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Web-desgin pricing

edited October 2006 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
Hello all, I am brand new to the forum, well not brand new, I have been a member for a while just have never had anything substantial to post. Anyway, I am a senior about to graduate with my bachelor's in Computer Science with focus on CIS. I have a personal website and I built one for the resturaunt I work for(, just because I was bored and it would look good on a resume. Since then I have been asked to draw up a contract to do 3 other resturaunts as well as Fly Water Construction which is a brand new environmental contractor here in the Rocky Mountains. My question to everyone is how should I calculate what to charge and how much. I will be charging them all an initial setup and design fee as well as a monthly maintenance fee. Any links, advice, or comments is greatly appreciated! Thanks! - Chace


  • charge what you want to earn for the work you do. if you want to earn $1 an hour, charge $1 an hour. oh and learn css before you go charging anybody for a website.
  • Yeah I have come to that understanding, however I need a justification for why I will be charging that amount. Besides that I don't think that doing web-design can be rated hourly.
  • well yes web design can be rated hourly. Most people charge anywhere between $200 to $1000 for a design.

    However i cant say your design is professional. Maybe consider more practice first using xhtml and css.
  • I do know xhtml and css, any other suggestions?
  • edited July 2006
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    NEVER do flat rates for projects. It is the biggest mistake you can make as a freelance programmer.

    They are paying you to do the job because they don't have the skills to do it themselves. That is the only justification you need.

    Bill hourly. Every hour you work you get paid for. Period.

    I've made the mistake of charging a flat rate before, and you end up making absolutely nothing. They will make you work for a year on what should have taken a month.
  • That makes sense Mark. I guess my next question would be how to set up the contract. List the objectives of the site and calculate the hours worked based on how long it took to finish those objectives, that way there isn't a lot of scope creep on the project?
  • BentotBentot New
    edited July 2006
    I usually charge 2-3 hours per page for $40/hour and they're fine with it. An additional $500 if they want Search Engine Natural Placement.
  • Really? That seems reasonable, talk about taking your time to make it nice!
  • I'm on the other end of the deal, I have to pay for web design and I much rather get a flat fee. That keeps the designer acccountable to getting it done in a reasonable amount of time so he won't go broke on the project, and that is easier for me to stomach than an open ended hourly deal and wondering if he is watching a movie and billing me, or wondering if he even keeps a good record of his hours. Plus once you get some routine coding down and can plug stuff into other future sites you can still charge a good flat rate and take less time. As a guy who pays for sites, I have no clue about how much work goes into building a website. I'm not saying be sneaky, but charge a fare market rate and if you are smart enough to reuse elements from other sites and save time then kudos to you. On the other hand, I will work a guy to death unless he gives me boundaries upfront. A site I am having designed right now, the guy was super detailed in a contract proposal that I had to sign. He outlined each item he would do, how much it would cost, and what its function would be. That way its set in stone before we started and I can't keep nagging him for more things without him charging me. Then any maintenence done beyond initial design is billed to me at an hourly rate. So my vote as a person who has to hire design is to pay a flat rate for initial design, then an hourly rate for maintenence. Of course you are going to have to figure out what you want to charge. But don't go charging a pro price if the work they get isn't pro. If you develop a good name you can demand a higher price. Or sometimes you might run across the idiot who has deep pockets and doesn't care. Just my two cents from a guy on the other side.
  • @trafik That helps a lot! I was leaning towards a flat rate for design and implementation but a monthly fee for maintenence. Of course my initial flat rate fee should be calculated for myself to determine what a fair figure would be to allow a fair deel not only for the client but myself as well. Thanks for you help.
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    I'm telling you: Never charge flat fees in this business. Of course Trafik wants a designer to give him a flat fee, because it means that he can keep asking for changes forever, justifying it with something as simple as "Well, you didn't understand exactly what I wanted. So, if you could just make this one more change..."

    You will end up working forever and not making any more money for your efforts. It's a mug's game. Charge a flat hourly rate, make good estimations and hit those estimations. Your clients will get what they want, they will be accountable for change requests, and you'll get paid properly for your work.
  • I guess it all depends on who you are doing work for. The safe side would be charging hourly, but I am super hesitant about hourly because I feel like it exposes me for abuse the same way Mark feels exposed on the flat fee. If you are good enough you can ask for whatever price structure you want. I guess it all comes down to the results you deliver. If the guy is good enough I will pay hourly for him as long as his reputation with others is good. Just be worth your price and don't screw anybody.
  • I do not like the flat fee scenario at all. I would definitely provide a solid estimate based on the client's original proposal. If you are way off, then have the documentation to back it up. If you were just not competent and it took you much longer to complete, then do not expect any referrals. Either way, make sure to: Document every single form of communication between you and your client. Never leave things in the air. Make sure to get oral requests on paper/email. Best of luck. Based on this discussion, it shows that web design can be rather tedious. At times, it will. However, it can also be a lot of fun.
  • IMHO the only way you should work for a flat fee is if the scope is VERY clearly and precisely documented and signed off on by the customer. You set the customer's expectations from the beginning and make clear what the contract covers and what extra cost will be incurred for extras (hourly). The last project I did for a flat fee is the last i'll ever do, for exactly the reasons Mark described. @trafik There's a certain level of trust involved in hiring anyone. Hiring a freelancer is no different. If they're unable to provide references becuase they're new to the 'scene' the the cost will probably be comparatively lower and you're taking on risk in exchange for a chance at a smaller payout. If they're able to provide good solid references, that should establish a level of trust you can deal with, just like any business relationship.
  • TreyTrey Charlotte NC New
    just my thoughts, I once did a flat rate fee for a project here, and that also is the last time I'll do that. I had everything written down on paper for what he wanted done, and he agreed to everything that was written down. He knew how to code html and css, but he didnt know php or how to work with databases, and with everything he agreed to, all I would have had to do was create the databases (which was only 2), and then make the forms submissions go into the databases to record the results. I was cool with that and figured it would take less then a day to do so I said 100 bucks would be good. I got everything done within a day, and when he first looked at it he was happy with everything it did, and how it displayed the results. 2 days later he sent me an email asking me to change some things, which included adding another column to the database, and since he already paid me he though it would be included with that. So editing the 3 pages that I already made, and the the database was a pain, and was another 3 or 4 hours of work on the site. In the long run, I prolly would have been better off charging him like 10 bucks an hour, and I would have made out fine. Its pretty easy to keep track of how much time you work on it also. Just put at the top of the files what time you started, and what time you finished or took little breaks.
  • This is great, all your comments are really helpful, and I think I can come up with some reasonable offers. Thanks for all your help!
  • I'm with Mark on this one too. I found that my clients balked at a per/hour rate so I used to quote a flat fee after the job and its components was understood by both parties. No matter how well you know the client or how good your work is, they will ALWAYS want more for nothing extra. They will always change their minds, negating hours of your work and expect changes done for nothing extra.

    I now provide an estimated cost along with a list of tasks to be completed by me, as well as expectations of the client which we both agree to and sign. Anything extra is quoted separately. I'm only a mug once.
  • Uh, what's with the green?
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    Luck of the Irish?
This discussion has been closed.