New poll! This is going to be part of a little series on “web developer economics” that we got started with this post on monthly costs. Let’s focus on incoming cash instead of outgoing for a moment.
For those who build websites for clients: the average amount of money (USD) you personally earn from a completed website is closest to:
The poll is in the sidebar. RSS readers will have to make the jump. Possible answers go between under $1,000 and over $20,000.
Important point here: the poll says amount you personally earn. This isn’t how much your company charges or your personal gross. It’s your personal net. So let’s say you have a three person shop who are all equal. You on average charge $10,000 for a website and have $2,000ish in expenses, you’d be taking home around $2,500.
I think the Poll would be more useful if you added $250, $500, and $750, while I generally am not even willing to get involved at such price points the majority of small business websites in my market have budgets in those ranges so I think it is critical to have them as options to get a good idea from the poll.
I completely agree with Ryan. I find $850 to be a pretty common price point for clients of the small business variety in my area. Southern New Hampshire, in fact, and it’s kind of a booming area of the country for businesses.
thats true bro….and sometimes its $100 in outsourcing market …..are we developers packet of Noodles??
I second Ryan, and I have to admit that the poll is not so easily answerable for me. I’m part of a two-man web team at a large academic library, and since our university deals increasingly in online courses, I’m building departmental sites and closing small tickets and rolling out in-house apps day in and out, but we don’t isolate different projects in terms of who’s the client. It’s just, um, work.
I also completely agree with Ryan. I have complained about low earnings in my country in the comments to earlier articles. After taxes, I would probably come in at $200 for bigger websites, $100-150 for small and especially outsourced ones. The insane amount of “Under $1000” answers seems to confirm that as well: it encompasses both “$900” (which is much more than my total monthly earnings, even before taxes) and “$100”.
There’s a lot of activity in that sub-$1000 market range for building websites for small businesses.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority came in at <$1000. I get the sense that a lot of people on this site, like me, are just starting out, serving small clients and chronically undervaluing their work (like me!). I’m very interested to see the results.
In my latest project we estimate a cost of about U.S. $ 1,500. But that means a lot of work. But development time only take a week, taking meetings and feedback.
Also included proper documentation and a period of two hours training and user support for five tickets to two hours each.
I found several customers who prefer to have such support, although most never used, to hire someone who does not look after delivering the product.
I think the cost is low due to the development time, which I find quite short. But you must understand that the cost of using the amount of knowledge we have acquired, is very difficult to understand.
In summary, to determine the time it takes to separate tasks, design, graphics development, structure, programming JS, generation of services, etc. Estimate how long each activity will take and define a time value work. With experience you will know when you charge little or a lot.
On the other hand, you must remember that some systems are critical and must be aware of the status of a site. However if you think you considered the cost of overtime for eventualities.
We must also remember that in this globalized world a dollar in Argentina is not the same as a dollar in London. Probably the cost of living in different countries is not reflected in the survey.
$750-1250 for a smallbiz, just basic wordpress theme install with some customization. Usually with the intention of customer spreading the word, or supplying me with some follow up work. If they pay in weekly/monthly installments, I usually take a payment off for the finders fee. Word of mouth has the highest conversion rate and I’ve found this provides the customer with incentive to talk about their own site, as well as try to sell some work for you.
What about donations/trades for other services? I almost did a site for a guitarist who would pay me in guitar lessons. I also have a lot of business in my spare time that gets donated to non-profits. I would tend to assume that these would also go into the under $1000 catagory, but it’s hard putting a dollar figure on these.
Wow, I am quite surprised/appalled/don’t know-wtf-to-say/ at most of the responses that are BELOW $1k.
I think that is way too low, you have to get more clients to make ends meet?
Way more clients to make ends meet, and of those clients, they are expecting more and more for less and less. A lot of that has to do with where I’m located as well. San Diego is really expensive.
Lots of competition and ease of outsourcing for simple web development around these parts.
I wonder how much this is because of the number of theme developers or people who specialize in modifying existing themes for solutions like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. than what I would call full fledge website developers—which includes: backend, front-end, marketing, etc.?
