Home – New Forums Tell me straight… Pricing for web design packages.

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  • #964629
    designglove
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    Hello everyone!

    As small business owners. I would like to ask everyone in here, how much do you feel is reasonable for a web design package.

    Right now, as i do not have a huge personal folio i am trying to undercut the competition price wise. I’m just not sure how low i should go.

    Please offer your thoughts and feedback, i will attempt to change my price packages to match the outcome.

    #1006901
    Lizzy C
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    Hi Design Glove,

    I think it is NEVER a good idea to base your pricing on undercutting your competition. Do you want to get known as a “cheap” graphic designer or a “good graphic designer”? If you charge a cheap price then clients will always only remember you for that, and you will attract clients who only care about the price. I understand that you are trying to increase your folio and I think that offering a discount while you are doing this is a good idea (maybe the 50% advertised on your website is a bit much) but I would make sure that your clients are very aware that this is not your usual price because when they reefer you on, your new clients will expect the same.

    How about offering a special until a certain date? or a great referral price?

    I think it’s not a good idea to openly advertise that you are building your folio as potential clients might think you don’t have enough experience for the job, so if you are trying to attract them on price a special could be inviting for them to enquire. Then once they enquire you can explain the circumstances and maybe provide some evidence that you are good at what you do (eg testimonials and the folio that you have)

    I always like when websites advertise at least a general idea of their pricing (eg Websites from x dollars) if I am comparing a range of options. I sometimes skip over options where I have to email for a quote as it’s a way to narrow down my decision. Would love to hear other people’s opinions on this though…

    Anyway this is only my opinion. All the best with your business, your websites are really nice and clean.

    Liz

    #1006902
    webs4u
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    Hi Liz,

    I agree with your comments. I know many businesses are struggling and don’t want to pay too much for anything but at the end of the day a website is probably their most effective marketing strategy and of most benefit to their business. It is ok to offer value for money, but the main focus should be on quality and delivering a product that is clean and functional and meets the need’s of the business.

    That’s my thoughts! Cheers, Tim.

    #1006903
    ray_223
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    I agree with the others … if you start a pricing war everyone will eventually lose. Saying that in such a competitive industry you will always have to be aware of the competition and prove to your potential customers you are “better value for money”.

    One strategy I see lots of designers use to build a portfolio is to do pro bono work for local non profits.

    The non profits are thankful for getting something donated, you can take your time and fit it in around paid work, and you will usually have some (if not all) of the input into the design (look and feel). So if you are pushing for a certain angle in your web design business you can persuade the non profit to step in that direction.

    Always try and work in a non profit where some small business people “hang out”. It can open up future opportunities ;)

    It also makes you feel good to contribute :)

    #1006904
    Anonymous
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    At what point do you stop undercutting other designers? When you’re all charging $10 an hour? You’d earn more money packing shelves at Coles.

    None of my clients base their decision on whether to use me or not on price – it’s almost always based on previous work and knowing who they’re dealing with. They have a reasonable expectation of what a well designed and functional site costs too.

    ServiceSeeking and the ‘pay-to-bid-for-$200-website-work’ type sites don’t help the profession one little bit. They’re used by people who expect a lot for their $200 and don’t value or appreciate what it takes to produce good design.

    The other problem that will befall you is that once you start working for cheap your clients will expect it very time. It’s harder to put your prices up.

    #1006905
    Jexley
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    I think what you’re going to keep hearing is going to all start sounding the same.

    Do NOT, whatever you do, choose your prices solely for the purpose of undercutting your competition.

    Base your prices on what value you think you provide, and you’ll not only get the right kind of clients coming to you but also be making better money at something your (hopefully) good at.

    Good luck.

    #1006906
    kobo
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    I was in the exact same boat – also web/graphic designer. Apart from doing free charity websites, I decided to work on other projects for myself, and put them in my portfolio. This made a huge difference. Also, you don’t need much in your portfolio. After 7 years I had an online portfolio with more than 60 items (all good in my opinion), but it seemed just as effective as having three which are sublime.

    You are only killing yourself if you under cut – I think the other responses have made that clear. Another option is to work in closely with say a printer or broking company. They do want cheap and often give you decent jobs. This way you are under-cutting but no one else knows about it. The broker thinks they are getting the best deal of their lives and in the meantime you make some money building your portfolio and more importantly – your experience.

    It is very difficult making a good portfolio as many clients think they know what a good design is, and tell you to add something ugly which then looks like you are the one at fault. I can only use half of my clients as samples as the others simply make my work look bad :-(

    Good luck

    #1006907
    Adam Randall
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    I agree with everything that has been said as well.

    I think you are approaching the pricing of your services the wrong way round.

    You must start by asking yourself “how much is this service going to cost me to provide”

    You add everything up, electricity, replacement computer every 3 years, ISP costs, insurance, liability, non billable time quoting, marketing and also posting on forums, reading forums, everything. You will only be cheating yourself if you do not do this.

    You will be shocked at how much it actually costs to provide a service.

    After you come to this figure, then you must add on top the profit margin you would like to make.

    Thats the figure you need to be charging, any less and you are not in business, you are providing charity or conducting a hobby.

    Realistically, any solo operator charging less than about $70 an hour (if its an hourly rate job) is slowly bleeding themselves dry, at best they will end up with creating a job for themselves. Why? Because I would say a good 40% of time is taken up doing non billable work.

    With web design in my own business, I quote on a minimum of 10 hours because I know that is the absolute minimum it is going to take to provide a minimum level of service for the client.

    I include domain name setup, email setup including on each pc they own, webhosting for first 12 months etc, basically anything and everything.

    Absolute minimum for that service is around 2K.

