How much to charge clients

13 replies
I'm going to start offering web design/hosting services to people in my immediate area. In my spare time for many years I have done small sites for family, friends, and friends of friends. I have also fixed tons of peoples computers, setup servers/maintenance, done networking, and few others things. I'm currently employed at a newspaper and because of this and my previous job I have a lot of potential customers I can get in contact with.

My question is the following:

1. How much should I charge a small business for a static site that just displays basic information about there business? It may also contain a photo gallery, and little to no eCommerce. And if there is it would be a simple Paypal button to pay for a few products and or services.

2. How much should i collect prior to building the site for the client (Percentage Wise)?

3. How much should i charge per month to host their site with and without adding/changing anything on their site?

Also a lot of these people I'm going to be targeting aren't going to want to spend a lot of money so I have to price competitively. And Some clients will just want me to revamp their existing site.

I will be using wordpress, a website builder, and dreamweaver. I will use a different product based up the complexity and the detail the client desires for the site.

Thank you for your time and I'm sorry for long post.
#charge #clients
  • Profile picture of the author CageyVet
    Answers are simple...

    Answer to Question 1 - How much do you want or need to make Per Hour to achieve the level of income you desire? Now multiply that by how long it will take you do complete the website project.....then double that number. So if you want to make $10/hr and it takes you 20 hours to complete a simple business Wordpress site project. Then it is $400 for that website project. Also, when I say "Website Project", I do not only mean the coding/design. I also mean the time it takes to get the specifications from the client, the back and forth for revisions, the image/graphic/photo manipulation, the playing around with their logo, the changing the fonts 5 times, the searching for plugins, the walking them through what the hell a paypal button is and how to setup their paypal account....etc...etc..etc..not to mention the time it takes to prospect, contact and make sales....

    Answer to Question 2 - That all depends on how much you are going to charge in the first place. Business owners that want a cheap website usually do not want to pay anything up front, while business owners that are willing to pay tens of thousands for a website are much more likely to pay for the initial upfront costs to get the project going. Also, depends on if the upfront cost is refundable or not. If it is, then you can charge as much as you want as long as you have that much money sitting in your account right till the end of the project because you never know what could happen causing them to cancel and requesting a full refund on that initial charge. If it is non-refundable, then that upfront cost is only to deal with clients that end up being a pain in the butt and most likely not paying or being too much trouble for the project to get completed.

    Answer to Question 3 - Again, you need to know how much your time is worth. If you have X amount of clients and 15% of them call you on a monthly basis for hosting questions, support and other. How much is that time supporting your customers is worth to you? Now the pain in the butt problem is that this number is huge until you start working in really large volumes....so if you have 100 clients and 15 of them call you every month for support that takes on average 2 hour to deal with. So that is 30 hours of your month just deal with hosting support, not even setting up hosting accounts, dealing with any problems with who your reselling hosting from and all of the other aspects of hosting websites. So that is basically 1 week out of the month dedicated to hosting....Again, how much is your time worth OR how much is it going to cost you to outsource all of this?

    To make it simpler...

    1- "targeting aren't going to want to spend a lot of money".....Only you can decide or "let businesses dictate" what your work is worth.

    2- What ever you feel comfortable with...

    3- Webhosting can be purchased for $5 a month, so what ever you can get people pay...go for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author sinsabor
    I agree with CageyVet but will add that it is not worth it to offer hosting for a low price UNLESS you are providing any other service that grants you a monthly payment, like a fixed 3-hour for updates. If it is just hosting, I never charge them less than $20 dlls (and some up to $45) and when they tell me that they can get it for $1 dlls, I tell them that go ahead, but in the $20 dlls they get my cell phone number in case they have a major emergency. So far I have kept my hosting clients for years and many do not call me once per year. I have a reseller account with HG. Just makesure you have a good hostong provider.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Do yourself a favor...
      #1 use ONE coding choice. ( I would suggest WordPress )

      #2 Find a theme ( A FREE one ) that allows you to customize a great amount ( one theme multiple looks and layouts ) - I suggest the Mystile theme ( and if you have questions as to why this one ask )

      #3 Understand that a static 5 pager and a 5 pager with e-commerce are 2 different animals.

      #4 Don't waffle on your price. Set a price, and stick to it. Don't do one client for 400 and the next for 800 and the next for 250 just because you think you need work. A formula I have used in the past is to have a set price 5 pages static $400 then once I had 5 pages in my portfolio I would increase the price $50. so the next 5 would be $450. now you have 10 sites in your portfolio increase $50 again.. $500.

      #5 E-commerce 10 items or less I would add $100, every item after that $10.

      #6 50% due at signing and the remaining 50% due PRIOR to moving it to their server.

      #7 webhosting. at your low price point this gets a bit touchy. at $50 a month on a $400 website that is a bit excessive. I might suggest $20 a month. Once you are in the $1000 build range then $50 a month fits.

