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How Much To Charge

Moving into the world of freelance...need figures

     
2:27 am on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm facing a situation in 2007 where I'm going to be freelance web design/hosting/promotion for the first time....well ever. I've designed a website and promoted it for a guy on trade while I was ending my term working on a salary/contract term doing development. The trade value ends up being worth a substantial amount to me each month but now I have to calculate a dollar amount for business website design contracts.(due to my success I have possible clients without rates) Since I've never worked independent doing design/promotion I'd really appreciate some input from some of you guys out there on how much this service is worth and how I should charge?(my last job was as a developer without clients so I'm clueless) Here's how I lay it out...

I'm a computer programmer/graphics designer/Great SEO and I can put your local business on top of your locality with a great website. My client and my own websites are a proven track record of how well I can do this for you. I will most definitely provide an aesthetically pleasing website that will gather your small/medium business new clients.

The basic service I want to offer is this:

--Graphics design and site layout(5-15 pages)
--a basic seo package where I link the site, promote it in the best free places I know, and make it rank atop the local niche they're targeting.

--of course any type of shopping cart software, programming, management, ppc promotion is extra

Does here have any type of rate data they'd care to share? I'm working in the Southeast United States. If you don't want to post I'd still appreciate to hear about it via sticky. Anything I'm missing here in my basic layout of the process I'd like to hear about as well.

4:03 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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[www2.designersalaries.com...]

[payscale.com...]

You can get some pointers from the above salary websites. But Im not sure what criteria were used to evaluate and report those salaries.

5:06 pm on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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When pricing anything, product or service, it is going to come down to value provided and uniqueness of your offer. I realized a few years ago that with the right software and a little training everyone could be a "web designer" hence it was a commodity and very difficult for experienced designers to compete against the high school kid with a computer or the starving college student willing to work for food.

Now my statement is somewhat general as most larger companies wouldn't hire high school or college students, but the small and some medium sized businesses will. Unfortunately this is where most new or beginning designers must start. They don't have enough of a track record to get the big jobs and must fight like a starving dog for the lower paying work.

I found the best way to approach it is to be a consultant that can design a web site, but also offer copywriting, marketing, SEO, email marketing, and host of complimentary services in packages or as add ons to a project. I also use a variety of partnerrs such as video guys and sound professionals. They help me expand my offering to be a one stop shop for a total project and not just a web site.

I have am a one person freelancer, but with my own skills and my partners (also single person freelancers) I can offer a lot of great services and because I don't have huge overhead I can bid less than the big agencies and still make a great profit. As my reputation grows my fees go up and the size of the clients I can get also grows.

I have some competitors that set up businesses in the same area as my company is located, but because they can't offer as much or are not good at sales and marketing I can charge and get rates that are almost 5 times higher than theirs for the same basic service packaged differently. Don't sell a web site, sell value that happens to use web sites, copywritng, SEO, to accomplish a goal, which you must be good at defining and getting the client to agree with you on the goal the value of the goal to their company.

Here is an example. I talked met with a plumbing supply company in my area that was also talking to other designers. At first they simply wanted me to bid on a project they defined and sent to me. I told them I don't do business that way and insisted I meet with them to discuss it. They agreed. In the meeting I asked them what their goal was. They responded that it was to create a web site that showed off their new show room. Had I started talking how my web site could do that I would have been thrown back into the pen with the rest of the designers. Instead I asked why and starting probing with questions about how they got sales and what their close rates were and what the profit margins were and what they customers looked like. I asked them to questions that forced them to pull answers they didn't know from their sales staff. In other words I challenged them to think of what I was offering as a way to boost sales not just create a web site.

To make a long story short I discovered the average customer is closed only 20% of the time on the first visit. The reason is that they wanted to compare prices and get more information. I sold this company on the idea that a web site could do the "pre-education" for them and boost first time closes by 30 or 40% and shorten their sales cycle, improve cash flow, and increase profitability by using the site and offline marketing to target the profitable customers that were not as price sensitive. In otherwords I sold them increased profits and cash flow, not a web site.

When I did that I was the only designer under consideration, charged more than my competitors for the same job and sold the project for my largest design fee yet. I created value and sold it. I did not create a web site to sell. The difference may be be subtle, but very powerful.

Fortune Hunter

 

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