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How to ease the blow on Price quotes
quoting web design

 10:15 am on Dec 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I feel so strange quoting my clients sometimes. It just seems like even 1500$ s is way too much for a job. Of course, there's a lot of wok that goes into building a site and no job is considered equal. Why do I feel like I'm asking for too much when I quote a client on a job. How do you guys break down your prices to your clients to make them feel at ease and comfortable with your prices?



 12:29 pm on Dec 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

"you are paying for my expertise"

"if i charged you by the hour only, your cost would be monumental"

"you are getting more than a website (pretty design on the screen). you are getting a complete product (development, seo, 24-hour advertising, etc.)"

this is common, but one thing i don't do is breakdown a dollar amount for each and every thing. i do, however, provide a breakdown of what i did after the job is done. a nice long list of all the steps i took, large and small, usually seals the complaining mouth when the money is due.


 12:39 pm on Dec 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Also, I usually price each item what I would charge If I would do just that. i.e. a list of options from which they could in theory pick and choose. But thecombined price will be MUCH lower, like less tehn half. Why?Well, if he leaves items out there will be a lot of "global" work which has to be done anyways.

Also, the individual items will often seem like a reasonable price... like $xyz for design $xyz for seo and so on... and suddenly the "package-deal" price is MUCH lower then the combined price.

So you're approaching your client form a position of basically giving him already a SUPER deal, and you're preempting them from tryign to cut bits out to save cost.



 12:45 pm on Dec 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

First, I had a look around and saw what my competitors were charging. So I had an idea of what potential clients were going to hear from others, so I could put my quote in their context.
Then when I give the quote, I break it down and explain what I'm charging for what.
I've also taken to quoting a range-- "if you want to spend a little, I can just do this and this and this, but if you want a really dynamite [thing I do], I can do this and this and this as well for five times the price." Because that's the kind of option I'd want if I were working on something like that.
I haven't been doing this that long, though, so I couldn't guarantee to you what's the most effective thing to do.
I do know that it's really important not to underprice yourself, even if the quote seems steep. If you've arrived at it through your usual math, then you probably do deserve every dollar of it, and chopping off 10% because it seems like too much isn't really going to do you any favors, and it's just going to give the client unrealistic expectations.


 2:42 pm on Dec 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Take into consideration all the time you've spent reading forums and researching to achieve at your current level of ability. You might find you are not charging enough.


 2:38 am on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>>>I do know that it's really important not to underprice yourself, even if the quote seems steep. If you've arrived at it through your usual math, then you probably do deserve every dollar of it, and chopping off 10% because it seems like too much isn't really going to do you any favors, and it's just going to give the client unrealistic expectations.<<<<

I agree. When I first started out in my business, I charged way less than everyone else. For that, I had 2 clients who thought they could take advantage of that and I should have quoted them 10x the amount. You learn. Save the 10% discount on sales that you might want to have when business is slow.


 3:57 am on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm still in the stages of trying to garner web clients.

However, as an advertising photographer, I've heard the same complaints about price from potential clients. Then I talked to my brother-in-law, who's a plumber. His company bills their plumbers out at roughly $250 an hour.

So now, if a client balks at the numbers, I ask them if they'd prefer that a plumber do the job for them. When they say "of course not," I tell them that a plumber would charge much more than I do on an hourly basis.

This isn't meant to be a slam against plumbers or other tradesmen. It's just a fact that we all have our own fields of expertise and should charge accordingly.


 4:14 am on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

LOL.. that was a good analogy.


 5:49 am on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies. Is there a design scale out there that I could refer to? I know its hard to put a price on your work but there's got to be a more systematic way of charging?


 6:08 am on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think the first thing you need to do is think of how much you want to charge per hour. Make sure you include enough to pay your taxes. After that, price it on how long it will take to design a 5 page website, 10 page, 15, 20, etc.