      #8 DONT just build a site. If the client is seeing no return from it that is NOT good for your business. Learn the very basics of getting a google places / business / + whatever the heck its called this week listing. If your client is SEEING that the site is working. aka "Results". They WILL refer your services. ( For me and my business this is not an "Option" it is part of a basic package - and yes I include 30 citations )

      #9 learn to control as much of the process as you can. You will with time find the bottle necks. remove those. Take your Own Photos, get the logo and digitize it yourself. extract text from anything the client may already have. The less you depend on the client to provide, the smother and faster the project will be.

      #10 DEVELOP a system. ( here is why I suggest ONE theme ) in the beginning sites will take you a bit of time to complete. As you develop more and more KEEP a file of the CSS changes that you make and can refer to. ( for me personally I can alter my ONE theme to create the initial layout in the time it takes me to copy and paste the CSS and make the color code changes - we are talking minutes, not hours ) At this point you are inserting a logo, pictures, text and google maps. I can have a 5 page static done is far less than 10 hours.

      #11 Follow #4 like there is no tomorrow. EXPIRIENCE dictates your price. Just remember that!

      Hope that Helps!
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
        Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post


        #2 Find a theme ( A FREE one ) that allows you to customize a great amount ( one theme multiple looks and layouts ) - I suggest the Mystile theme ( and if you have questions as to why this one ask )
        Okay, I'll bite. Why do you use Mystile? Have you considered other highly customizable themes such as Suffusion (hundreds of options)?

        Thanks for your checklist layout good information.

        Mark
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        • Profile picture of the author savidge4
          Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

          Okay, I'll bite. Why do you use Mystile? Have you considered other highly customizable themes such as Suffusion (hundreds of options)?
          I "used" to be a very elitist programmer. Every build was a new build and it was developed from the ground up. I forewent the "Writing on the wall" for many years and downplayed the whole do it your self CMS realm. Obviously with time things change and a better understanding of the market place took hold. Big money is out there, but not like it used to be. So I started looking at options I finally ( bows head ) and gave into the WordPress mentality - a hard transference of mind set at first... but now 9 months later... Im all in!

          So Mystile... Of all the themes I looked at, hands down no questions asked this is by far the most robust out of the box theme I have found ( that's FREE ) and easy to customize. Its responsive, it has 2 top navigation placements, it handles full, side bar right and side bar left setups. has custom footer setup ( 2 to 4 column ), Its very much so WooCommerce friendly. Pretty much if you can find it on Theme Forest, I can give you the same set up with Mystile.

          Just a note. the only other theme I use, ( and once you see it you will understand ) is "Virtue" far more preset customizable and far more "responsive" abilities

          So some of my basic Mystile set ups.

          #1 Fixed top navigation CSS remove the header have a right / left side bar and then use meta slider in the main text portion of the homepage.

          #2 top nav with the slider full length with the primary nav below and then full width page

          #3 same as #2 with sidebar

          #4 remove the top nav, use an image or slider in the header and use the primary nav full width or with side bar.

          #5 add a full width widget across the top for a landing page effect ( large image with a call to action box ) and then scroll down to a 3 column format or the like ( like many these are today )

          Each one of these looks and feels totally different. and that is just this one theme. Why as a designer would I pay every time I want to build up a theme? and then go through the learning curve of using the "New" theme. I can simply use 1 theme and
          CREATE whatever the client needs.

          I have stated this in posts before... as a developer you need to develop a system. Using a 1 single theme SHOULD be at the core of that system. With every build you keep track of the CSS you use. over time you will have a library of CSS that will allow to twist and manipulate that theme 3 days to Sunday. Its that same library that will save you HOURS of programming project after project.

          From experience and looking at theme after theme found for myself that the Mystile theme was the right one for me and my business I guess. ( I will note I am in the process of developing a BootStrap theme of my own that is designed specifically for developers and will have many of the above mentioned options built in )
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          • Profile picture of the author MRomeo09
            Interesting that you went from HTML5 proponent a year ago to now being in the Wordpress camp. I'm still solidly in the HTML 5 camp myself.

            I still think HTML5 is vastly superior to Wordpress for SEO. Speed wise it's also very, very fast. I've had major issues with clients when page loads for the website reach 3-4 seconds because of all the bloat on Wordpress. Many of the fancy sliders are so bloated and so slow to load that they are killing conversion and the user experience. With the advent of jQuery, you can do many things with jQuery, CSS and HTML5 that kind of eliminate the need for Wordpress to have a pretty and functional site.

            I was solidly Wordpress for a few years, and now am transitioning all my sites to HTML5 again.

            I personally use the HTML5 templates at html5up.net, and have played with some templates like Porto on Themeforest.
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            • Profile picture of the author savidge4
              It became a matter of business. When you are out seeking clients and they ask over and over "Do you use WordPress?" it becomes a point of objection. Not for me, but for them, and how many times do you have to be hit in the head before you realize that saying "No I don't, and heres why..." wasn't working.

              I had to change. and with that, the whole model of how I work changed. I was just talking with someone today about the fact hat I do use Html5 as a fall back in situations. And I do. there are simply some things I still can not yet do efficiently in Word and Woo, that developing in straight code is easier. In the long run this I consider detrimental. I just need to take the time and learn how to do certain things.

