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Quick! what should i charge?
doing some freelance websites.

 2:49 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hello, I am a webmaster and a SEO, and i do work for my company.

I have been approached by an outside source who wants me to do a website for him.

I have no idea what they are charging these days for websites!

What should i say?



 2:52 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

First you have to decide if you want to charge by the hour or the job. Which will it be?


 2:55 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Um. good question. I would like to charge by the job, but he will probably want updates later.

Well, lets say i was paying by the job. what does that go for these days?


 2:58 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Depends very much on what kind of site they want.

Do they want an all singing and dancing asp site with shopping carts and online availability, inventory control and a foolproof CMS system or do they want a small 6 page static portfolio site?


 3:03 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

The advantage to charging by the job is you know what you will make and the client knows what the job will cost.

The disadvantage is that you need a very thorough understanding of what the client wants - and the client needs a very thorough understanding of what he/she will get.

How big a site? Who is providing photos? Text? How complicated is the programming? Will you be doing SEO or just programming? Will you do the design or do they have something already? If you, how many different design options will you provide?

Any database work? Other features?

If you have a handle on all of that, start to caluculate what it will cost you in terms of time. Then decide how much that time is worth to you.


 3:03 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Before you can ascertain what to charge, you need to find out what they want.

Ask a lot of questions before throwing numbers around.

Once you are fairly confident that you understand their expectations, you can price it accordingly, I don't think there is any "off the shelf" type pricing that would serve you or the client very well at this point.


 3:11 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

(1) Get a reasonable understanding of what the client wants
(2) Convert that to work hours (guesstimate)
(3) Multiply (2) by pi (3.1415926...)
(4) Multiply (3) by your average (or desired) hourly rate
(5) Quote it, prepare for "too expensive"
(6) Offer 20-33% off for new biz

-with new clients this works for me, and that way (the pi thing) you're also a bit flexible; the unexpected does happen.

Return customers are normally easier to calculate, as you know their expectations better.


[edited by: claus at 3:13 pm (utc) on Aug. 27, 2003]


 3:13 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, you all arent being very helpfull. throw some numbers at me! <G>

Boiled down, I will be:

creating the website.
useing a database to spawn out pages.
adding a simple request form.
doing SEO.
Submitting to sites.

ANy rounded off number you can gleam form that?


 3:22 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

weblamer2 I think claus gave you an excellent answer in his post ... it is very clear and indicates some issues you need to consider to work out your own pricing ..


 3:25 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think claus gave you an excellent answer in his post

I agree that some additional contingency time should be built in - but I would hope it doesn't need to be a factor of 3! :)


 3:33 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

ANy rounded off number you can gleam form that?

Do you have to do any server-side configuration or installation of software? Do you have to write the code for the site from scratch or will you use something already written for that purpose? Are you designing from scratch, how graphic intensive will your development be, does it require custom graphic work? Does the client have a host, do they support what you intend to implement? Or will you have to move the site and configure a new server or host account? If so, any set-up fees or other associated overhead?

It's really difficult to give you a specific round number, because there are so many variables. Aside from what I mention, and what others have mentioned (claus, that was excellent, btw), the right quote for you may be very different from the quote I'd give someone, simply because of regional differences in the market and our hourly rates.

Bottomline: it's YOUR freelance business and you are the boss - so you have to value your services and charge accordingly. Sorry if this seems harsh, but all of us who are in the business have had to do that for ourselves based on the market, our experience and our situation. It just comes with the territory.

Have you googled for designers in your region? What do they typically do? That should give you a starting point.



 4:15 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> a factor of 3!

- this is not as far out as it sounds. Think about it. First, you have the new biz bonus. That means it can go all the way down to a factor of 2, if you're that confident with it all.

Then, if you have estimated that you have 8 hours a day and you also have a deadline, perhaps you will end up using 10-12 hours a day due to the unexpected. The hours spent unexpected should not have the same cost as the expected hours, as you do have to put other things aside for those. For this reason the unexpected hours should cost more.

The unexpected is not necessarily customer dependent; you tend to budget you time according to some unrealistic optimum situation and forget stuff like breaks, (forced) time off for this or that reason, disease, accidents, other simultaneus jobs, system crashes, unexpected configurations of this or that, not getting your required materials on time and so on... all the stuff that just make the darn thing take longer.

