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Old 08-17-2009, 06:36 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Great Plains, USA
Posts: 261
Default Web Design: What to Charge a Client

Some of you may remember that I work freelance for a local chamber of commerce. Well now I'm redesigning their website to graphically correspond with the visitors guide I made them. But when the chamber director gave me the O.K. to approach this task, he asked me for a rough price on my web work. I hesitated, not having previously worked for pay in web design and not knowing the budget of the chamber. I ultimately said "around $200," and he seemed fine with that. I've since been told that that was far too low by both a young freelance web designer (who claims to charge $50 per web page) and by the owner of a graphic design/marketing company (who charges $150 per page). I'm strongly considering renegotiating the payment.

The web design will mainly consist of revamping the site's look, incorporating many new photos, and merging a few pages that I found redundant (the director didn't even feel the need to discuss what to do and not to do, and just trusted all my advice). However, I plan to ask if he wishes to include new pages on sections like Agriculture and City History which were in the visitors guide, as well as a chamber member blog or forum. We've never talked about these inclusions, and my thinking is that if he agrees to add them, I may be able to renegotiate the payment to around $350-$400. I also told him it probably wouldn't take much more than one week to finish, but this would not likely be the case if we added new sections. The site currently has 16 pages, which I'll merge to about 14 (not including the new sections).

We frequently email, but I also speak to the director over the phone sometimes and would do so for the renegotiation. Any advice on what to do and not to do, as well as how to go about the renegotiation would be much appreciated - for instance, whether or not I should mention what the average web designer truly charges in contrast to my initial price.

Here's the site:
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:07 AM   #2
LoisWakeman's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Uplyme, Devon, England
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I think you probably sold yourself short - though that's no consolation now! $200 doesn't sound like much for a week's work, even in a recession. OTOH, changing by the page isn't necessarily a good strategy for the client, since once the design is done, it is usually a matter of simple clerical work to put the content of each page in.

I try to have a charge that will cover the initial design work and takes realistic account of how long it takes to add each page after that.

A tip for the future - never volunteer a price on the spot - say you need to do some thinking about how long it will take and get back to them. (I did this once or twice before I learned, so I know how easy it is to be bounced into something you regret.)

I think it's too late to say what the average charge is, as this will make you look unprofessional. But if you offer extras, make sure you charge a reasonable time for how long you think it will take. Don't underestimate the time needed to set up programmatic things like blogs and forums - it isn't just the page design but also the software installation and testing, testing, testing you need to do.

Good luck - and even if you don't get too many $$s this time, I hope the job is an interesting one and you should learn a lot from it!
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Old 08-18-2009, 01:40 AM   #3
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Location: Subtropical Queensland, Australia, between the mountains and the Coral Sea
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I agree with Lois, having fallen into the trap of the quick quote at the beginning of my freelance career.

For the sort of work you are quoting on, it's necessary to take time to work out what is involved and how long it will take, and what that time will cost you outside the cost of your labour and profit margin. Explaining this to the client without getting him/her offside is one of the skills needed for success as an independent contractor. It's often quite difficult for the personality types who are attracted to working from home as an independent contractor...

But I've been there and done that, and built up a faithful client base, so I'm sure you can do it. Just don't let the hustlers push you around. Explain clearly that you need time to research, promise to get back to them, and do it within the time you promise.

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Old 08-18-2009, 09:08 AM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Great Plains, USA
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Thanks for the advice. Still, I last spoke with the director about a week ago. There are several potential new site sections that we never discussed creating that I legitimately only came to think of several days later, and the forum/blog was something a friend of mine mentioned two days ago. Initially, we had no intention of creating any new site sections, mainly just creating a new visual layout and incorporating new photos. So if he favors adding any new sections, I don't think it would be unfair to explain to him the extra time needed and therefore an increased payment. I've worked with the chamber director for nearly a year and a half so I'm pretty confident he would be understanding of this. The fact that he trusted me to just go ahead and do whatever I wanted with their site, without first getting his approval on details (which I offered and he said wasn't necessary), even surprised me of his faith in me.

Either way, the project will be a great portfolio piece and good web experience. I will have created a visitors guide, fold-out map, and website all visually corresponding. I'm also currently working on a chamber member plaque design.
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