              Html5 and SEO... yes when push comes to shove and I need some search engine love, I will "Insert" some html5 to get the job done. It is indeed far more effective. I have over the past 9 months made a lot of headway in understanding how to manipulate the back end page construction of WordPress and WooCommerce, and more and more I am getting far better results.

              The biggest thing that I do is insert any and all java script code in the lower right footer in a text widget. Pulls the call commands out of the head ( Increase Load speed - and Head function SEO abilities )

              All in all it has been an interesting 9 months... in the end it has been worth it, and made me a better programmer in the process.
              Originally Posted by MRomeo09 View Post

              Interesting that you went from HTML5 proponent a year ago to now being in the Wordpress camp. I'm still solidly in the HTML 5 camp myself.

              I still think HTML5 is vastly superior to Wordpress for SEO. Speed wise it's also very, very fast. I've had major issues with clients when page loads for the website reach 3-4 seconds because of all the bloat on Wordpress. Many of the fancy sliders are so bloated and so slow to load that they are killing conversion and the user experience. With the advent of jQuery, you can do many things with jQuery, CSS and HTML5 that kind of eliminate the need for Wordpress to have a pretty and functional site.

              I was solidly Wordpress for a few years, and now am transitioning all my sites to HTML5 again.

              I personally use the HTML5 templates at html5up.net, and have played with some templates like Porto on Themeforest.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    All these numbers are pulled out of the air...

    Look at these posts and you will learn how to get your prospects to tell you how much they believe your services are worth:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...uch-again.html

    and

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ess-model.html
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Actually.. no these numbers are NOT pulled out of thin air. This is real life bottom of the barrel customer numbers that have been shared on this board time and again. The truth is the number based on value to this type of customer is actually lower. $400 across the USA is your basic standard ENTRY level price.

      When I say "entry level" I am speaking of the web designer and not the customer. An entry level designer DOES NOT have any business going after a $5000 whale. It is simply detrimental to the client as well as the designer. A $5000 Whale job is going to come with expectations that a new designer can and will not be able to fill. Sure you make $5000 but then what?

      We are talking about building a long lasting sustainable business here. How does that happen? you start at the bottom, and with EXPIRIENCE you work your way up.

      This is NOT consulting ( you and I have discussed the differences ). This is getting in and getting out ( build and go ). A volume based structure. YOUR personal value in doing this is determined by your EXPIRIENCE and Ability. When you are at a point that your clients are seeing Results aka return on the investment in the designer, THEN you can start reaching.

      But then again, you know... I could be wrong only building 482 sites so far this year with an average price tag of $2800.

      PS 6 years ago when I stepped into a new geographical market ( I moved ) I started over building $400 sites and have worked my way up


      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      All these numbers are pulled out of the air...

      Look at these posts and you will learn how to get your prospects to tell you how much they believe your services are worth:

      http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...uch-again.html

      and

      http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ess-model.html
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
        Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

        Actually.. no these numbers are NOT pulled out of thin air. This is real life bottom of the barrel customer numbers that have been shared on this board time and again. The truth is the number based on value to this type of customer is actually lower. $400 across the USA is your basic standard ENTRY level price.

        When I say "entry level" I am speaking of the web designer and not the customer. An entry level designer DOES NOT have any business going after a $5000 whale. It is simply detrimental to the client as well as the designer. A $5000 Whale job is going to come with expectations that a new designer can and will not be able to fill. Sure you make $5000 but then what?

        We are talking about building a long lasting sustainable business here. How does that happen? you start at the bottom, and with EXPIRIENCE you work your way up.

        This is NOT consulting ( you and I have discussed the differences ). This is getting in and getting out ( build and go ). A volume based structure. YOUR personal value in doing this is determined by your EXPIRIENCE and Ability. When you are at a point that your clients are seeing Results aka return on the investment in the designer, THEN you can start reaching.

        But then again, you know... I could be wrong only building 482 sites so far this year with an average price tag of $2800.

        PS 6 years ago when I stepped into a new geographical market ( I moved ) I started over building $400 sites and have worked my way up
        The $400 number IS pulled out of the air.

        Just because people are sharing it doesn't mean it is any less baloney. Where did it come from? What is it based on? Nobody knows.

        I don't see why you're having such a personal emotional reaction. I didn't give any opinion about the value or the level of the number itself; I merely pointed out the number is fiction.
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  • Profile picture of the author kemdev
    I would've said $300-$500 as an average, bottom-of-the-barrel entry level price for web design. It's the price I started out at, and is also fairly average for the market.

    Again, this isn't for seasoned designers. This is for people starting out in the business.

    Higher prices come from experience. It doesn't have anything to do with your sales ability. It's about how good of a job you can actually do - and that comes from your experience in the marketplace. It's well and good to say you CAN and SHOULD charge more... but the $300-$500 price point is average for the web designer just starting out.
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  • Profile picture of the author ario131038
    Thanks a lot for everyone's suggestions thus far, I appreciate it.
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