    Many newbie designers will get caught out because they have not thought through all the steps required to get a site to completion.

    An example of a cheap site versus a quality site.
    The 2K I mentioned above, if I wanted to target the cheap and cheerful end of the market. I can get a Joomla site with an individual template, 5 pages with client provided content, some photos, DNS setup, domain name setup, the whole lot in under an hour.

    I could sell a service like that for $299 easy and make more profit than I do now. But I think that strategy leaves a bad taste in everyones mouth.

    However, the client gets exactly what they ask for, a web site, no extras and they will be left with about 100 questions about how to get this and that working (email as an example)

    I could quite legitimately say, well thats not part of our design package, and its an extra $300 for that option (AKA BMW or Porsche)

    You know what? Its still going to cost them around 2K to get completed and the difference is, is that with my way, at least they know up front what they are going to have to pay.

    Still many small business operators are like moths to a flame when it comes to a supposed bargain…..

    #1006908
    linkartist
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    *sigh*

    Another “lets get into the web design business and devalue the whole industry so I can make a quick buck” person…

    If you are in business, need a website and are shopping on price alone, you just don’t get it, and you’ll be left behind.

    And that’s all I have to say on this… it’s not exactly like us professional, experienced web designers are living it up in the effing Caribbean… we have fixed costs, good quality equipment, insurance, tax & GST commitments… the list goes on. We arent just a bunch of naive nerds trying to make a bit of pocket money with our etchings in our spare time (although some people, who try to undercut their peers, probably are).

    Try haggling with your mechanic or lawyer, see how far you get.

    #1006909
    ray_223
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    linkartist, post: 6744 wrote:
    *sigh*

    Another “lets get into the web design business and devalue the whole industry so I can make a quick buck” person…

    [snip]

    Hi Tea,

    I think your response is coming over a little strong.

    The original post mentions a business and using a price reduction to get some work to build a portfolio.
    Something that (I think) many people would consider is a way to build a portfolio. We don’t even know what the discount is! Maybe it is a 10% discount on hosting costs? Price plans like this are commonly used by many people and can provide great results (even for established businesses).

    #1006910
    linkartist
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    You’re right, Ray… sorry, it came off the back of reading the previous thread so I was still heated up.

    I expect clients to devalue us – I am used to it because they dont understand the value. But to see a designer announce, on a forum with a heap of other designers, that they are deliberately going to undercut… seriously…?

    The OPs work appears to actually be quite decent compared to some of the stuff I have seen, so I take back what I said about them making a quick buck… but man am I getting tired of designers, who obviously don’t have any expenses (or are just living in denial about what it costs to be in business), undercutting those of us who pay our taxes & GST, and pay for liability insurance, and actually have contracts that have been looked at by lawyers…etc.

    I made assumptions I am sure, but the sentiment is still the same.

    #1006911
    ray_223
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    Hi Tea,

    I understand fully the reasoning behind your post.

    Web designing/developing is such a competitive business because there are so few barriers to entry. I can make a couple of sites for friends and next thing I’m a web designer/develop. Put up a website and start charging people money.

    Professional designers really do need to push the features of their services that the “backyard” designers lack in. Leela mentioned in another thread about the professionalism (or lack of …) of so many web developers or designers (I can’t remember which). Things like communication and deadlines.
    Add in long term maintenance and expansion of sites, SEO, security, general maintenance (downtime, software versions, security patches) etc etc.
    If you buy the services of a cheap developer/designer at least some (if not all) of these things will be lacking.

    To turn it around … everyone is welcome to start a web design/development business and learn from their mistakes. You can’t begrudge someone for wanting to step into the same industry as yourself ;)

    #1006912
    linkartist
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    Oh of course! I learned over a period of years by making the same mistakes, so I wouldn’t begrudge anyone else :)

    But I guess, when on a business forum, I take issue with bad advice when it comes to web designers. Most of us are not out to con anyone, or be adversarial in any way. We actually enjoy our jobs and want to genuinely assist our clients. And that is completely unrelated to price.

    With me, you don’t just get a website, but you get a network. I connect my clients with other clients who may be able to help each other out, etc etc… it’s as much a friendship and partnership as it is a mere transaction.

    #1006913
    Astrid
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    Téa – thanks .. exactly my sentiments …

    To all starters who try to work out their fees – I am using this calculation (translated it from German, so please excuse if it should sound a bit funny) – it’s easy to put into an Ecxel sheet.

    1. Profit Calculation
    a. Necessary Income (after taxes)
    b. Taxes
    Profit Target (sum a+b): 00000000

    2. Business Expenses:
    Rent
    Wages
    Advertising
    Car/Transport
    Travelcosts
    Telecommunication
    Stationery, Software, Licenses etc
    Insurances
    Depreciations/Amortization
    Various
    SUM: 0000000000000

    3. Planned Turnaround 
(= Profit + Expenses)

    4. Working hours
    Days/Year
    ./. Weekends (z. B. 2 x 52)
    ./. Public Holidays
    ./. Holidays
    = Working Days
    ./. Sickies
    = effective working days

    Working hours/day
    (eg 9)
    Working hours/year (eg 9 x effective working days)
    Utilisation in % (eg 70%)
    = Productive working hours

    Divide the planned turnaround by effective hours and you get your fee/hour.

    It’ll surprise you …

    Cheers
    Astrid

    #1006914
    linkartist
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    Let me just be clear that I am not in the habit of being mean, even if I can be a tad abrupt or direct!

    It is a really big problem in this industry, that pushes a lot of buttons.

    It took me facing bankruptcy to realise that I needed to stop being too soft, and actually charge what the service is worth. So if i appear to be rude, it’s not the intention, I just don’t want other designers whoa re starting out to make the same mistakes!

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