure that whatever price you’re asking for matches the quality of work you can produce.

Then, find out what others in your field are charging. Talk to other designers. Do some research on freelance web designer salaries. Look at job ads to see what companies and agencies are looking to pay. See where your skills match up if they match the skills and experience of those who are asking for higher rates, then raise yours! And if they don’t quite match that yet, keep raising the bar until they do!

Starting a web design freelance business is an exciting journey, but it’s essential to approach it with a plan. Our guide on the top 17 things to consider when starting a web design freelance business will give you the insights and information you need to set yourself up for success.

How Can I Improve My Freelance Web Developer Salary?

You can increase your freelance web developer salary by improving your skills, pitching more high-quality clients, and working with a reputable agency. 

To improve your skills as a freelance web developer, consider entering into a formal education program such as that offered by the Fullstack Academy coding Bootcamp to learn all the latest techniques in web design and web development. Once you’ve completed an educational program, commit to learning new skills on a regular basis to keep up with the latest trends in the industry. 

Another way to boost your freelance web developer salary is to pitch more clients. To do this, use your network and any leads you have available to find potential clients who could be interested in your services. Make sure you’re pitching companies that are financially stable, as this will ensure that you’ll get paid for your work. 

How Do I Start Getting Clients?

The go-to answer here is to start networking. Get out there and let people know you’re a freelance web designer. A great way to do this is by getting involved with local meetups and groups, or by going to conferences. On top of that, you should be actively sharing your work on social media—you can even post a project or two on your personal site if it’s not overloading your server with traffic.

However, the best way to get clients is through word-of-mouth referrals from people who have worked with you and loved their experience, or from other freelancers who are so swamped that they don’t have time to take on another project. So start building relationships, sharing your work online, and taking good care of your earliest clients so they’ll be happy to recommend you again and again.

Are you looking to take your web design freelancing career to the next level? Our 22 expert tips to improve your web design freelancing career offer practical advice and inspiration to help you grow your business and reach your goals.

Do I Have To Quit My Job To Earn A Living As A Freelance Web Designer?

Not necessarily, but it’s not a bad idea. Many people try to keep their day job while they build their freelance business on the side, and often they find that the hours they need to put in to build a strong client base don’t really gel well with the hours they have when they’re working somewhere else. 

It can definitely be done, though! If you’re going to try this approach, make sure your current employer is open to you taking time off for personal reasons, just in case you get a paid project that requires more than just evenings and weekends.

What Is A Good Starting Salary As A Web Designer?

When you’re starting out as a web designer, you may be tempted to offer your services for a low rate in order to get more clients and build your portfolio. This might work at first, but it’s not sustainable long-term since the amount of work you’ll be able to do at a low rate won’t cover your cost of living.

Once you have some experience under your belt, you can start charging more per hour. An inexperienced freelance web designer can expect to make between $20-30/hour or $45-50k annually depending on their location, while an experienced web designer can charge between $40-60/hour or $75-95k annually. It’s important to note that your location will affect how much you earn—the cost of living where you live may be higher or lower than what we’ve listed here.

What’s The Difference Between Being A Junior And Senior Web Designer?

There are a lot of different ways to define what level you’re at in your career as a freelance web designer, but generally, it comes down to two things: how much experience you have and how much you can charge. A junior web designer is just starting out and typically hasn’t worked with clients before or on their own. 

They may or may not have any formal education in design, but they don’t know the ins and outs of the industry yet. They’re just learning about what it takes to complete projects for clients—things like communicating with them, managing their expectations, organizing their files, etc.

A senior web designer has been working in the field for several years, has a good grasp of industry norms and best practices, has completed many projects (and learned from any mistakes along the way), and can charge more since they are a more experienced freelancer. They usually have more connections with other professionals they can work with on projects, too!

What Does A Freelance Web Designer Do?

As a freelance web designer, you’ll be in charge of creating websites that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. A freelance web designer will consult with clients to understand their needs, then draft up plans for website designs that meet those needs. Freelance web designers have to know the basics of coding to be able to compose effective websites, so they can also do some coding during the design process. 

Some freelance web designers only do design, while others also do the coding necessary to bring their designs to life. If you want to be a freelance web designer who does both, you’ll need to learn how to code in languages like XML, HTML, and CSS. You can typically learn these skills through community college courses or from self-study guides and courses online.

Choosing the right freelance web designer is crucial for the success of your project. Our 15 tips to help you choose a freelance web designer will guide you through the process of finding the perfect fit and building a productive and collaborative partnership.

What Is The Highest Paying State For Freelance Web Designers?

While the exact answer to this question depends on which survey you’re looking at, it’s safe to say that freelance web designers make more money in the United States than in any other country. That being said, salaries and rates will vary from city to city and state to state. 

For example, if you’re working as a web designer in New York City or San Francisco, you can expect to make significantly more money than if you were working in a smaller city like Lincoln, Nebraska. This is because cities with larger populations tend to have a greater need for web design work (ie. there are more businesses, which means more websites). Therefore, many freelance web designers choose to relocate to larger cities in order to earn a higher salary.

