Looking for a bit of advice

I have a project for a client that will involve designing a new website from scratch around 20 pages, copy editing, design, integration of social media and more, including a shopping system and ordering system of a hundre plus products. I know this project would run into 10k plus, yet the client is a new business and could not afford it. I have offered them a basic fee plus a monthly fee and wonder what i should cgharge monthly as they want me to update, write content and manage the whole site on an ongoing basis. What should i charge as a monthly fee.

10K ???

There are many free shopping carts to chose from, so you just charge what you consider reasonable to install the cart - say the equivalent of three to five hours at your hourly rate, buy a skin/theme/template and install that - another hour plus the cost of the skin, then build 20 pages. Not 10k, whatever currency you work in. Oh, and the shopping cart bit will actually take you an hour or so, you just charge more than that to allow for your time spent learning how to do it.

Client then adds the products to the shopping cart via its built in interface.

10K??? No way.

I asked for the same quote from a webdesign company and they quoted near 15k. The original site is 20 pages and the shop is seperate with a hundred products basic going up to 300 with various packages, seo, backlinking, monthly hosting, updates, copy editing, article writing, press release etc. So i was quoted around 15, i am doing it for them for around 1500 as they are friends and writing everything and managing the whole site, so i am not charging anything near what i was quoted but what is reasonable for a monthly fee for maintenance, marketing, writing etc.

Thats dollars not pounds

The $10K is an insane price quote. $1500 isn’t bad, though in my area (obviously prices vary per region and so forth) that would be a fairly standard quote, not a “between friends” price. And that’s assuming a real design from scratch (though using off-the-shelf items such as shopping carts and such), not a “storebought” template with content dropped into it and a project that can be completed in an afternoon.

Your monthly fee would center around how many hours a month you anticipate spending on the site. You might consider going “per hour” instead of a monthly stipend. You also want to set some guidelines in the contract, otherwise you risk working umpty hours, being called at 3 am for “emergency fixes,” being asked to completely redo the design, etc etc. What would constitute normal maintenance and upkeep, and what would go beyond those parameters?

Yes that’s what i thought, the price i was quoted was unbelievable, but considering the price i am charging for what i have to do, i have to say is reasonable. I guess you would not know unless you understood the workload. was going to charge around 75 bucks a month and say 600 dollars for the site. I would be the one updating and maintaining everything and orders, seo the lot.

I wouldn’t settle for those figures. $75 a month is roughly equivalent to two hours’ work, and that’s on the shy side. (I know plenty of design/dev folks who’d charge that or more for a single hour.) You go in with that quote, considering that you’re managing the site, and you’ll find yourself working for field hand wages. And $600 is a big lowball figure (at least in my estimation).

Remember, the site is for a business, and their ultimate business goal is to maximize profits. That includes paying you as little as they possibly can while they squeeze the maximum amount of work out of you. Your goal is to make as much money as you reasonably can for the work you provide, not to give these people what is essentially “free” upkeep.

I do two kinds of jobs: paid and pro bono. Pro bono gets done without a mention of money, but it takes place on my schedule and according to what and how much I want to do – it’s like working for Habitat for Humanity, if you don’t want to work the jackhammer, you don’t. Paid jobs are clear in what I will do, what I won’t do, how much I’ll get paid for it, when I’ll get paid for it, all the way down the line. The potential for abuse by your client if he blurs the lines between a client relationship and a friend relationship is enormous (“Gee, why won’t you redo the entire navigation scheme tonight as part of your normal maintenance fee? I thought we were friends.”). You did the right thing in coming in and asking about this, because you could be heading for a financial bruising.

Edit: Something that might interest you.

Well That depends. How “custom” is this site? Are you doing the creative as well? You mention content and copy writing ( heck if you have to buy stock photos they can run $50-100 a piece. I charge more if I have to actually TAKE the photos myself. Again cost is defined via teh UNIQUENESS OF THE WORK X the availability of the talent X time consumption + (your choice) consumables.

If they just want to install a Magento cart into an existing Joomla template, and they are giving you 100 emails of text to proof read… yeah $1500-1800 ( or $75-100 per mo) sounds about right.

