Website Design Pricing: How to Accurately Price Your Work

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There’s nothing worse than that sinking feeling when you realize you priced too low.

The trick to accurately pricing your web design services lies in understanding two things:

  • The value that your expertise can provide the customer
  • Your value in relation to the rest of your market

You can charge higher, more accurate rates when you work with clients who value your particular web design services more than any other prospective web designer.

This is known as leveraging your unique value proposition, and it’s just the start when it comes to accurate web design pricing.

In this article, we’ll guide you through fairly pricing your website design packages based on market and client value.

Read on for top website design pricing tips and how to calculate your 2020 web design fee structure.

Website Design Pricing Tip #1: Know Your Unique Value Proposition

Your unique value proposition (UVP) tells clients why your particular services are more valuable to them than competitor web designers.

By understanding the value you offer in the context of your competition, you can more easily position yourself in a web design pricing bracket and better target your ideal clients.

You will have a clear expectation level of quality from your niche audience and you’ll know the competition to compare yourself to.

Critically evaluate the expertise you can comfortably offer by considering the following aspects of your web design repertoire:

1. How Complex Are Your Web Design Services?

Do you comfortably code fully responsive web design or do you prefer to install a basic WordPress theme?

Can you design full-stack websites or are you offering stand-alone graphic design elements?

Whether you’re a graphic designer or an interactive designer, organize the web design services you’re offering and the skill level at which you can deliver.

2. How Much Web Design Work Can You Manage?

Web design projects come in all shapes and sizes — from your basic website through to application-heavy sites with hundreds of pages.

The requirements of a project will often depend on the size of your client’s business. In general, the bigger the business, the more web pages and design work they will need.

Your unique value proposition should promote only what you can actually deliver, so be realistic about the workload you can manage.

3. Can You Deliver Quality Websites on Time?

There are various time frames on which to price your website design. If you’re a freelance web designer, you may charge an hourly rate, while others ask for a flat fee. Some web design gigs are priced on a monthly retainer.

Understand how you best deliver quality in a timely manner to direct your website pricing structure.

Web design agency Wrk homepage

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Boutique web design agency, Wrk. exemplify the importance of understanding and promoting its unique value proposition.

Not only does Wrk.’s landing page state its UVP, but the website also embodies elegant custom website design. High costs are implied in the website’s advanced design and the emphasis on high-spec custom web design.

Website Design Pricing Tip #2: Explore The Competition

It’s common business practice to scope out your direct and indirect competition to understand the market web design cost range.

Explore:

  • The comparable and different website design packages your competitors deliver
  • Your competitors’ client base
  • What fees your competitors charge
  • What fee structure your competitors use

Find competitors that rival your UVP and assess what they offer to who, and for how much.

How much should a website cost page on webFX.com

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For example, if your firm can build a new website for businesses in your local area, research other web design companies in your geographical area.

WebFX Web Design Calculator is a great place to start for standard agency-level fees for SME websites.

Reasearching competitors on Upwork

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If you are a UI/UX web design freelancer, check out other similar freelancers on gig marketplaces like Upwork.

Ask yourself:

  • Who commands the highest fees and for what? – Experience/Reviews/Big Clients/Lots of skills etc
  • How are web designers charging? – Hourly/Per project/Retainer etc
  • What is the final quality of their work in comparison to yours? – Entry-level/SME/Enterprise

This gives you a picture of website design cost expectations, your market value, and the price structures you should use.

Immersive Media's website packages and prices

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Take this example of Immersive Media. Based in London, this small design agency prices its packages in relation to other local firms that offer small business website design.

Say, you have a small business website design firm, you can use a similar flat-fee tiered pricing structure for your relevant prospective clients.

Website Design Pricing Tip #3: Consider How Your Soft Skills Enhance Your Unique Value Proposition

Soft skills are the glue that binds you with a client to operate effectively together.

Your soft skills create good collaboration. These are the skills that enhance your systematic flows and energies as a business or entrepreneur — often evident in your web designing process.

Your rate should be reflective of how your soft skills hone your process, while you can also leverage these skills to offer add-ons.

For example, a fast website designer can charge a high fee for businesses with a fast-approaching deadline.

Alternatively, a solutions-focused designer can charge extra consultancy fees to suggest retrofits for a website redesign.

A highly communicative web designer could offer paid training to teach clients how to update their websites into the future.

What skills do you have to boost your value? Think about:

  • Time management
  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Flexibility

Design agency Wolf+Whale's homepage

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Web design agency Wolf + Whale epitomizes the technique of showboating your soft skills.

The firm’s philosophy subtly justifies high charges by setting high communication and collaboration standards.

Gesturing to their relationship-building skills and time management efficiency, Wolf + Whale convince customers that the web design process will run smoothly.

