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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict michaelwheaton's Avatar
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    Hi, I'm doing some work for a client and have no idea what to charge! What do you usually charge by the hour/page/job? The site is http://www.comoxrealestate.com/testing/ and is currently under construction. Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    Payment Acceptance Expert jconley2's Avatar
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    Do you mean charge for web design? This really just depends. The client would probably feel better if you did a package deal rather than hourly. But this is up to you. Depending on how advanced you are in designing will help you in determining how much to charge....$25, $50, $75 an hour. Or package deal....5 pages = $500, 10 = $1,000

    I don't know, I'm just shooting some numbers at you.

    Also, setup a maintenance deal after designing the site, to keep things up-to-date and fresh. This will result in recurring fees that you can really profit off of. Maybe charge $25 to $50 a month for this. Again, I don't know the average for web designers, I'm just passing out a few numbers.

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    <Edited by jconley2 on 01-28-2001 at 09:47 PM>

  3. #3
    Ex-SitePointer silver trophy
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    I don't even charge $25 an hour. More like $15. I mean, don't get the wrong idea, I could charge more, but I try to be near the cheapest of anyone and, unlike others, I am happy with what I recieve, even if its under $100 bucks.

  4. #4
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    Looks to be coming along well Michael.

    Most people take a while to learn how long it normally takes them do to things. After a while you can pretty accurately guess that a 5 page site design, construction and testing takes you between maybe 20 and 25 hours..whatever.

    But for now, I agree that you are better fixing a flat package cost. Perhaps you could even present 2 or 3 packages. Like a basic package with x pages and x functionality, and a slightly more functional site with extras like 'contact us' feed back forms and/or newsletter subscriber boxes.

    You can even take the 'would you like fries with that?' approach and make these elements modular, like little plug-ins. For example your bill might break down like this.

    BASIC SITE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION - $550 - YES
    NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBER BOX - $120 - YES
    DEPLOYMENT & HOSTING SETUP COSTS - $ 90 - YES
    DATABASED CONTENT ADMIN - $400 - NO
    CONTACT US FEEDBACK FORM - $120 - YES
    _______________________________________________
    TOTAL - $880

    This simplifies things for your client. They probably have no idea what a web site is worth either, but this gives them flexibility and input into the process while making you appear professional and thorough.

    Good Luck

    Alex
    Alex Walker
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    SitePoint - Learnable

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict michaelwheaton's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help. The client I'm working with now didn't even ask how much I charged and I have no idea what she is expecting. Should I ask her or just come up with a price and see what she says? Also, what do you think of the idea of saying something like "half of my competitor, guaranteed" ??? Any other thoughts on the situation?

  6. #6
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    I'm not super keen on the 'you tell me what you want to pay me for my work' approach. It's communicating to her that you don't know what your doing.

    Even if that was the case it's better to keep that information to yourself. She has shown the confidence in you to ask to do the job; respond to the request with the same confidence.

    Even though you may feel like you're probably doing a quite noble thing in allowing her to set your payrate, you're actually more likely just creating another problem for her.

    Think about it from her side.

    Everybody has been telling her for two years 'You know, you really, REALLY should get a website!' She has probably been moving the problem between her 'To-Do List' and her 'Too-Hard Basket' for most of that time.

    Now she has come to you to get this problem off both of those lists and onto her 'DONE list'.

    But now you want to create a new problem by asking her to figure out your payrate, right? She doesn't want to offend you by offering you too little, but she hasn't done this before either. She has no idea what is too little.

    Suddenly that 'Too-Hard Basket' doesn't look so bad after all.

    You mightn't know everything but you now have to be the brains in this operations

    I prefer the idea of undercutting your competitor, particularly if you can come up with an actual written quote
    rather than just a hearsay number. It shows some sincerity and it makes your client feel warm and fuzzy about what they are paying.

    Half price might be underselling your self a little.

    Unless your competitor's work is markedly better than yours I would pick 2/3 or 3/4 of his quote. That's a significant saving but means you consider your work in the same ballpark as you competitor. A better result.

    Hope that helps.

    Alex
    Alex Walker
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    SitePoint - Learnable

  7. #7
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    SOme very good comments have been brought up here! And I agree that you must try and appear professional and provide a written quote with everything broken down so that the client knows what they are paying for!

    An example:

    I am currently looking at installing a new heating system in my house. The first quote I got was cheaper thant he second one, but the second one came via the post as a written quote with business detials, registration numbers and assurenaces of gurantee/quality. Needless to say I will probably choose the more expensive one just for the peace of mind it is creating the image of offering me!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict michaelwheaton's Avatar
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    I completely agree with everything you have said here. I'm going to look at a couple of competitors sites, reduce the price, and present her with that. If she does complain that it is too high I either lower it or back it up by saying "it's 25% less than this competitor and took me this many hours to do". Thanks for all the help!

