I am doing some freelance work while I finish a web design program. I have done several small sites for free, and am ready to charge something for my work.
I did this site: elementsandenergy.com, and charged $400, which does not reflect the many hours spent on the design. I did all the html and CSS, took all the photos, did some CAD drafting, a Flash eye candy animation for the home page, 2 more informative Flash graphics (one is a slideshow), helped write the copy, and wrote a PHP form.This was a lot of work.
What would have been a fair price?
How do other folks charge–per project or per hour? Or a mix of both? I’ve looked at dozens of small design studio sites, and they don’t list their prices. I am trying to draft a contract, a site planning worksheet, and a pricing list to use with clients.
I think perhaps the best way, though I too am just starting out, is to give a quote based on an estimate of the hours you expect the project to take you, at your hourly rate, plus some additional padding in case of scope creep. For instance, if you charge $40 an hour, and expect the project to take 10 hours, you may charge $500 or so.
SitePoint is giving away a free ebook on the Principles of Freelancing; I’ve been reading it studiously for the past few days as I have time. It is an extremely informative and helpful source of information for us just-getting-started freelancers. The Principles of Successful Freelancing
Hope you don’t mind my posting the links, mods!
An extremely common question, and perhaps one I can’t give you a straight answer to.
Everybody has different prices. There are a number of factors that go into it, but the two main factors are 1) Skill level, and 2) Location. For example, a web designer in India is going to cost much less than one in London. A web designer that has a portfolio of prominent clients (Nike, Coca-Cola, Ford, etc) will charge more than one just out of school who only has study cases.
Charging $400 for that site was probably in the right range for your skill level. If it took you a really long time, that’s not particularly the client’s fault. You’re still learning. Eventually things will get quicker and easier. As your designs get better and your code gets cleaner, you’ll be able to start charging more.
A lot of times people just starting out will ask a top web designer what they make and then try to base their wage off that. It can become confusing and hard to settle on a number. When I first started out, I was simply told to charge what I thought was fair. Charge up until the point where I thought I was ripping somebody off. If you feel guilty, you’re probably charging too much. If you feel shafted, you’re probably charging too little. Find your balance.
Now, in terms of presenting a project’s cost to a client, always go with a rounded number. Nobody wants to hear about your hourly rate. You say the project costs X amount of dollars. Now, how do you come to that number? Hourly Rate x Hours to Complete project. This will be hard to figure out at first. What you’ll want to do is create a few fake clients and time yourself on how long you can put together a design and code it (remember, coding a design is not just the home page, you have inside pages, special pages like a contact us page, site map, etc).
Things will become more clear with experience!
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