I base my prices on a base amount and then a per page fee. I do not charge extra for XX amount of pictures/images or because they want a contact form. That is just too detailed and most sites have the same amount of images anyway. If it was a Photographers website, I would add in an extra fee for the Gallery script.

Another idea is to look at other web design companies and see what they charge. Example: If you want to start out at $500 for a 5 page website, then try it out. If you think it's a good price for the amount of time put into it, then stick with it. I have adjusted my prices about a half a dozen times in the past 2 years of being in business for myself. You just have to keep on trying until you feel you are worth the money you are charging.


 2:10 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

.....keep on trying until you feel you are worth the money you are charging.....

<add> and until you feel you are charging the money you are worth :)


 4:26 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Amflores, looking at it from the opposite point of view, we do business online and for that a site is the corner stone of our whole business strategy.

Our's has gone through a few incarnations to get to its current state (nice, NICE, nice site IM'H'O haha). To do that has cost some money but its well worth every last penny.

If you are doing sites for $1500 and think you are over charging, maybe we should exploit you to make the next version for us when we upgrade!


 8:03 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm wondering - what's the profit margin you guys get with your pricing?

Since obviously any fees is almost for your time alone in front of the computer, it may be hard to determine it, but i was curious to see if there's some sort of standard.


 8:31 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I found this site a while ago, it gives a median price per hour breakdown in the US for various skils.


 11:11 pm on Jan 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Re: http://www.btobonline.com/webPriceIndex/ that gives the median hourly rate for various Web skills.

I'm surprised it's that high. These rates are about what the market would bear back in the Dot Com bubble years. (I know that it was much higher in "hot" areas like San Francisco, etc.) But this seems high. I live in a technological backwater where these kind of prices won't fly. Not the norm, I know, but no wonder US companies are shipping IT jobs to the Indians.

[edited by: stuntdubl at 9:42 pm (utc) on May 8, 2004]
[edit reason] de-linked url [/edit]


 4:02 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

a friend of mine started into the web design business did a 5 page site for about $500 + retainer of $300/year. This is for a basic , no dynamic form creation or anything.

She's starting, so this was really lowballing it.

robert adams

 9:26 pm on Jan 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

a friend of mine started into the web design business did a 5 page site for about $500 + retainer of $300/year. This is for a basic , no dynamic form creation or anything.

She's starting, so this was really lowballing it.

jeez, what do you get for this money? I should go into the business. I can create pages as good as a lot of them out there. I know enough about scripts etc. to install most of them.

for $100 a page I would want some darn nice pages and for $300/year I would expect a lot of time and updates.

Every time I hear about someone thousands of dollars for a website that doesn't even work or increase their sales or anything, I want to choke these people.

just my rant.


 9:37 pm on Jan 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree - what is the $300/year retainer for?!


 8:15 am on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

beckie agreed with adams and said: I agree - what is the $300/year retainer for?!

The $300 retainer is for I believe 3 or 4 minor changes per month - the type such as updating a calendar of events, or adding new photos to the site (its a jazz band site). So she won't get paid to do any of these things for a year.

This site was all custom from scratch - not a template - with custom made graphics. I've contracted design work myself from a third party, and this is not the case - most of the time people just re-use templates - and the end result is a bland looking site which really does not convey a unique identity to the site. I know, I've been there, and I wasn't happy.

If anything, at $500 a pop, at a contract rate of $25/hr, that's 20 hours work. That's 2 1/2 days work. Any less time working on a site, and I really would doubt the quality of the work done.


 1:27 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is a great book called "The Business Side of Creativity" by Cameron S. Foote which is basically a guide to running a small graphic design/communications/web design business. One of the best quotes in the book is:

"In a world where mechanics and carpenters charge $50/hr and up, no client worth considering should balk at paying $75/hr for creativity."

Once you convince yourself that you are worth what you charge, it will be easier to convince your client. $25/hr for web design is insulting to the profession, and is simply not acceptable for a technical, skilled trade such as web design. You (and the rest of us) are worth MUCH more than that!


