Pricing and selling web design
Price your services appropriately in line with your competitors.
Never sell yourself short - always make sure your clients appreciate
what they're buying.
How much should you charge?
What to charge for your web design
services depends on a number of factors:
- Your costs
- The expertise, experience, and
skills you offer
- The perceived value of your
services to your clients
The cost of running your business
varies country by country. Make sure you're clear on the actual costs
of running your own business.
Your clients are not just paying for
the hours you put in. They should also be paying for your education,
training and experience, as well as your hardware, software, time spent
on research. If they don't cover those costs, you
You'd be doing no-one any favours by
underestimating what it costs to run your business. If these costs mean
you can't continue to run your business, you'll lose out but so will
your existing clients.
The expertise, experience, and skills
Even if you charge by the hour or
day, your clients are not just buying the time you put in. They're also
buying the benefits of your experience, expertise, and breadth of
You may also be delivering other
benefits, such as strategic direction, marketing advice, or assets that
will be used in other media. Think about the value of these things too.
The perceived value of your services
to your clients
This is the most relevant factor.
Consider the value that a client will get from what you offer. How will
it affect the image or profitability of their business? Remember, this
is what you're delivering, not simply time spent.
Value is not dependent on whether
you've spent one hour or a hundred hours on a piece of work.
You may have some prior knowledge, a
contact, or some existing code that lets you achieve something valuable
in a short time. Should your client not pay for your contacts, prior
knowledge and prior work?
By the same token, if take a day to
learn a new skill that interets you, and also happens to apply to your
client's site, should your clients pay for all that time?
Perceived value varies according to
where your clients are in the world. Research your actual
competitors, not just other web designers in your area. Who is actually
working for the companies you want to serve?
Discount, but don't devalue
If you need to reduce your prices on
occasion (e.g. to win a strategically valuable job), then it's
important to show your discount. e.g. Don't simply halve your price,
show the full price with a 50% discount.
(If you do a free job for charity,
quote the full price with a 100% discount, and let your client tell
other people how supportive you have been, and what a good deal they
The reason this is so important is
that the price someone pays for a service is equivalent to the value
they place on that service.
The more a service costs, the more
you expect it to deliver.
Avoid cheap clients and cheap jobs
It can be very tempting to cut your
prices in order to close a difficult customer - but think very
carefully before you do it!
In a service industry, word of mouth
is your most important marketing channel. You get to choose your
reputation and brand through everything you do in business. Do you choose
to be known as a cheap web designer?
If a client isn't happy to pay full
market price for what you offer, do they really need
what you offer?
If a client is willing to pay your
proper fees, it means they respect your skills and will expect to get
appropriate perceived value. In our experience, full-paying clients
make better clients, because they actually expect us to do our job
properly. In these situations, we tend to find our client gives a good
brief, then listen to our advice and look forward to working with us.
However, when we've cut prices to
suit a client's budget and expectations, we've found clients who just
don't want to hire experts - just someone
to make a web site they think they want. These jobs tend to take up
more time and create more tension, produce less successful results, and
even pay less promptly.