For first time freelance web designers, nothing is more intimidating then when their first client asks, “Well, what will it cost?” We all imagine the hardest part of getting a gig will be finding the client, the proposal, or the project itself. However, coming up with an accurate price is an art and science of its own. Chances are it will take you a few projects to hone in on a price estimation process that works for you. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Project-Basis Quotes: If possible, give your client one price for the whole project. The advantage of this method (rather than per hour) is that there is less likely to be a disagreement between you and your client later on concerning how long it took you to work. The key with project-basis quotes is to layout the parameters thoroughly. For example, how many edits you will do, exactly what will be completed (a logo, a website, etc.), and more.
- Always Time your Work: Start a journal where you time your work, no matter what you are doing. Even if you are just working on your own stuff, this journal will give you a good idea of how long it will take you to complete a client project, that way you can estimate a fair hourly rate for yourself.
- Look up Averages: Depending on where you live, the average hourly rate for a web designer will vary, but knowing the average will help you estimate your own costs. While you are building a portfolio and client list, you may prefer to work for a lower rate, but after a year or so, be sure to give yourself a raise and start asking for more.
- Factor in Benefits: Don’t forget to up the price a bit because your client won’t be paying for your health care, vacation days, parking permit, etc. Because of these cost savings for the client, you should charge a higher per hour cost than your counterparts working a full-time 9-5.
- Always Estimate on the High End: Especially for your first projects, always guess your hours (let’s say 10) and then add 30% more time and therefore cost. So, for a project you think will take 10 hours at a rate of $50/hour, charge for 13 hours of work ($650). Email correspondence, making revisions, and more, will add on time faster than most first time freelancers realize.
- Expenses: Always mention whether “expenses” will be tacked on at the end of the project, or are included in the price. This includes thing like images, fonts, and more, which you may have to purchase. Some clients will also pay miles if you are driving to their office, but this is different for everyone. Costs like software, equipment, and more are your responsibility.
Now that you somewhat have an idea for estimating price quotes, let us know how you estimate your prices. See you in the comments.
About the Author: Roy K works for Design Pax. The company provides web site design services in high quality all over the world.