Website Design Pricing Tip #4: Find the Value of the Client’s Problem

Value-based pricing refers to the practice of pinpointing the gravity and complexity of your customer’s problem and pricing to solve the issue.

Instead of hoping your fixed web design services meet a customer’s needs, this method requires customization and cross-collaboration of your skills and services.

Find out the complexity, size, and urgency of their problem. If it’s a big, complex problem that’s been ongoing for ages or needs to be solved imminently, you can charge higher.

For example, a tech start-up founder may need complex responsive design with lots of pages to showcase a new app next week. While he may be a whizz coder, he might not have the time.

If you were to charge on the value here, you set high fees to provide it quickly.

On the other hand, a successful local artist may need a simple portfolio website to serve as an online gallery for a monthly closed auction. However, they have no technical background.

This is an easy WordPress website job for you but feels complex for the customer. In this instance, your value pricing is related to the customer’s lack of expertise.

To determine how much to charge, consider the profits or attention the customer loses without your web design service. For both the tech start-up founder and the artist, this could be thousands of dollars and millions of eyes.

Equally, consider how much they project to make with your website and how many man-hours will be saved due to your web design service.

Your website cost should provide value by saving on losses.

Design firm Upper Quad's homepage

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Take design firm, Upper Quad. The web design agency flaunts its value in providing diverse website development solutions for top mountaineering company, Patagonia.

Upper Quad’s portfolio highlights the company’s role in shaping brand identity via ecommerce website branding and graphic design, as well as increasing customer interaction with interactive design.

Undoubtedly, with big-name tickets like Patagonia, Upper Quad nets high value-based fees for web design projects like this.

Website Design Pricing Tip #5: Figure Out a Pricing Structure

Determine how you would like to package your web design service:

  • Hourly rate
  • Flat Fee
  • Retainer

Using time tracker toggl to track hours spent on a project

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For hourly rate customers, make it easier on you and your client with a time tracking software like Toggl. Ensure you agree on hours beforehand as most clients won’t pay unagreed overtime.

If you price projects on a flat fee, make sure to think about all overheads, including office supplies, materials, extra training etc.

Don’t fall victim to the planning fallacy, where you underestimate how long each project takes to complete. Give yourself extra time when pricing per project.

If you are charging a monthly retainer to take care of a client’s website, define your availability beforehand. Otherwise, constant communication from retainer clients may leave you struggling to manage your workload.

Try to work a deposit into negotiations. As many freelance designers know, some clients don’t pay. A deposit helps to protect you from the beginning. Try to ask for 100% upfront for flat-fee and retainer work, or a month’s fees in advance. You can always negotiate down.

Always have a web design contract prepared to cement all these details. Use a digital signature software like Docusign to officiate your paperwork online.

Insider Tip – If you know what you want to earn each year and how many days you want to work, you can calculate a figure that would cover a day rate/retainer. This also helps to calculate a flat fee.

Say, you want to earn $70,000 over 40 weeks to cover all business expenses (and your freelance salary), you need to earn $1750 a week, or charge a $350 day rate.

Website Design Pricing Tip #6: Upsell with Additional Services

According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of reward comes from 20% of the effort. In business, this relates to profits as 80% of return tends to come from 20% of clients.

Upselling add-on services strengthens your client relationships and diversifies your potential income from each customer.

Figure out what bolt-on services you can offer to boost your web development package.

If you’re a web design agency or freelance designer, add services such as:

  • Content writing
  • Graphic design
  • SEO optimization
  • Website maintenance
  • Yearly upgrades
  • Tool, plug-in, and database integration

Example of value add-on services by design firm The Lonely Pixel

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Freelance web designer, The Lonely Pixel, offers high-value add-on services to boost and complement companies’ website performance.

The web design freelancer charges clients a maintenance cost and for extra top-up services like HTML email marketing and graphic design.

Website Design Pricing Tip #7: Factor in Business Outgoings

Your pricing must aim to cover business outgoings throughout the year, even when you don’t have clients. This is why website maintenance contracts are such a plus.

Make sure your prices are high enough to cover costs and leave you with a profit to pay yourself.

Make a list of everything that needs to be paid out, from utility bills to software upgrades to staff training.

Remember to factor in all taxes that needed to be paid, along with accountancy fees. QuickBooks Self-Employed is an invaluable tool for every freelance designer to calculate their tax payments without a pricey accountant.

Your outgoings should also factor in your plans for business growth. Will you need funds for future web design training, hiring, further resources, equipment? Everything from a new laptop to a new virtual assistant needs to be accounted for!

Conclusion

Accurately pricing your web development services means understanding your value to the customer and within your niche market.

Get to know your services inside out to be confident in the value you offer. Your prices should reflect the cost and time savings your customers benefit from when they employ your web design services.

Always remember to structure your website pricing in a manner that covers all outgoings, including taxes and supplies, and to factor in costs for future expansion of your web design business.

Posted by Jason Bayless