A number of our clients contacted us when they wanted to move away from a ‘theme’ that’s kind of trapped them. They may have started with something free, then moved to hiring someone for around $500-$3,000 to modify and adjusted, and eventually they get to the point where they’re like we need a full solution, with someone to help us plan out what we want, how to accomplish it, and build a solution that can last for years, even if the look and feel changes ever 2 years.
That’s when the projects start being $10-$50,000 or more, and we work almost exclusively with nonprofits and educational institutions, so I image small businesses and corporations would be paying much more than that.
I admit our low-end range is $2,500-$5,000, average is $6-$20,000, then higher for more in-depth, larger, or time sensitive projects— that’s for the project itself, not the take home.
I agree with you completely! I was shocked when reading these posts, I would never do a site for less than $1000 and I’m just 3 years in. I just did a site for $2000 and was told I undercharged.
Not everybody works in US with their salaries :-)
I personally work in Poland, when I do small projects for clients from my country it’s around 500$ (graphic desing is done by someone else, I only write code).
But, when I work on larger projects for US market, it’s 3 to 5k $ and even more. But, development time in both cases is completely different – easy site less than 20h, big projects – few months.
In my case, $500-600 is a rather typical total net price in my case. But half that amount goes to the web designer. And then there are taxes.
Really this is quiet helpful please share some screen shots
I do only a smallbiz cos I do not have much time for bigger projects thus average income is somewhere between $500-$2000. I did a lot some easy-peasy customizations of running projects that were even below that $500 in the past.
Last two years I am trying to work on bigger projects for smallbiz like e-commere. That basicaly means installing and configuring opensource e-shop, creating a graphic design, coding that graphics into HTML and doing varrying number of customizations of the e-shop in PHP (that could be just slight modification, huge modification or new functionality/modules implementation). These ones are between $1000-$2000 so I picked a $1500 answer within the poll.
I think this poll is a non-sense…. in this moment there are 20 people that saying they “personally” earned more than 20000 dollars creating ONE website.
Without saying how long the project took it is impossible to say anything on that value…
You created the site in 40 hours ? it’s 500$/hour…. good !
You needed to work one month, 10 hours, 7 days per week ? it’s 66$/hour… still good but in a completely different range !!!
This is a great poll!
I average around $1500 per site in earnings, the vast majority of my work is coding and implementing sites from an existing design. I think discussing straight dollar values is a little confusing though, and lacks a solid basis for comparison. to put it in more standard terms, I average $30/hr after expenses, and most of my projects entail 30-40 hours of work – I’m also new to the business and have just under a year of experience which is an important factor.
Judging from the early poll results and my own experience I think this poll should be a surprise and an eye opener to some – quick and cheap projects are definitely massively prevalent and probably make up a majority of the work available out there, but there seems to be a bit of a bubble surrounding the developer community and particularly the more well known names within it where a somewhat grander paradigm is shared with regards to earning potential and what clients spend, and should be willing to spend. It’s not inherently a negative thing either way though, the services and products being delivered on a $5000 project are surely quite different to those on a $1000 project and developers will optimize their workflow, and effort spent on a project to stay competitive and profitable.
It does raise an important point about web standards and best practices though – if the most active developers contributing to web standards work and live in a vastly different world than the true “average joes” of web development it can lead to some unrealistic expectations being placed on developers. How would/could web standards change if we actually take into account the real world variables of the average developer – their education level, workflow, client base and how much time they can afford to invest in following and adhering to web standards which may not even register into the budget considerations of most clients.
I think this and any poll or discussion that shed light on who we are and where we are at allows us to be conscious of the choices we make. I’m in the $800 average a project category. Why? My clients are from craigslist. On Elance I can’t do the work required for the $3,000 projects (sole freelancer).
But I want to be in the $3000 a project category, so my eyes are open and I’m a listening and I’m a learning. I will figure out how to get there. This only helps me, by motivating me, so thanks.
Norman144, I’m with you. Thanks for your honesty. Just started to focus on the $1200 gross type of work. Like you, I’m ready to move up in the pricing tier — and looking to figure out how to get there too. I suspect it has to do with knowing how to help with marketing, not just website building. You can’t just build stuff and hope the business succeeds. The site is just a platform for a marketing strategy, which ultimately is what moves the money. If our websites achieve business goals, and we make a successful case for that, we can (should?) aim higher.