Then the customer wants new or changed features. And within the scope of reasonability you are also prepared to provide those, as it is a new customer after all and it's nice to deliver on time and on budget.

Three is not a high number in a new project. And then Pi is easy to remember ;)



-i forgot to mention: You also want a little profit from it of course, so that you will be able to take a holiday sometime or buy some stuff after the taxman has been around, or perhaps even plan for retirement sometime. If your projects do not earn you a positive profit, there's really no point in it as you do have expenses also.

[edited by: claus at 4:28 pm (utc) on Aug. 27, 2003]


 4:21 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey WebLamer2, you probably won't get numbers here, all you can do is use these guidelines to come up with a fee your happy with. If you got numbers, you could get anywhere between $200 - $10K, so it wouldn't help you much either.

Andrew Thomas

 4:23 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Have you googled for designers in your region? What do they typically do? That should give you a starting point.

This is what i did for my first job.
It also depends on your skill set, can you produce a high quality good looking web site, if the answer is yes then charge for your skills.

If you want the job, find out what local companies are charging and price just under, because if the client has got his head screwed on, he has already got quotes from nearby competition.

Once you have a portfolio you can start charging a bit more, as clients will see your quality of work and pay that bit extra for it. (hopefully)

good luck


 5:08 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

just to add my little bit to this, claus has it right on the head... i've always been told to estimate how long you think it will take to do a job and then at least tripple that value... there will always be something that comes up that will cause problems of one sort or another... client wants to use another methodology, client needs additional functionality, client wants to interface with something else, and so on...

just to give you an idea, based solely on 8hour days... lets say that you can do this job, completed, debugged, installed, debugged, accepted and signed off in 10 days... that's 80 hours... now we use claus' formula...

80 * 3.142857 = 251.42856 (so now we have 250 hours)
251.42856 * 10 = 2514.2856 (10$ an hour range - nice round number :))

rounded to $2500.00 for the site at 80 hours...

20% off is $500 dropping you to $2000
33% off is $825 dropping you to $1675

how much work are you willing to do? how much for $10 an hour? are you worth more? less? are your skills worth more than your time? how confident are you that you can meet the set deadline?


 7:13 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

claus' answer is the most complete I've seen. That's a darn good formula. I thought he was joking when he said pi. But it's a good one to remember...

A good rule of thumb I heard was a consultant type who said that she'd fixed her rates with the following formula: If she's too busy, prices go up. If she's not busy enough, prices are too high so they go down. But that doesn't apply, I suppose, until you've got steady business. :) May we all be so lucky.


 7:19 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

i've always been told to estimate how long you think it will take to do a job and then at least tripple that value...

All I can say - in the most polite terms, of course :) - is that some of you must not be very good estimators. If you consistently miss the amount of time a job will require by a factor of three - wow. Maybe you need to try to figure out why you are consistently off by such a huge margin.


 7:40 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> consistently

Well, the consistency lies in the application of this rule. It ensures that on average - as probability and deviations sets in - you will always deliver within this range, and then over the long term you will have a positive income.

It's a rule of thumb for new stuff, not for repeat customers or for things you've done a zillion times before. It's much easier to be exact in those cases (although you still will need to make a profit in the long run).



 7:51 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm with Claus all the way.

Better, at the end, to tell the client "the bill will be less" than to have to dun a client or have to work on a project where you see your hourly rate diminishing by the hour. It just doesn't work.

If it's a big project be certain to get paid as you go. Something up front as a retainer, etc.

The formula works, especially for more complex projects with clients who are newcommers. People need to see the big picture and understand that it is them, not you, driving up the price. Details, details, details.


 10:58 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

just to be a bit more precise
5 main sections with sub sections
all PHP MySQL governed

delivered with an admin section to add edit and del

doing some leg work for content
(so important are you managing the quest? utilizing their own)

in that range of work I charge from 3k to 4 k
including one year free maintenance

traffik daddy

 1:48 pm on Aug 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Aside of all the complicated formulas and pi's (n' puddin's), if you have got all the info that you need then do a little investigating.

If your client knows EXACTLY what he wants then phone another freelance web designer and see what he might quote you (like spying).

If you client has an idea of what he wants (but not totally sure) then I would charge by the hour as they tend to come back with all the 'extras' that you didn't quote him in the first place. Make sure you get all the info first.

If you want a number throw at you then ...... erm.... 5 ;)



 5:40 pm on Aug 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the information, folks. It came in very handy.

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