 3:59 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

balinor, I agree with you and wish that I could charge more. I do not charge $25/hr, but if I charged $75/hr like you suggest, I will probably not have any clients. I had a pretty good year last year, so I'm not really complaining. :)


 4:03 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

BTW, rfung - Now that I know what the retainer is for - that isn't so bad. I do offer maintenance to my clients for a monthly fee. Retainer meant to me that they only had to work with your friend, so it was like they were paying her to keep her on contract.


 4:17 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Understandable Beckie, but keep in mind that if your clients agree to your price right away, you probably aren't trying for a high enough fee! :) Some clients of mine end up paying less, it just depends on the client. Start high, it can't hurt!


 4:49 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)


I actually price out my fees depending on the budget of the client. I've been on my own for 2 years now and make really good money. I do not have a problem with my fees, though, and am not complaining. I charge about in the middle of that.

So, to be OT (on topic), if you feel that you are charging an amount that you think is too much, then lower it. If you think the amount is too low, then raise your prices. I have raised and lowered my prices a few times.


 5:05 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

This might not be a popular post, but here goes...

The prices quoted in the webpriceindex are outrageous; you could easily divide that by half in my area, even by 2/3.

In any case, those are merely averages. It's amazing to me that there are a lot of "web designers" out there churning out bloated pages with dreamweaver expecting $100/hr. And if they add even more bloat with applet menus and flash, they ask for more! Really good designers that develop brands are worth every penny, and I don't expect them to know HTML, flash or javascript; that's the web-authors' work.

Finally, if a mechanic or plumber is making $50/hr, there's no reason to me to value our work anymore than that. Our work is more fun, and we get to be creative. You'd have to pay me more money to work those trades! And seriously, as long as it takes about the same amount of education for either trade, it seems pretty greedy to want more just because your job is more intellectual.

$50/hr is a good wage. Unless you're living in an area with inflated wages or adding extraordinary value, I would have a hard time justifying paying anyone that much.


 11:11 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

hi there,

you make some really interesting points. playing the devil's advocate here, the enjoyment one gets from their employment should not dictate their wage. i would assume a plumber of 20 years enjoys their business, else why continue to do it (of course, im talking a perfect world here :) ), but he/she should get more money for more experience, more expertise, more professionalism, etc. i agree wholeheartedly tho about producing a bloated and unproductive website. there are many many 'designers' out there.

one thing to keep in mind is that a good number of people are both designers and developers. development, imho, is the heart of the effort and time spent and knowledge put into it.

just to give another example, a carpet cleaner will charge me at least $60 to clean just the floors in two rooms (no walls, no windows, ie. no seo, no database, etc). they come with tank ready, knowing exactly what and how to do it, spend about 30 minutes and take my money. surely for years of continued education and OTJ training, i can charge more than that.


 11:30 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

then again..( im just venting some steam off here :)..)

a dentist will charge $250 for 15 minutes removing my wisdom tooth. Is that really fair, even considering their extra 3-5 years of med/dental school?...

I suppose if that's how the system works, i can always go ahead and try to be a dentist myself....


 11:53 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

> a dentist will charge $250 for 15 minutes

All the same, I personally wouln't ask a car mechanic to drop by with a pair of pilers and work me over for an hour to get that tooth out even though he may only charge in the 50 per hour range. 8^)


 11:58 pm on Jan 4, 2004 (gmt 0)


It is unfortunate, but are there dentists out there that charges $7/hr? Or can people that need dental go to India for a cheaper rate? I think we all have to take that into account and cannot charge $75/hr because that is what the plumber charges.


 12:08 am on Jan 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

and of course, there's the interesting point that who would really want the dentist to charge the $250, and take 3-4 hours to get a wisdom tooth out?;)

This 82 message thread spans 3 pages: 82 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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