I am with you both on this one. My clients are now starting to ask for more than just website building. They are now asking for a marketing strategy which will drive more traffic and sales. And for these services, I will now push my pricing structure into the next tier. Although it takes more time and effort, I am willing to do so, so help the company or brand grow.
A few people have mentioned Marketing and stuff like having clients asking them to help with sales. This is not my thing and I will not do it. This is why I wont even work for an agency. Freelancer for life. I don’t see it being anywhere my job to help people earn money off the site, other than aesthetics, the design, meeting their needs etc. I’ll do basic SEO though. I’m an engineer. Would they ask an architect or a construction worker who worked on their building to help them find tenants? “Hey, I’ll let you build my bakery but you have got to help me sell pies!” Its mixing apples with oranges, just my 2 cents.
It would be great if you could write an article on HOW web designers can make money from completed client sites.
This particular question confuses me because the answer is quite simple. A web designer makes money from completed sites by doing the following:
Valuing their work preemptively. This allows for an accurate quote and a happy client because you don’t go over your quoted price to make a profit.
Completing the quoted work on time and on budget
Delivering final work to the client and collecting payment
The general answer is: show the client how to fully use the website to achieve the goals in their mission statement. These are probably sales, marketing, PR and communications objectives.
You become a “Web Marketing Consultant” this way, and can charge quite a bit as the client comes to rely on you for your advice. Can be a big payoff.
I work through oDesk a lot and while my mid-level front-end dev rate is $25/h, I also do the occasional fixed-rate-for-peanuts job and see a lot of work going for what amounts to minimum wage. Personally, I think we need a Union to uphold fair wages and regulate pricing/work quality.
Thanks for that poll. Of course all is dependent upon what is charged hourly along w/ average size of website and tech used. I think another great poll would be how much on average a freelancers charge. Thanks!
I am a graphic designer, but have been working my way into building wordpress sites. A possible client was referred to me by a friend who complained that web builders were a bit shady in their dealings … so I sat down with her to see what she wanted, how much time she had and what her budget was.
She had two sites that needed to be started by early Oct with the first being completed by mid November (which also needed some ecommerce) and the second being completed as late as Feb of the following year.
I never go into anything without taking a step back to consider things (so i told her I would get back to her)
once I figured out what my cost would be time wise … I told her the price which she did not like … I explained the cost of me dedicating “ALL” my time to her two projects for the next few months required me to cover all my costs, because a 40hr work week with no other money coming in averaged out to like 5.60 pr hour … some things you just can’t charge small amounts for considering the time needed …
I suggested that I could take on other projects while working on her projects to offset the cost but pointed out it would only push out the launch dates of her sites.
Anyways … my point is you can’t do work that averages out to peanuts when you have responsibilities like a family …. NOT HAPPENING …
It looks like all of us agree that a single web developer is very hard pressed to score any type of project above the $1500, and those big jobs usually end up going to organizations or studios. I’d like to hear if any ONE person ever scored a project that budgeted more than $2000.
I hold a 9-5 in an agency so freelancing is not my primary bread-winner, but I’ve seen some estimates and man…, I wish I could get a contract like that by myself.
@Stevo, to answer your question, even I have scored projects where I earned as much as $2700 for one site. It does happen and it is just something that lands in your lap from time to time, but my overall average is about $800.
I’ve scored over $5000 on a project, but that was a special case — they needed a new website that also worked with a niche CMS, needed email marketing, e-commerce, branding, and documentation. I’m a sole freelancer, and it took me a little over three months total to complete the project.
Was it easy? Absolutely not! But it was a big job that I felt I had the knowledge and skill to do, and I did it (swearing and crying along the way, haha). And now that I’ve worked with that CMS for two years now, I can pitch my services to other businesses that use it.
From my experience I think the $2000 project is like the loch ness monster of freelancing. The biggest project I ever got was for $1500 but my average is around $600-$800. I deal with small businesses, nonprofits, and churches so their budget is limited. All of them are trying to get my services for as cheap as possible. To top it off they like to add things but keep the price the same.
