Knowing how much to charge for website design is essential if you hope to sustain and grow your business. But when it comes to setting your prices, it can sometimes feel like you’re shooting in the dark.
As you’ll quickly learn from doing any amount of research on this subject, there is no clear-cut answer to this question. Some businesses charge as little as a few hundred dollars for website design, while others charge $50,000+!
But that still leaves the question – how much should you charge?
Rather than choosing a number out of thin air or averaging the rates of your competitors, this article will walk you through the steps to create a pricing model that makes sense for your business.
How Much to Charge for Website Design – The Ultimate Guide
As a website designer, your rates depend on several factors. But above all else, your prices need to accomplish two things:
- They need to sustain your business.
- They need to match what your ideal client is able and willing to pay.
Keeping these two factors in mind will drastically simplify the process of determining how much to charge for your services.
So, we’ll start with the first piece of the puzzle – what prices are needed to sustain your business?
Step 1: Determine your revenue goal
The best way to make sure your prices are sustainable is to work backward from your revenue goal. How much money are you aiming to bring into your business each year?
You don’t want to pull this number out of thin air, either. Write out how much money you need to cover your salary, the salaries of any people you employ, and any fixed expenses your business has.
These calculations will help you understand your bare minimum (i.e. the amount of money you need to make to stay in business). But we don’t just want to scrape by – we want our businesses to thrive!
So, make sure to include some cushion in your revenue goal. This will allow you to reinvest in your business, save for the future, and capitalize on opportunities.
Your goal should be realistic, but it should also stretch you and maybe even scare you a little. Remember, it’s just a goal – the worst that can happen is that you don’t reach it.
Beginning with your revenue goal is essential to informing your pricing strategy. This way, you can be confident that your prices are high enough to keep the lights on.
Write down: My annual revenue goal is: $__________.
Step 2: Factor in your time constraints
After you’ve determined your annual revenue goal, the next step is to figure out how many website design projects you can realistically complete in a year.
This number will obviously vary depending on factors like project scope and whether you have employees.
But for the purpose of this calculation, consider your average website client. How long do you anticipate the typical website design project to take? And how many website clients can you take on at one time?
Estimating project timeframes can be difficult if you don’t yet have much experience working with clients or you don’t have an established client process. When in doubt, it’s better to overestimate by a week or two. You can always redo this calculation after you have a few projects under your belt!
Once you know about how many weeks you’ll spend on each client, you can determine the number of website design projects you’re able to take each year. Simply divide the number of weeks your business will be open by the number of weeks a typical project takes you.
Write down: I can take on ______ website design clients each year.
Step 3: Do some math to determine your per-project rate
Now, it’s time to do some math. Don’t worry, creatives – it’s a simple division problem.
Take your revenue goal from step one and divide it by the number of projects you determined in step two. The result will be a per-project rate that matches your revenue goal.
This number represents what you should charge for an average project. You’ll likely have clients with projects that are smaller than this and some with larger ones. But now, you have a ballpark idea of how much to charge for website design if you want to reach your revenue goal.
Website designers have all kinds of different pricing models – some prefer to charge per project, some work by the hour, and others charge their clients a monthly fee.
No matter how you decide to break up your payments, you can use the number you just calculated to determine your rates. Simply divide that number by the number of hours you plan on devoting to a certain project, and BAM – that’s your hourly rate.
But we’re not done! We still have one vital consideration to make.
Write down: My (tentative) per-project rate is $_________.
Step 4: Evaluate and adapt
We’ve covered how to formulate prices that help you sustain and grow your business, but there’s still one vital consideration to make – whether or not your ideal client can afford your prices.
Perform a reality check on your prices. Do they match what your ideal client is willing and able to pay for your services?
If not, there are two courses of action you can take:
- Adjust your offers and prices to match the needs of your ideal client.
- Find a new ideal client.
In most cases, I’d recommend the former. You likely built your business to help a certain type of person, and you should cater your products and services to whoever that is.
To bring this idea into reality, let’s say your ideal website design clients are bloggers.
Most bloggers are solopreneurs with smaller budgets, so they’re probably looking for relatively inexpensive website solutions. If you truly want to serve them well, you’ll need to create a service package that fits their needs and their budgets.
Before settling on this rate, you should also consider whether it fits your level of experience and the value you’re capable of offering your clients. You should be confident that the result you produce for your clients outweighs their investment in your services.
As you adjust the size and scope of your website design projects, return to step two to adjust the time you’ll need to spend on each project. This will inevitably change your calculation in step three in a way that better suits your ideal client.
Write down: My adjusted per-project rate is $_________.
This method of determining your pricing places an emphasis on the value you’re creating for your clients. Rather than putting a dollar value on each hour of your time, you’ll be getting paid for the result you create for them.
That’s why this method is the best way to determine how much to charge for website design! It ensures your pricing model will be sustainable for your business while matching the needs of your clients.
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