Estimate for custom WP skin

Would someone be able to tell me if 7 hours seems reasonable for this project? I’m still learning so don’t want to overcharge. The design will be provided to me and I’d do the xhtml, css, and everything to get it online and ready. The basics of the project are:

Custom blog skin (provided by company)
Blog to be hosted on client’s server (subdomain)
Google analytics installed on blog
Budget: 7 hrs.

Do you agree with 7 hours?

Yea, it should take longer than that definately, you might finish earlier…

It depends on how complicated the theme will be. Sometimes it will take an hour, sometimes it will take days.

Before you can give an estimate on the amount of hours the coding will take, you’d first need to see and analyse the layout. The coding of a layout can take a few hours or a few dozen hours. It not only depends on the layout, but on many other factors as well, such as your skill level, your tools, your testing methods, etc.

If you’re just starting out with this kind of stuff, I’d use a stop watch and time your work. The more often you do that, the better you can estimate how long a task will take.

I think 7 hours is a fair number of hours considering the things need to be done. Most designers I know would take one and a half day to complete the same the project.

Thanks everyone for your input.

kohoutek: in terms of my skill level, I know that I’m learning so it will take me longer. I was hoping to get an estimate to see what the time should take. You know like a car, mechanics estimate it based on what the book says. I’m sure it would take me double the amount of time.

Appreciate your feedback!

Hi Sculley,

the problem is that a website has far more variables than your car repair analogy, so it’s not possible to give an estimate by the book.

However, I do think that seven hours is not realistic, unless you have a very, very basic layout, very little typographic touches, need very little testing.

The cross-browser testing alone should take you at least an hour or two.

That leaves five hours. In those five hours you would create the layout, make sure you’ve included all possible element styles a user may implement when creating content (from a blockquote to a table), ensure that all WordPress files are properly configured/coded, remove extra bloat, install & configure WP, install & configure plugins like e.g. a contact form… no, seven hours won’t do, unless you’re working off some pre-configured library.

I think 12 hours is probably closer to the actual time it’ll take you.

Gosh…I really appreciate that, kohoutek! And I’m assuming you’re very skilled at this. They actually said that 7 hours was within range but they’re not really used to WordPress even though they made it sound like they are. Do you think it’s okay to tell them that I underestimated and it’s more like 12 hours? I told them I’m not a pro. Haven’t ever worked as a contractor for this kind of thing before.

I do not know the details of your agreement with your client. If nothing has been agreed on yet, then I’d list all the tasks that need to be done and tell them that for them to receive a quality, well-coded, cross-browser theme, it’ll take you xx hours total. 12 was just a number I threw in here. I just think 7 is unrealistic, given that you most likely do not have chunks of pre-written code in a library and have to do everything from scratch.

Gotcha. Thanks again! Yes, everything from scratch. It’s hard for me to estimate b/c it takes me much longer than a skilled person like you so don’t want to over estimate. That’s what I meant about the car analogy. How much would it take someone like you to do it and I eat the time I’m learning. I know all projects are different (this one not too complicated) but in general, I was looking for a ball park for a basic design. Thanks!!

if you do not mind us asking… how much per hour is the charge? You can give an estimate and not exact. Reason i ask is because i plan on charging for the same type of custom template services.

My suggestion would be to go by time estimate and charge what you normally charge per hour.

The hourly rate also depends on the difficult level of the job you are performing, i think 7 hours is reasonable to take on a basic design.


The thing is, many people think that coding a WP theme is just slamming some code on top of pre-existing code and making the homepage look nifty and sweet. Then throw in some jQuery plugins, add a shiny slideshow here and there, and be done with it. If that is the kind of design they’re looking for, then yes, 7 hours might suffice.

To me this is the equivalent of someone who hastily shoves all dirty laundry, plates, and other stuff under the couch because a neighbour rang and unexpectedly wants to pay a visit. Upon first sight, it might look halfway okay. When you look closer it’s… well, a work undone and unfinished. A “quick n’ dirty” job.

I don’t know how fast you are, but I would really try out a test. Code a design for a standard, modestly complicated designed blog. See how long it takes you to create the HTML structure, the CSS, the optimisation/cropping of graphics, the cross-browser testing, and all other tasks involved.

I know I have never been able to complete a design “from scratch” in seven hours. It just doesn’t work for me, but then again, I rarely code simple designs.

If you don’t mind me saying, why not do a couple of free projects first, even for your own websites just to test your own skills and speed? You can even do a couple of WP themes and just donate them to the community via the shared WP theme directory. Add a link to your web design site and you get some free promotion in return as well :slight_smile:

7 hours seems a little bit low to me, but it really depends on how complicated the design is. 10-12 seems more likely to me.

I have to echo what others are saying. 7 hours is not good enough unless the blog is as simple as imaginable. But it depends upon your skill level as well. But for me, 7 hour is not good enough.

agree wid u

7 Hours seems like a lot. But then again it depends if you are doing all the sub-pages in the templates.

Actually thinking about it 7 hours seems reasonable. I would consider this a full days job, or spread it into 2 days personally.

Hi Sculley. Wordpress templates can take quite a while the first time you make one, but it also depends on how much you want to customize it. Seven hours is probably ok if you know where you need to make changes in the code, are only changing the graphics/styles and are keeping the default functionality of the template.

The first time I made a Wordpress template (not for a project, but just to learn) it took about 20-25 hours. Most of that time went to researching widgets, a lot of customization of the PHP code, and making sure everything actually works.

As far as agreeing to hours for a project, it is probably better to give yourself a little extra time, even if just for changes or bugs that might pop up at the end of a project. Things rarely fall into place the first time around.

Is your client willing to pay for your learning curve? It would be worth asking them about it if you aren’t sure.