However the more time you do this the better you get at making things so you are able to handle more projects at once. I am a web designer and this is all I do. So in between jobs I like to find ways to do things faster than before. Just recently I taught myself Sass after using only less all this time. Now I’m able to code css faster so projects are getting done more quickly. For a typical website 10 pages, sliders, tabs, etc.. I can complete it in about 2-3 weeks depending on the client and their response time.
This is also my struggle. 9 – 5 an agency leaves little time for freelance work…not to mention if you actually have a life! Still looking for that one big client….hopefully soon…
It’s all about convincing your client that having a presence on the web isn’t enough. As long as your skills are good enough to get websites that will get noticed by inspiration pages, etc, you will be able to charge big numbers,.
You also have to be ambitious, you cannot attempt to create an award winning website when your client is paying less than 2000$, so, for personal achievements you’d be better off taking the projects that buy you the time to work on complex and well developed websites.
That’s why I lately refuse any project under 1000$, even if it’s something fast, cause my time is better spent going for big things so I can show my upcoming clients.
Want to mention that from my experience there are a lot of people who cannot create good and attractive websites, and you have to educate your clients in this regard, and let them know that they charge so low because their websites are irrelevant, and will not be as good for their business.
Generally, the bigger contracts require a broader range of skills. a $2000 project may have a designer, front-end dev, coder, and project manager. I’ll take a solo $1000 over a piece of the pie. Even if you DO do a $2000+ project solo, it will probably take enough time that you’ll make more money flipping burgers.
My advice to those that are doing lower cost projects and want to move into higher cost tiers is to begin consciously work on perception. The only thing that separates a single person from a company is the perception that it creates. The end result can easily be just as good, and in some cases, much better than a company.
The lesson I learned a while back was that I got outclassed several times when I went to bid a project. These were companies, not mom-and-pop type shops. While it was related to the fact that I’m a single person, I got outclassed primarily because my price was so far under theirs. The last one I got beat out by a company that bid over $8,000 more than I did, and my bid was well over $2,500. And the thing that killed me was the result was something that I would NEVER have charged over $3,000 for. That’s what spurred me on to change.
The perception that I gave off was a lower cost product equals a lower quality product. It was at this point that I really began to work on my perception of what I offered and how I presented it. I’m charging a lot more than I used to. The way I began to look at it was I wasn’t trying to justify higher prices any longer, it was because with higher prices came much higher service. I didn’t have to nickle and dime anyone. I could go out of my way to help on things that weren’t directly in the scope. I could spend a lot more time listening and strategize with them so that we could get them more customers.
My potential clients were no longer seeing me as the “Cheap” option because I was $5000 less than anyone else. I was now a bargain because I somehow afforded all this extra service they didn’t expect and I was just a little bit less than the big companies.
A big part of it is expanding your skillsets. You definitely need to know your stuff on every level so you can bring a consultative approach. If someone hires a web developer and ends up with a consultant that can help them make other critical decisions – that person is invaluable.
I’m walking into a client relationship assuming that they are serious about marketing their business. I talk to them as if it’s only a matter of time to begin actively marketing the site. They need to know it’s important. And more than that, once you start marketing people and you see that you are helping them become successful and get more clients, it feels so good that you want to tell everyone else about it, too.
I’m what you might consider a single person studio. I’m one guy, but I also work with a lot of other people. I have people I lean on for heavy PHP development and people who do nothing but SEO because my skillsets are mainly on front end design and just enough PHP to customize WordPress. I’ve done projects from $500 up to $9,500 completely solo. You’ve got to be conscious about what value you bring to the table and how the money your clients spend with you is going to help them.
Don’t forget the famous quote, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right”. The types of clients you get really depends on you and how you are selling yourself. You have to prepare yourself to work with higher end clients by offer higher end services but more importantly, you have to be confident you are worth it.
@Josh – Now this has been very helpful. Thanks! A couple more of these and we have a developers camp. :-)
Awesome insight Josh. I’ve definitely observed the same thing as my career grows.
One of the biggest challenge designers/developers face is understanding the value of the work they produce.
Great response, Josh. Expanding your skillset is definitely a must when it comes to landing high dollar projects. Companies may have more than one need besides the Web, and if you can provide that (for example, doing print design or social media management), then use that to your advantage.
yeah, what Norman said
Hi guys, i wasn’t planning on commenting, but such good points have been brought up in this thread! I do my freelance part-time – i have a full-time elearning dev job – and am seriously thinking of going freelance full-time, so it is great to hear others speak realistically about $$.
