Do you want to know how much you can charge your client for website design and maintenance? If you are asking this question, you are probably new in this kind of career and know that doing them can be a lucrative and fun hobby and job. You know that doing it can be exciting but scary at the same time because of the uncertainties.
When it was my first time engaging in this job, I felt excited and worried at the same time because of the “how much” questions forming in my mind. I felt scared because I did not know where to start and how much should I charge my clients.
I know that I have the skills, but starting has always been the most challenging part.
Now that I am doing it as a lucrative career, I want to share my experience with those who are like me who aspire to make much money out of website design and maintenance.
I am confident to say that you will have much courage to dive into this career once you know how to start and learn everything that you need to know, like how much we should charge a client.
What You Will Need
If you want your clients to take your price seriously, you should make an impression that you are an expert and a professional. You should prove to your clients that you have what it takes for this job. It includes showing them your portfolio and your authority in the industry.
Therefore, I list all the things that you need. Many of these lists are not a requirement for doing your job per se, but it is highly advisable to have them to make a good impression. Having a good impact tells your client that you are worth a reasonable price.
By knowing all the tools that you will need, you will have an idea of what to include how much to charge your client.
1. Prospect Clients and Emergency Expense Savings
Before considering website design and maintenance as your full-time career and quitting your job, you must be pitching your prospects first. Be sure that you have enough clients.
Doing website design and maintenance takes a lot of investments and recurring bills, which are electricity and Internet subscription. For this reason, you should get clients that pay enough to cover your bills and other crucial expenses.
There are plenty of ways that you can introduce yourself to your target clients. One of them is to send a business card in every opportunity you have.
You also need to make sure to save for your Emergency Expense from 6 to 12 months because there is no assurance that you have clients all the time. During those downtimes, when you do not have much income because you do not have a client, it is your Emergency Expense Savings that you can use to suffice your needs.
2. Professional Website
The second thing that you should have is a professional website. Its purpose is to showcase your capabilities to your prospective clients. It is also where you can post your other works. It is also a great place where you can showcase the various brands that you have worked previously.
Having a professional website also shows your client that you are indeed a website designer because you have a website that you designed and maintained yourself.
Therefore, make sure to put a lot of effort into making your professional website.
3. Write a Proposal Template
Writing a proposal template simplifies and provides an overview of the process. Thus, it saves a lot of time.
By writing this template, your client will thank you, and you will also thank yourself for making it. Having a proposal also organizes your plans on the project. Therefore, making a presentation to your client will be clear and spontaneous.
Because a proposal includes lists of services that you render for your client, you can estimate how much the cost of the expenses. It is highly advantageous if your client wants to pay you on a per-project basis.
Your client will have an idea of your style and skills, which allows you to communicate with your client on a much deeper level, and it will also encourage him or her to make some input.
Aside from the lists of services that you will render for the site, you also should include the plan of your design. It should consist of the explanation of how your design can solve the website’s problem, the goals of the design, and the timeline of the designing phase.
To create a proposal for several clients, you should create a template beforehand to save your time. You only have to tweak some changes to the model based on your clients’ wants and needs and the project’s design.
4. Social Media Page or Account for Business
If you want to get some clients, you need to let them know that you exist. What you can do to enhance your visibility is to build a social media account or page for your business. It is an excellent idea because billions of people are using social media.
You can use social media platforms to post content, which proves your expertise in your field. MarketingSherpa stated that 95 percent of people whose age ranges from 18 to 34 follow their favorite brands on social media when they see that a brand provides valuable content.
For this reason, it will be easy for you to promote your business because people on social media are more receptive to messages. It will also be easier for you to get to know your prospective clients, which enables you to have an idea of how you will market yourself. You will know what they want and need, which is the necessary information that you can use.
Therefore, even if your target customers have not heard about your business before, it provides an opportunity for them to get to know your business or services.
5. Decent Computer
Because you are a designer, do not get the wrong impression that you should aim to get the most expensive laptop with spectacular specs. Although there is nothing wrong with buying it if you can afford it, it is not necessary for your job. However, what is advantageous about being a website designer is that you do not have to get a pricey laptop with an i9 processor and 32GB RAM like graphic designers.
Yet, if you can afford to get a computer with a large screen monitor, then go for it. It is not necessary, but it will help you work better and more efficiently. A large screen monitor provides a more significant number of pixels that you need to create a website.
It is also advisable to buy a laptop instead of a PC. It allows you to move around. It is highly advantageous because it enables you to work anywhere, especially if you have several clients to showcase your project.
If you have a laptop, you can directly show your client what you are working on if you have to meet. Your client will understand more deeply because he or she can see the processes live.
