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Old 11-10-2005, 04:09 PM   #1
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Default What to charge for web site building ?

i have a client ! A small legal firm wants a web site for marketing their services and a friend recommended me. So far it looks good, but we haven't got around to talking price yet.

I have done professional programming as a contractor, but not on my own, and not for this kind of small business site.

My technical skills are good in some respects, but certainly not close to a Kelvyn level. Not much scripting, except for some JS. but I do have a good head for business issues, like marketing, and focusing the web work on useful and cost effective content. And I can borrow and modify whatever simple stuff may come up initially.

I don't have any yardstick or examples to come up with a fair hourly rate (in US dollars please). Can I get some help on this ??



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Old 11-10-2005, 05:42 PM   #2
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Well, back in the early 90s we used to have a rule of thumb on DTPFOR. It was that you should set your freelance hourly rate at three times the rate you would expect to get if you were to become a designer as an employee.

I used to say 1/3 for the computer, 1/3 for the business, and 1/3 for you. The computer sucks up money for software, new hardware components, fonts, etc. THe business is going to cover benefits, vacations, expenses, etc., (especially down time, when you are not billing).

The latter is the big one. I was doing freelance instructional design, and last month I landed a staff position. This past week I have probably done three or four hours of work, due to workflow hassles, but I am going to get paid for 40. Not as much per hour as I would have gotten freelance, but 40 hours is much better than 4.

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Old 11-11-2005, 12:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Daudio
I don't have any yardstick or examples to come up with a fair hourly rate (in US dollars please). Can I get some help on this ??
No matter what rate you state, someone will always do it cheaper - even free in order to build up a portfolio.

Hourly rates for site development are not the best way to go, for example you may spend 3 or 4 hours trying to solve a "minor" css problem or a couple of days getting a content management system, which works elsewhere, to work on a different server setup.

I usually look carefully at the site requirements, difficulty of preparation of graphics, requirements for mailing list management or CMS etc. and give a fixed price. On this basis you make a good profit on some but not on others, but it works for me, and ongoing maintenance charges, hosting provision and so on provide a continuing revenue stream.

What you charge will depend on local rates for the same sort of job. Try phoning some small business web developers and ask for a ball-park figure for a proposed site. Then charge a little less.....


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Old 11-11-2005, 08:57 AM   #4
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How much do you know about what they want? Project creep is the bane of programmers and web developers. A fixed price plus expenses is fine if you can limit the changes.

Also, having done the site, is there continuing work or not? Can you charge for registering domain names and for web hosting, with a markup?

Yes, Kelvyn is right, there are those who would do it cheaper. On the other hand, you can justify your price by citing online examples of much higher prices.
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Old 11-11-2005, 09:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dthomsen8
Yes, Kelvyn is right, there are those who would do it cheaper. On the other hand, you can justify your price by citing online examples of much higher prices.
Reminds me of something I saw on a national morning news program earlier this week about buying diamonds.

The program bought two diamonds of the same weight and cut for the purpose of this program segment. One came from world-famous Tiffany's and the other from Costco warehouse store. The former cost something like $16000 and was colorless and nearly flawless, just as Tiffany's said. The latter was (according to grading standards) nearly colorless and was, like the former, nearly flawless, for a cost of $9000. One of the east coast's top gemologists certified that both were exactly as advertised and both were good value.

He said, with a Tiffany's purchase you get to have your setting cleaned inspected for soundness for no extra charge for life. You also can be confident of what you'll get from them. He said their service and reliability are worth the price difference. He said the purchase from Costco was also a good one and Costco customers know to not expect the Tiffany service or selection when you're getting such an excellent price. He said that $9000 diamond would easily retail for higher elsewhere and he was a bit surprised that it was as high quality as it was at that price.

Detail your services and spell out what they're worth compared to the competition. Now, the trick seems to be finding out in detail what the competition offers and charges for same, so you can educate the customer.

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Old 11-19-2005, 11:30 PM   #6
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The client will normally want a quote for the whole job, and because of mission creep there are always problems. So I charge 200 UKP (say 300 USD) for the homepage which includes a years webspace, registration with about 12 search engines, and the hassle. And then 100 UKP for subsequent pages, unless they are a) very simple, or b) very complex. But it normally works out at 600 UKP for the whole job.

US prices seem to be cheaper. And the only thing I offer that differentiates me from the others is that I have a good portfolio, quick service, and hopefully close to the client so that he can ring me up whenever he wants.

After a year or so the client can be expoected to find someone in house that maintains the site.

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