For my part, my main source of freelance income is from the freelancer/elance-type websites, and i too probably average $500-800 per job, although am doing a $1500 job at the moment. The interesting thing is client perception – this $1500 job is pretty much the same specs as a $600 job i did a few months ago. I think both jobs are probably valued at about $800 (my rate), so it has evened out (remember, i have bid for these jobs, not provided a quote).
I’ve not done any calculations, but i’m sure a home-based freelancer (with no overheads) charging $1000 cannot earn much less than an agency charging out $5000, but the sticking point is getting potential clients to see the merit of freelancer vs. agency, and i can certainly see the attraction of a shiny office compared to my dingy spare bedroom! :)
I also think it has to do with the niche of clientele you target or just so happen to get in with. A friend of mine told me he worked for a company in San Francisco and they do a lot of major musicians websites. The needs of those people are no different than this blog. But because of who they are and what their budgets are, the prices for the websites or apps they need are ridiculously high! But if you are “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” used them for their needs, they must be the right people to be with right? I think thats what happens in this type of situation. I believe sites starting out at the $15,000 range up to the $100,000’s.
Ahhhh another example. Another buddy of mine told me what the energy drink company that starts with a “M” paid for their network of sites, and sub sites….. Told me “take a guess”. I said oh maybe $150,000. His answer was $650,000! I was like no way. They had a design team and a coding team and made it happen.
So it all seems to be the niche of clientele you get and the industry you are servicing.
Wow good thread!
I think it is so important, as some peeps said, to make work that you want to get paid for. Then you can get clients who want that kind of work. I
also think that being able to serve as a consultant with marketing and content is useful, as well as rewarding. Organizing the content properly can make the site better (but that happens with consulting – it’s a separate from coding) and working with clients from start to finish, seeing projects evolve – well I think that’s first class.
I believe this all comes down to the big words, “well that depends”. A decent custom design alone can cost anywhere from $800-$1000 and that is money you may not even get if a graphics designer is doing the work. From there, you need to splice the mockup into an HTML(5)/CSS(3) page (assumption you want it current), more than likely create a theme for your CMS, then you have to consider if it’s responsive or not since most clients complain when they see their site on an iPad and it looks crappy etc. Then there is testing on a number of browsers (making sure you are clear in your contract what browsers you support), but you still need to test the site. So at approx $50/hour (assuming that is your hourly), you’re probably looking at 2 days of work (being very optimistic of course); that is 16 hours x $50 (or $800) so now you’re at about $1800. Depending on whether or not you choose to review the website with your client or not (meetings/reviews), what maintenance costs you have when you go live (updates etc), setup for your live environment (ie FTP, hosting deployment), potentially messing with domain transfers, the list can go on, you can look at a minimum of $2000 for a site, and you really are only making about $1200 total profit for probably 3 full days of work, again being optimistic. Nothing ever goes smoothly with clients. Depending on your expertise, you may not mind charging a lower hourly to be competitive. I have found that most clients that don’t want to spend more than $1000 are usually a drain on your time and try to take advantage of you, so I try to keep my prices at a minimum to $2500 for a nice looking, WordPress basic website. If they want custom functionality built into that (mySQL type stuff with forms etc), well the price just goes up from there.
There’s another slight obscurity with the poll. A web design business (in the UK anyway) trading as a Limited Company would have to pay (possibly Value Added Tax), then corporation tax, then the employee would pay income tax. A sole trader web designer could design exactly the same site at the same price, but personally earn a lot more.
This gives rise to ‘bedroom’ (no disrespect) developers pricing companies out of the market (this has happened to a lot of businesses I know well).
So, let’s all pay cash and be on the run… :-D – just kidding(!) … [I think]
Depending of project. I used to charge like 800 euros in the beginning but now I start from 2500. My net income also depending from month to month but starts from 3500 euros net profit. Exactly for every project I have like 60-70% profit. Rest are cost of tools, hosting and so on. Monthly cost of tools is about 600 euros (mt, dropbox, cloudflare…).
I need to mention that I also start as base income every month from 1800 euros as being a consultant and sometimes solutions developer, money that aren’t counted in the top calculations.
