The art of pricing a web design project can be at times, an impossible task. You have multiple facets of your business to account for which can include project management, website designers, web developers, copywriting and brand development to name a few.
What happens if you need to account for revisions? or a short timescale that will require your team to work overtime, or the hiring of additional staff? These elements all come into play when quoting for your next web design project. Lets take a look at the different methods we can take when coming up with web design prices…
Pre-project estimatesOne popular method of quoting for web design work is to ensure you have discussed the project in depth with the client, and understand the scope and limitations of the project. Using your past experience (and perhaps calling on your design and development team for assistance) you can estimate the time the project will take. The advantages of this approach are obvious:
- The client is aware of the project costs up front, and the chances of any nasty surprises are reduced.
- The company can make plans for future income, and invoice for parts of the project accordingly.
- The work that goes into the project plan initially, can benefit the project in the long term.
Charging per hourGiving the client a breakdown of proposed times for a project is a transparent way of educating them in how long certain tasks will take, such as design and development. It also sets a precedent from the beginning of the project, that any work you will complete will be looked at purely from a time point of view.
As long as the proposal states that additional work will be charged at an hourly rate, then the client should understand that. This approach can have its drawbacks however:
- No matter how much planning goes into a proposal, it’s almost impossible to be 100% accurate with your timing estimates. What if you hit a number of IE bugs? What if you have hardware problems, or your Internet decides to take a day off in the middle of the project? There are any number of unforseen circumstances which can add time onto your project timescales.
- Many clients can have a pre-determined idea of how much web design / a web designer is worth, so telling them your hourly charge (as opposed to a full project cost) can give them the perfect excuse to walk away. If your hourly rate is higher than your closest competitor, this may count against you, even if the overall project cost is identical.
- If you tell a client a project will take 10 days (or the equivalent in hours), a client may expect that project to be completed in that timescale i.e. 10 working days from the start date. This is achievable if you have a single project approach, but what if you have multiple projects ongoing, the chances of completing that in the clients timescale may be unlikely.
Time trackingA more accurate way of charging for your work, is to use time tracking software to provide an up to the minute list of the tasks you worked on / completed. This allows the client to see exactly what time has been spent on certain tasks across the project, and the charges related to these tasks.
There are a ton of different pieces of software you can use to track your time on projects:
Quoting per clientAn alternative to timing projects, is to provide costs for a project without time involved i.e. what you deem to be a fair price for that client and project. This approach is suitable when you are approached by a client that has a large specification / budget in mind, and you’re confident that they may be comfortable with a cost that is a little higher than your ‘usual’.
The advantages of this are obvious, but there can be risks involved, especially if this client discovered that you were perhaps charging other clients at a lesser rate.
ConclusionWe’ve described some alternative web design pricing methods in the article above, which will suit a number of web designers ranging from small to medium businesses, to freelancers.
There is no right or wrong way to charge for web design and development, almost every single business / freelancer does it differently. You will find a method that works for you and your clients, just be prepared to make mistakes along the way!