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How much should I charge?

     
8:25 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I am a very novice designer who recently created a site for the small general contracting company of a family member. It is a very simple site (about 15 pages) with only HTML and an CSS. There is a contact form, but no flash, javascript or php. The site renders exactly the same in every browser I have seen, but on the other hand it is not a complicated design. I had to type up all of the text from their paper brochure, but they gave me all of the images. And they already had the server and domain taken care of.

My question is, how much should I charge? I didn't count hours, but I wouldn't feel right charging by the hour because any of you could have made the site in half the time that it took me (I was constantly looking up CSS attributes because I have forgotten so much that I learned in a class in college). Anyway, any ideas?

1:48 am on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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How much do you consider the work you have produce worth?

That should give you a start to consider. Next, even if you are a beginner, how long did you spend to put the site together?

Is this work what you do for a living, or is it just a service for your family?

If it's a service, and if you plan to this kind of job in the future for a living. Just give it for free.

It's good training practice for you, and if your customer is satisfied, it will enrich your portfolio. Alternatively, if they ask you how much you want to charge them, as friend just let them make an offer.

If it's business related, you must charge them. A good indicator for you is to look what other web designers charge in your area, then you can adjust the price based on your experience.

The most important is not what you think about your website, but rather what your customer thinks about it.

I hope this help.

Nicolas Prudhon

3:34 am on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Without seeing the site, it's very hard to say. Also, you did not state what country you are in! However, since you got the job as a novice due to a family connection "mates rates" apply.

If you've done a good job (clean html, etc. with a clear and pleasant layout and navigation) then 250 ($350) would seem reasonable. More than 500 ($700) would probably be too much esp in the current economic climate.

Bear in mind, if you try to charge too much, you may not be asked to do any more work and it may cause an argument. But a good job at a good price may lead to more work.

Kaled.

4:57 am on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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since you got the job as a novice due to a family connection "mates rates" apply

So far you've done it pro bono, but what you'll have to watch out for is a lot of updates, additions and modifications in the future. I'd charge a very reasonable amount for updates in future, and if you're interested in pursuing this work, set up a site of your own and get a link back.

Since it's a friendly gesture for a relative, if you're in the US or the UK you might consider getting a "gift back" in the form of a generous Amazon gift certificate, and start out by buying some good beginning to intermediate books on basic skills (including using PHP includes), so you won't have to be looking up as much online.

2:04 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It's conventional to agree upon pricing prior to starting a project. Since it doesn't appear that you've done this, you should be sensitive to your client's expectations. Do you have any idea what they were expecting to be charged?

In the future, a concise quote with project expectations and cost would be recommended.

2:28 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies -- I appreciate the input.
Kaled- thanks for giving me a number even without a lot of information. I wish I could post a link. I was guessing around $500 (I'm in the US), but I really had no idea of the range where I should be.
Nicolas- I would guess that I spent around 30 hours on the site. Like I said, I am slow. This isn't something that I do for a living, and I don't have any kind of business or LLC set up as I already have a career which takes up plenty of time. But, I find web design fascinating and I am hoping that I can make it a hobby that makes me some money. I agree that setting the price before starting would be the best idea, but I didn't have any idea what to charge at that time either.
5:20 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yep, $500 was what I would be thinking. But then it'd probably have taken me about 1/3 the time ;)
11:38 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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When the family member asked you to do the web design for them (or if you offer it them), did you actually expected to be paid for the job or not?

If yes, like surfgatinho said, $500 is fair price - however it would have been done faster by a more experienced webmaster. Still, you should not forget the family discount ;)

Good websites are never statics, we always need to upgrade and improve them. I would recommend the following:

$500 (for the site) - $100 (for slow design as beginner) -$100 (for family discount)

That would be about $300 for your first site, however, you should mentioned that you'll charge for the upgrade and maintenance if needed a small fee like $50 per month or so.

It's up to you to convince them that they need a webmaster service and that you are worth the money.

Good luck

Nicolas Prudhon

12:03 pm on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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When I started my first "few" sites were at give away prices. I spent countless hours creating the best work I could possibly achieve. Once I had 5 high quality sites in my portfolio my prices then began to rise because I could show the standards I worked to.
12:44 pm on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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First, never do any kind of billable work for family members... if you want happy family reunions from time to time. Sure as the sun rises there will come a disagreement. Second, having done work for a family member take it out in barter (you said they were a general contractor) THIS TIME.

Then, if determined to continue the BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP sit down and hammer a contract for the hourly rate which will be billed for UPDATES, CHANGES, ETC.

Better yet, get the relation to buy beer and pizza, pound your back and say thanks and give glowing recommendations about your abilities---then get started on making your own sites.

If you need a reasonable metric for what to bill: I charge $15/page for CUSTOMER SUBMITTED READY TEXT (ie, I do not have to type or scan, but do have to convert to web display) FOR UPDATES TO THEIR EXISTING SITE. The site, of course, had already been completed via a traditional contract. Given your novice status this might be more "fair" to the relation as 15 pages times $15 is $225.

You spent too much time on this. You LEARNED A LOT! and that is to the good. You also led with the heart and desire to play before thinking about the business end.

Every once in a while we all do something we do not completely think through before jumping in. I've done it myself...too many times!