I have friends in here that won’t start a project under 10.000 euros cause as they say “5.000 cost only the fracking you got from client as in changes and so on”. Personally, I take any kind of project I’m able to bring it to finish.
PS: As in VTA, I do not pay cause of one EU Chamber of Commerce directive.
@Josh – great answer.
Wow yeah I’m also amazed at all the sub $1000 jobs. We have a base fee of around $3700 or so. But that’s all hand coded, no off the shelf CMS etc. No word press, no themes. Original PSD, original coding etc. And thats with no CMS. We’d custom build a CMS on top of that for extra. To be fair, I (we) have been doing this for 12 years and my current business is well established now (4 years).
Also one thing we have learned, is that the clients who pay the least, end up being the ones who ask for the most changes and squeeze every ounce of code out of you. We’ve gradually driven prices up to target better clients.
I’m not amazed by the sub $1000 answers for one reason: not everyone lives in the US.
As for the low budget clients remark, you’re absolutely right. I’ve always dealt with this issue and it’s not a rule of thumb, but an axiom: the number and extent of a client’s requests for changes and complaints is inversely proportional to the project’s budget. I started my company in 2010 and since then, I tripled my prices. I get the same number of clients. But they’re more pleasant to work with and generally both I and them end up happy with the projects.
Unfortunately, with outsourcing, it is making it very difficult to land jobs for more than $1k depending on the type of project. As many have said, finding good clients that are willing to pay for good work is becoming more and more difficult!
exactly! developer houses in India, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Ukraine and China are doing $1500 sites for $500. I tend to get the Clients who want an English speaking American. Bless their slightly racist hearts. :-)
@Norman144: Being an Indian I got offended a little by your comment. Firstly, we are not illiterates and we do speak very good English. Secondly, the major work we get here is from the foreign clients.
Now, think about this. $1k amount is not enough, but you still take these projects because you don’t have any other option. The situation is same here, except for the fact that costs are much lower. People accept the deals to build websites at such low costs because if they start refusing to $500 to $1000 projects, somebody else would do it and probably at a lower cost.
@Nikita being offended is your choice. But after re-reading my comment, I feel I was clearly simply sharing a fact of my experience by describing the type of U.S clients that hire me. They often even mention in their proposals that they want “Perfect English speaking” developers. I love Indians. I love everyone actually. I outsource every now and then for things Im weak at like IE incompatibility issues and I have a friend from Pakistan I go to all the time. I was also being a bit sarcastic and this may have gotten lost in translation, the humor. Again, I love you Nikita :-)
No one can offend anyone. taking offense comes from your own thoughts about something.
@Norman144: Its alright. I just got a bit carried away.
I too am surprised at the amount of people earning under $1000 for client websites. I suppose there are very different grades of web development though, and I imagine that for under $1000, you’d be building a re-skinned WordPress theme or similar.
I work in a completely different realm – designing and building web applications from idea to full deployment. We charge AUD$150/hr, which is very much the average rate for this kind of work in Australia.
Absolutely Jayphen. We’re pretty much in the same boat. We simply can’t make web sites for $1000. Unless we could plan, wireframe, mockup, build and test in a day or two – which is extremely unlikely. It normally takes us a week for wireframing and mockups, then a week to build front end, then a week to build backend etc. Of course it depends on the site. I just don’t know how anyone can build a site so fast unless they’re using premade themes/templates or off the shelf CMS’s.
Think less, charge more.
I’m getting that idea… It’s a perception.. you want to buy expensive coding, not cheap coding
Perhaps a better direction for this discussion might be, how to charge, instead of how much do you charge. What’s the breakdown for a $2000 project? How do you determine that bill? I’ve been making a guess at billable hours within a 60-90 timeline.
@Michael, I’m on board with your last two comments! I would sign up for a class on how to charge for a $2500 site. And how to get the clients.
This is insane. I feel like css-tricks may just be a beginners playground. A website created from the ground up should be no less than 5,000 imho.
You’re either all copping wordpress themes – with no real skill or just underselling yourself.
Asking 2500 for a website isn’t anything. Web Developers / designers average salary is 60 – 90k. Ya’ll must be making pennies.
and after looking at everyones portfolios, I can see why you can’t charge more.