If you have something to invest on in choosing a computer, it is the SSD hard drive. For your job, having a fast hard drive is more important than a processor. An SSD hard drive allows your computer to boot fast.
In your job, having a fast hard disk is more important than having a fast processor. Being a website designer requires you to open and close files all the time. Therefore, a fast hard disk enables you to do this task fast.
For this reason, it will save you a lot of time, which you can use for doing the most critical parts of the project.
6. Internet Connection
High Internet speed is also worth an investment. It is because you will be uploading and downloading files all the time. That is why you need to subscribe to an Internet plan offering at least 40 Mbps speed.
7. Software and Applications
To charge for a competitive price, you need to invest in some software and applications that can help you work faster and more efficiently. Here is some software that you should consider owning.
This app allows you to create different fonts by using your handwriting. It takes only five minutes to create one using this app. What you only need to do is convert the font you emailed into TFF.
It allows you to be creative and to create unique designs that you are sure that only your client will have, which is another reason you can demand a reasonable price of your services.
You do not have to pay to own this software, but it is beneficial for designers. This software helps you create palettes with up to five colors using a color wheel. You can also pick colors from the real world when you use the mobile app.
If you want to create a design for your client’s website in the traditional HTML or CSS coding, you can use this app. Coda is a website development app you can use for coding, editing, and more.
It is another app that you can add on your lists if you also have to create a responsive website that looks great on mobile phones. This app allows you to stylize and work on your designs to make the website viewable in various devices.
Adobe Creative Suites
You also need to invest in photo editing software, illustrator, and the like. Adobe Creative Suites is the most popular tool for designers. It includes essentials like Photoshop, Animate, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Premiere Pro.
8. Graphic Tablet and Pen
Having a graphic tablet and pen is not a requirement, but it is highly advisable. If you ever have tried to draw on MS Paint or Photoshop, you know how difficult it is to do it with a mouse. It is hard to control the mouse to do every stroke that needs intricate details.
If you plan to create a new font, for example, having a tablet and pen will make your designing life easy. It is almost impossible to create new fonts with just using a mouse unless your client agrees to buy a license for already made fonts.
9. Storage Solution
Accidents happen. If it does, it may cause all your efforts to go down to the drain. That is why it is essential to own a backup device where you can store all your work so you will not lose it.
Although cloud storage sounds good, investing in network-attached storage (NAS) is more advisable because of the greater control it provides. Cloud storage, on the other hand, is unpredictable.
Do not agree to work with a client without signing a contract. Commonly, it is the client who issues this paper. However, if your client does not create one, make one yourself, and have the client sign it.
If your client does not agree to sign the contract, fire him or her. A contract protects you and your client from being taken advantage of. It ensures that that business between you and your client flows smoothly with minimal issues. If you know your client on a personal level, it will help protect your relationship.
The contract is essential primarily if you work alone so that you and your client can fully understand each other’s’ terms. It is what you will be holding on if your client does not pay you or if he or she demands more than what you should do.
Step-by-Step on How to Charge Your Clients
How you charge your client varies on the functionality, size, and complexity of the website. It also includes other charges like the bills for the electricity and equipment you use for creating your client’s website.
The typical price range for website maintenance is from 35 to 5000 per month, depending on the website’s requirements.
Aside from these important considerations, you should also consider these factors when charging your client.
1. Learn About Your Skill-Level First
It includes how good you are, years of your experience, and how fast you can work on a project. It also involves your skills on how you can handle big projects.
You can judge your skill level with the projects you already made. Ask yourself if you are proud to show it to your client or if your previous client is bragging about it.
You should also assess how much about SEO, do you know.
2. Compute the Cost of Living Plus the Capital You Invested to Establish This Career
How you charge your client should also include the daily expenses, food, bills, recurring cost on your investments. It also should cover retirement, vacation, taxes, and healthcare.
Remember that you are working independently and not in a company, that is why no one will shoulder your healthcare insurance payments but yourself. That is why it is necessary to include these expenses in your charges too.
To compute the charges, divide the total amount of expenses by the number of hours you plan to work in a year. If you plan to work 40 hours per week, it will result in a total of 2080 hours (40 hours multiplied by 52 weeks).
However, you should also consider how many days do you plan to use for vacation. Let us say; it is for two weeks.
Therefore, 2000 is the total billable hours. It is 2080 minus the two weeks, which is 40 hours each.
3. Determine How You Should Charge Your Client on Website Design Services
Determine how you want your client to charge you. As a website designer, a client can charge you per hour, per project, or page.
The most ideal and more beneficial for you is the payment for a per hour basis. The typical range for this payment method is 30 to 80 dollars per hour, depending on the skill and the complexity of the job.