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard
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    If I were you, I wouldn't do business with a client who thinks you're too expensive, when you're clearly not.

    Most of the time this will lead to annoyed clients who find out they have to pay a tiny bit more. They don't want a good website, they just want a website! You'll be rushed and it won't be a good example of your work.

    One time this happened to me when I was charging $25/hr (but the client said that I told them it was $15/hr..) and worked for eight hours on a site. They rushed me (I originally told them it would take ~20 hours) and didn't respond when I needed stuff from them, such as intro text, because "it would slow down the project."

    That was the worst experience I've ever had with a client...the total project cost for a 10-20 page website, logo, and tracker was $135.

    Choose your clients carefully: look at early warnings to see if they are going to be more of a hassle than they are worth to you.

  10. #10
    ********* Addict jaiem's Avatar
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    Getting the client to provide some content is probably the hardest thing you'll find.

    As to price, I know you don't want to loose business but IMO set a fair competative price and be firm about it. Let them know the quality they are getting. Otherwise, the client will nickle and dime you over every charge. While that's good negotiation practice it's a real pain to deal with.
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  11. #11
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    ALWAYS make them sign something beforehand. Something that specifies how much it costs and that there is a 15% late fee for every month they don't pay up.

    You save yourself alot of grief doing that.

    As for pricing - for a nice multipage site I charge $1000. This includes up to 15 static pages, client side scripting, and custom graphics.

    Hosting and Maintenence is $50 a month total.

    For sites that require server side work I charge more, but that depends on the complexity of the coding.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard wdmny's Avatar
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    Design prices depend on skill and who the designer is. Some of the high-end designers will only do work that costs in $100,000s.

  13. #13
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    I find it hard to believe that anyone would pay $100,000 for design

    For an entire site sure, but a big portion, the majority, is for server side programming and applications development, not the design. It just blows my mind that anyone would pay that much for a simple static website.
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Member EnigmaedgE's Avatar
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    Just as a follow up question to the original intent of this thread:

    What categories would one break up the pricing to be if they want to add a package deal? I've seen some businesses break it down between the initial amount of static pages, the others like custom graphics, flash content, database integration, server side programming, and etc.

    What categories would we be looking at to break a website down to? I'm just curious what the poeple here would do.
    ...hey don't touch that...

  15. #15
    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    Isn't discussion of prices breaking some Anti-Trust law??

  16. #16
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    Since we are talking about the general philosophy of pricing services rather than specific incidences I would seriously doubt that we in danger of breaking any Anti-Trust laws. I don't think anyone here has quoted an actual price that they have charged for their work, or even specific clients situations (I know I certainly haven't).

    As for what might be included in your packages, that comes down to a combination of :
    - 1) Your skills (design, HTML, javascript, PHP etc)
    - 2) Your communication abilities
    - 3) A touch of marketing & sales. (Which is just doing your best to figure out what you think they want)

    First find out what you can about their business, and then surf around to see what other business's like them are doing. Get a feel for what's possible.

    Then before you meet the client, sit down with a pad and jot down :

    - 1) what you think they will actually need.
    - 2) what you think is the VERY LEAST they will need.
    - 3) what you think is the ABSOLUTE MOST they will need.

    This is the basis of your packages, and it will change for each client. More work...I know, but it's worth it, trust me.

    In other words, don't be tempted to sell them on the idea of a vBulletin forum and an XML databased content management system if you really don't think they will need it. There a few more mournful things on the web than an empty, dead forum. It will leave a nasty taste in your client's mouth.

    Remember your client probably has lots of business friends. You need these people saying "yeah, we used a local guy... he's really good. Made it real easy. Good value too. I think I've got his number here somewhere"

    Your package components might be made up of :
    -basic 5 page design charge
    -cost per extra page
    -newsletter subscription facilty
    -search facilty
    -banner exchange facilty
    -web stats & counter
    -forum / bulletin board
    -newsfeeds / stock quotes
    -databased content management
    -feedback forms
    -survey
    -mail-out facility
    -user access management
    -ecommerce / shopping cart facilty
    -flash/java apps

    But don't just list those items as I have.

    Particularly with smaller clients, put the emphasis on 'ease of understanding'.

    Like a good waiter, guide and recommend.

    I recommend the $3 burger (basic 5 page site), sir. I think you'll really enjoy some 75 cent fries with that (feedback form), and if you're still hungry I can recommend a $1 sundae (web stats) or a $1 apple pie (newsletter subscription function)

    It takes some experimentation and practice but it really pays off.