Brett, How many hours is a $5,000 website for you? And what kind of website is a starter 5 grand? I can easily imagine how a website would cost that much, but I’m just trying to understand the differences in caliber and price.
You basically said what I think a few of us wanted to. You’re right. $5000 for a properly designed, original, custom site, hand coded with semantic code, proper planning, wire framing, testing, deploying, and bug fixing, is actually very cheap.
Caroline, it’s not just about man-hours and the amount of pages etc that are produced. It’s about the actual quality of the design and the code. $5000 website from person X may be of a completely superior calibre to the same web site that cost $1000 with person Y.
Personally, people choose our studio because our design work is very unique, and high quality. When you factor we charge $100 an hour, and there’s 7 hours in a standard day of working, and it takes days just to do a full set of mockups, you can see where the costs add up. Again, 10 hours worth of designs from us (or other great designers), may be far superior to 10 hours worth of designs from another person/studio who is charging five times less.
I guess it all comes down to expectations, needs, and wants. We feel we still vastly undercharge for the work we do, and we’ll certainly be upping our prices over the next 12 – 24 months.
My Grandfather was an electronics expert, knew the nuts and bolts of every piece of equipment. If he found a new piece of equipment that he didn’t know about, he read the manuals and learnt about them.
He was called out to a job in the hills as some surveillance equipment was not working any more, he got to the business, they asked him how much to repair, he quoted $400 to fix the problem right away. They accepted, he went to look at the equipment, went to the van, came back inside, 5 mins changing a $3 diode, went back to the car, wrote out his $400 invoice and took it to the business owner.
They were shocked that he still charged $400 for 5 minutes and a $3 diode. They asked why he charged this much… He simply said $3 for the diode and $397 to know exactly where the problem was.
Knowledge is key, and as @Josh said above expanding your knowledge in areas online your value increases every time.
My hourly rate is $75/hr, and I then estimate how many pages will be made (x) the number or estimated hours to create a new template to start with (x) how many modules/plugins need to be configured and styled to suit. Generally the hours work out around 40-50 hours unless it is savagely large.
Speaking of prices…when people share their stories, their specific experiences like Ciaran, to me this is very helpful sharing and is priceless. Much gratitude and appreciation for this.
I too am always learning, that’s why we are developers right? I’ve spent the last few hours installing and watching Camtasia studio video tutorials, to step up my video tutorials making to help market my business a bit. Every spear moment is spent expanding knowledge, as it is key as Ciaran stated. We don’t go to developer’s heaven, we grow to developer’s heaven.
I only take on website development as part of developing a marketing plan. The entrepreneurial customers I serve usually have no sound marketing concepts. I become a kind of “junior partner” for a period often up to three years. It is fun (or I don’t do it), and rewarding.
Very interesting poll and comments, but as someone mentioned, timeframe and type of work have to be taken into consideration.
I’m in a small agency from Ukraine that does freelancing/outsourcing. We’ve had projects anywhere from $500 to $50k. On average, we can make about 12k from two on-going projects a month.
Having said that, it’s not easy at all to find a client that has the needs outlined above, but understands what it takes to achieve them. They’re usually attracted to scam Indian offers that can bid like $1500 for a 3 month complex project. Of course, they learn the difference soon enough, which leads us to another type of clients – who ask us to fix and salvage existing broken Indian code – naturally, structure-less and standard-less garbage of no use in all cases. Most of the time, they expect it to be fixed for cheap, because “the code is there”… Clients rarely understand that bad code needs a re-write from scratch.
I should also mention that good developers here can earn $4000 / month on average in big foreign software companies that open their offices here. This is very good, considering that cost of life is significantly less than in the good countries.
I’m still a student, and I’ve started taking part-time web-building projects on the side. I charge student prices (my last project was $400, some are even less) because honestly, that’s what I’m worth. I can easily see the differences in quality between my sites and those of a professional development company. But my single-employee companies and tiny non-profit clients couldn’t possibly afford them. They get a website that is much better than what they could build themselves, I get experience and just a little cash. As my skills improve I will absolutely charge more. The comments on this thread are very interesting and informative. Thanks!
People are building website for under 5k? … does it look like Craigslist and only work in iCab
Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!