How Can I Find The Highest-Paying Freelance Web Design Jobs? 

The best way to find the highest-paying freelance web design jobs is to have a strong portfolio of past work, as well as a strong network of industry contacts.

When you’re just starting out, it can be hard to build a portfolio quickly enough to get the experience you need in order to get hired for higher-paying gigs. If you’re looking for a way to start building a portfolio, consider doing pro-bono work for your friends and family who have businesses. You could also offer your services on Fiverr or Upwork at discounted rates.

In order to build up your network of industry contacts, consider joining groups like Freelancers Union or attending events like tech meetups—you’ll often meet people who are looking to hire freelancers when you attend these kinds of events. Even if they don’t need freelancers themselves, they may know others who do!

Can I Negotiate Higher Than The Freelance Web Designer Starting Salary?

Of course! The most common factors that can help you negotiate a higher freelance web designer starting salary are your previous experience and your professional network.

If you’ve spent a significant amount of time in the industry, you’ll be able to ask for more money than someone who is just getting started. The same applies if you have an established portfolio of work that you can show to potential clients. You’re likely to find that they will be willing to pay you more once they have seen what you are capable of.

You can also use your professional network to increase your freelance web designer’s starting salary. If you already have some connections in the industry, it’s easier for them to recommend your services. This can make it much easier to find new clients and negotiate higher rates.

Why Do People Become Freelance Web Designers?

Most people become freelance because they have an entrepreneurial spirit. They want to work for themselves, set their own hours, and make their own rules. But there are plenty of other reasons that people choose to work as freelancers. 

Some folks decide to start freelancing because they want more flexible hours so they can spend time with family or pursue their hobbies. Others may need a second source of income or might not have enough experience to get hired full-time, so they decide to take on freelance gigs instead (which is totally acceptable!).

Do Freelance Web Designers Have Benefits?

Unfortunately, most freelance web designers do not receive benefits. However, there are a few exceptions to this general trend. Many web designers who have been working in their field for a long time and who have established an excellent reputation are able to negotiate with some companies to provide them with benefits or at least a stipend for coverage.

In addition, some freelance web designers work as part of a larger company rather than independently. These companies may offer benefits, but the compensation that you receive from these opportunities may differ from the average salary discussed above.

Can I Learn Web Designing On My Own?

The short answer: Yes. But it’s not easy.

You can pursue a lot of different paths to becoming a web designer. For example, you could pursue an accredited degree program, or you could just start learning on your own through YouTube videos, Google searches, and online courses. It’s up to you!

However, I will say that the biggest challenge with taking the DIY approach—aside from the obvious hurdle of setting up your own curriculum and schedule—is figuring out what you should actually be learning. It’s pretty easy to find individual tutorials for specific skills in web design; it’s a lot harder to figure out what order you should learn those skills in, and how exactly they relate to each other.

I’m obviously biased, but I recommend an accredited degree program if you’re just starting out in web design, or if it’s been a while since you’ve done any coding (or if you’ve never coded before). There are many different options available at different schools across the country, including both full-time and part-time programs.

Final Thought

If you’re a web designer, creating websites for clients pays the bills. The question then becomes: how much do you get paid? There are so many factors that contribute to freelance salaries, which can make it difficult to know what your rate should be. 

Choosing the right type of client, knowing how to drive clients’ demands away from your rate, and offering different services at different rates can all be components of setting a sustainable salary goal. In this guide, we have helped equip you with the knowledge you need to set a fair freelance salary rate—and hopefully make more money in the process.

Further Reading

The Freelance Web Designer’s Guide – This guide provides practical tips and advice on how to succeed as a freelance web designer, from building a portfolio to finding clients and setting prices.

Web Designer Salary: How Much Do They Really Make? – This article explores the different factors that affect web designer salaries, such as experience, location, and industry.

A Comprehensive Guide to Freelance Web Designing – This guide covers everything you need to know about starting and growing a successful freelance web design business, from setting prices to managing clients.


How do I find clients as a freelance web designer?

There are many ways to find clients as a freelance web designer, such as networking, building a strong online presence, and using freelance job platforms like Upwork and Freelancer.

How much should I charge for my web design services?

Web design rates can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry. It’s important to do research on industry standards and your competitors’ rates to ensure you’re pricing your services fairly.

How do I manage client relationships as a freelance web designer?

Effective communication is key to managing client relationships as a freelance web designer. It’s important to set clear expectations, be responsive, and maintain a professional and collaborative attitude.

What skills do I need to become a successful freelance web designer?

To become a successful freelance web designer, you need a combination of technical skills, such as proficiency in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as soft skills such as communication, time management, and creativity.

How can I stay up-to-date with the latest web design trends and technologies?

Staying up-to-date with the latest web design trends and technologies is essential to your success as a freelance web designer. You can do this by attending industry conferences, reading industry blogs and publications, and taking online courses or workshops.

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