    Alex

    <Edited by AlexW on 01-31-2001 at 08:08 PM>
    Alex Walker
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  17. #17
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    I agree that each client is different and you need to gauge the situation. But when you break down a quote for a client be careful on what you use. For example I am developing a site for a client using PHP because they have a stock that changes on a weekly basis and they want to be able to make the changes themselves. Now all they are interested in is thafact that THEY can make the changes without having to pay me for maintenance, they don't want to know that the site is done in PHP and mySQL etc.

  18. #18
    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    Well in that case.....

    I charge a little above what I think I should, for a simple reason. This gives me room to negotiate. I have also learned the hard way that undercharging is painful

  19. #19
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Yes, but not TOO much

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard wdmny's Avatar
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    Your right, not JUST design but web development. I read it on the Adobe Web Showcase about a design firm that has designed sites for Jennifer Lopez, Puff Daddy, etc... The firm is Kioken.

    http://www.kioken.com
    http://www.adobe.com/web/gallery/kioken/main.html - Adobe Gallery on Kioken

  21. #21
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    By day i'm a bricks and mortar builder and by night i'm a website builder. I apply the same pricing techniques to both jobs. If someone wants me to build an extension I look at the size of the house, the size of the car in the drive, the cut of there cloth then think of a number and double it
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  22. #22
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    Originally posted by AlexW
    Looks to be coming along well Michael.

    BASIC SITE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION - $550 - YES
    NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBER BOX - $120 - YES
    DEPLOYMENT & HOSTING SETUP COSTS - $ 90 - YES
    DATABASED CONTENT ADMIN - $400 - NO
    CONTACT US FEEDBACK FORM - $120 - YES
    _______________________________________________
    TOTAL - $880

    This simplifies things for your client. They probably have no idea what a web site is worth either, but this gives them flexibility and input into the process while making you appear professional and thorough.

    Good Luck

    Alex
    Setting a pricelist beforehand is a good thing; however, I would like to know: what do you do in the event that you have a customer who deems it necessary to change the page at least another 5 times before they are satisfied?

    Do you eat this cost or do you charge more?

    If you base your rock-bottom prices on a set rate, it becomes hard to charge over and above that figure when you've spent far too much time on one given area of the design process.

    For instance:

    Your feedback form is $120. Obviously, you have a template form that you use (otherwise, this price isn't accurate), so you know what the form elements will include.

    On the other hand, the client now decides after seeing your feedback form, they want a short survey added to the form.

    Now -- it clearly shows you will need to spend additional time on this particular page, to revamp and make changes. Do you stay with the $120 price or... do you add additional design fees to the structure?

    I'd be interested in hearing views based on this scenerio.

    Thanks much!
    From: Rozey
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  23. #23
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    This is really just a communication and marketing issue. Like 'kit homes' and 'TV dinners', the standarization of any product or service produces cost benefits which are passed on to the consumer.

    This is a good thing for many people and it should be sold as such.

    For smaller clients with package deals (like our theoretical case above) you have to be very clear from the start exactly what lies within the realm of the package.

    In your initial consultation with the potential client you would be pressing the benefits of the 'completeness and ease' of the package. "We've thought of almost everything for you!"

    "But," you explain, "there are no limitations in the package deal, because we can easily customize any aspect of the functionality to your desires. Those customizations are simply charged at the our standard hourly rate". You don't sell it as a negative,.. it's an added benefit. The client can have a solid well-built 'kit' site, straight off the plans for a great price, or, for a little bit extra, they can have it work exactly the way the like.

    The best of both worlds!

    It's important to make this situation clear with the client from early on in the project. Most are more than happy to stick with the basic package when they know it will cost them more to fiddle around the edges. It's also helpful sometimes to talk about a possible 'Stage 2' of the project, when feature A, B and C could be added, if the client saw fit. This helps stop the current 'job scope' from creeping out, and keeps open the option for more work down the track a little.

    The key is:
    a) Get the visual design done, OK'ed and signed off on first. You really need to be a bit of a stickler here, or it will cost you.
    b) Don't do anything else till you've got all of the text and imagery from the client to complete the site with. You might have to take responsibility for 'organising them'. Make a checklist up for them detailing what you need from them to go to work. People will generally appreciate your professionalism.
    c) Factor in a fair and reasonable amount of revision time into your initial quote. It's reasonable to expect some tuning and polishing at the completion of the job.

    (BTW - Form customization isn't really too difficult or time consuming. Personally, I'd tend to let them add or subtract a few fields as part of the base price)

    Alex
    Last edited by AlexW; Feb 11, 2001 at 19:57.
    Alex Walker
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