All very helpful, i am providing the images, and doing all creative work, banners etc I am writing all the copy and doing all the integration with extras on the site as well as social media, driving traffic, seo. Actually, i am doing a heck of a lot and don’t want to lose out. I was going to charge what you mentioned plus around 100 bucks a month. It probably is not like other busnesses that provide content etc. I am doing the lot for them including managing it. I just want to get it right.

Pardon me for being flip or appearing disrespectful, but at your quoted prices, you’re not getting it right, you’re getting hosed.

forgive me for my ignorance, but “being hosed” do you mean i am being ripped off or they are, where would you suggest my price point should be.

You’re ripping yourself off. I know this because I did it to myself. Every new project I take on, I’ve charged more than the last project, not only because of complexity and individual details, but because I lowballed the hell out of myself on my first couple of projects and I didn’t have the cojones to just jack the price to a reasonable rate; instead, I escalated gradually, costing myself money along the way. Only with my most recent project (the terms of which were finalized today, oddly enough) do I feel like I’m charging a reasonable rate.

I can’t give you numbers on what is fair. That depends on what you’re offering, what the going rates in your area are, what the individual project entails, etc. You might be interested in reading some articles (from a casual Google search on hourly rates for freelance designers, though most designers, including myself, charge by the project):




Do you use a contract?

tHANKS For the articles, they are really helpful. I don’t use a contract at the moment, i was looking for one.

We bill usually 10% from the initial price per year, for support. But that doesn’t include maintaining the content of the website. Somebody asks us to build a website and we bill i.e. 3000. Every year we bill him again 300. For that money we fix problems the customer created, change or add little things on the website and update the things and for the use of our applications.
Some customers don’t want to pay a yearly fee, they get an higher initial bill and have to pay for every thing they ask us to do afterwards.
Then you have the customers who only want to pay very little money. We then just create limits on the application. I.e. a maximum of 1000 products can be added into the website. After a little while they often come to the conclusion that 1000 is not enough and then we raise the limit for a predefined amount of money per predefined amount of products. They are usually more then happy to pay for it, after they have seen that their sales or convenience has risen a lot.

In the passed we also did some projects for low (friendly) rates, but that doesn’t work really. They expect pretty much the same as the good paying customer. But since we want to make money, we will spend more time into the good paying customer then into the friendly customer.

Dude, don’t push a pixel or choose a color without one.

http://24ways.org/2008/contract-killer (either you love this or you hate it)



http://web.archive.org/web/20101113052409/http://www.acuitydesigns.net/5-free-web-design-proposal-contracts/ (not sure this one’s documents are available)

My contract has gotten tighter and more comprehensive as I’ve progressed. Right now it’s pretty watertight, but I imagine it will continue to evolve as I continue to work with chowderhead clients who don’t pay their bills, don’t send content, and toss out arbitrary deadlines with no notice. Among other things:

Client: Do you charge?
Me: Yes.
Client: Money?

sorry i have been busy lately sorting vehicles, thanks for this, i will grab one. Seems now i am getting busier, i should employ this protocol.

Some thoughts.

Based on your short description, you are in for a lot of work here. If you are a freelance designer the price might me a little on the high site (depends on your experience), if you are representing a company the price is too low for this project. In my experience and humble opinion.

Monthly payments:
Very dangerous path, specially with no contract. You need to calculate how much time it would take for the client to pay you back, and if it make sense for you to work (for free), and get paid later. You’re borrowing to the client at this point.
What do you do when the client decides not to pay? (you could take down the site, but you still don’t get payed for the work you did). If you decide to go this route, please have a contract.
What I would do in this case is treat it like a loan. Get the project cost, divide on number of months you would like it to be payed of, and add interest on the top. You could have something like $300 a month (for example), after the number of months are completed drop the price to something lower for monthly ongoing support and updates moving forward.

Hope it helps.

Thank you to all you guys for your help, but its all worked out brilliant. i ended up not chargng a penny and using it as part investment i the company for a share on the online and wholesale business. They recognized that we could work better as a partnership.