A per-hour payment basis is an ideal option if you do not have an idea of how long a design project will last.
The problem that arises in this method is the possibility of clients to demand some extra tasks, which is outside the contract. It is up to you if you are going to agree to it. If you do, make sure to write it out and have them pay for it.
The next one is per project, which is what clients prefer the most, because of the fixed price to pay for your design. If the contract is clear, you can agree to this type of payment.
However, if not, have your client agree to a per-hour payment method. Your client might take advantage by demanding more tasks and features for the website. If your client does it, make sure that your client will pay you for every extra job they ask that is outside the plan.
If you do not have any other choice but to agree on a project-based job, you need to estimate the time frame accurately because you do not want to get a lower payment for the design project you made.
Also, before agreeing to a price, ask questions as much as you can. Being clear about almost everything will protect you from being taken advantage of if you have to agree on a per-project payment.
The typical price range for the overall cost is 6760 dollars. The website setup is commonly at 160 dollars, website building is 5000 dollars, client training is 600 dollars, website maintenance is 500 dollars, and content creation is at 500 dollars.
This price may vary depending on the complexity and the maintenance required for the site.
Some website designers charge their clients on a per-page basis. When website development was new in the industry, it was not surprising that many website designers charge their clients on a per-page basis. However, because of the changes in website design trends, it is uncommon to see website designers charging on a per-page basis nowadays.
There are still a few who charge this way, but as much as possible, choose the per hour or per or per project payment basis. It is because nowadays, the length of a website page varies. It is also common these days that a website contains several pages with different design functionalities.
However, if you think that your client’s website is best to be charged on a per-page basis, his or her website should only include a few pages with simple design and functionality.
4. Charge for Maintenance
After finishing the website design project, it does not mean that it is already the end, and you can say goodbye to it. Websites need updates and maintenance, which you can also do as a part of your services. You can charge them per update or month, depending on the website’s requirement or type.
The price commonly ranges from 30 to 1500 dollars per month.
Maintenance of a website includes the following services, which are just the basic ones.
Website speed checking
Speed is vital in a website. It is one of the factors why an audience chooses to stay on a website.
Scanning for vulnerabilities.
It is also your job to check if any spams surpass the filters, or nobody hacked the website.
SEO changes from time to time. One of the goals of having a website is to rank better on search engines. SEO makes it possible.
Therefore, you should check about the site rankings on Google’s results, and see what you can do to improve the website’s SEO.
You should check the possible problems on a website. It includes bugs and broken links. It is also a part of your job to fix them.
Website speed checking
You should check the metrics of the site through Google Analytics.
Compatibility of the website on different browsers
Some websites do not function well on some browsers. You need to test the site if it has no problem loading on various platforms.
You must check the website’s forms like the sign-up, message, and contacts if they are working.
Many websites nowadays make use of software, which needs an update from time to time. It includes the CMS that contains the plugins and themes.
Not all contents are evergreen. Although some clients hire a different professional like a virtual assistant to do this job, sometimes the client might ask you to do it too. Outdated contents need an update because it can affect the client or the brand’s reputation.
Checking the content also needs fixing mistakes and uploading new posts. These services are the basic ones. You do not need all of them because some clients hire other professionals to do some of the website’s maintenance.
However, the website’s maintenance needs depending on the type and complexity of a website. E-commerce sites are commonly the ones that need thorough maintenance because of the products being checked in and out from time to time.
On the other hand, a personal website is the easiest one to maintain. The cost ranges from 5 to 25 dollars. Customized e-commerce websites range from 2000 to 5000 dollars per month.
Compare Your Price to the Others
Once you have an idea of how much you can charge your client on your design, you need to research to determine if you set a decent and reasonable price. There are several ways that you can compare your worth in the market.
First, you can do your research on websites like Payscale or Glassdoors. Second, you can ask your competitors how much do they charge their clients on their design by pretending to be a client yourself. You may also ask your friends and acquaintances who have the same job.
Third, join a professional organization of website designers. There are a lot of groups and organizations you can find on Facebook. You can ask your questions, not just about charging your clients, but also on other website design problems that you have.
Lastly, you can attend some business conventions to ask the clients yourself.
Do you now have an idea of how much you can charge your clients on web design? I hope that you have learned a lot from this article and enjoyed reading it.
Having the right knowledge about charging your client on your design is vital because it prevents you from overcharging. It also prevents sly clients from taking advantage of you, because you know the factors that you need to consider when charging.
Moreover, it will also give you some confidence to pursue your dream job to design a website because it answers some of your questions. If you have additional advice, you may use the comment section to voice out your opinion and expertise. Also, if you know someone who can benefit from this article, please share it.