Freelance website designer: how much to charge for a website đź’»

  • Remote Working & Freelancing
Contra Tips
· 12 min read

Freelance website designer: how much to charge for a website đź’»

Websites are much more than just a digital contact page - they're how brands and companies tell their story to the world. 

The wrong copy, misplaced design, or odd glitch can turn potential customers away and make them question the business's credibility. That's where freelance website designers like you come in, wielding your skills to craft compelling online experiences that captivate and convert.

But as you embark on your freelance journey, one question looms: how much should you charge for your website design services?

Pricing your work correctly is crucial for attracting the right clients, maintaining a steady stream of projects, and ensuring your financial success as a freelancer.

Undercharge, and you risk undervaluing your skills and struggling to make ends meet. Overcharge, and you might price yourself out of potential projects and lose clients to competitors. Finding the sweet spot in pricing is a delicate balancing act that requires careful consideration of various factors.

Whether you're a seasoned freelance website designer looking to reassess your pricing strategy or a newcomer trying to determine your worth, this guide will give you the knowledge and confidence to charge what you deserve.

Breaking it down - what goes into website design and development? 🛠️

If you're going to charge effectively for web projects - be it by project or hourly rate - you need to know what goes into website design cost in general. Like a recipe, the overall website cost will combine various factors and phases. 

Here's a rough overview of the (many) parts of any web design project:

Let's look at each phase of the website design journey.

  1. Client and competitor research
    • Conducting in-depth discussions with clients to understand their business, target audience, and goals
    • Analyzing competitors' websites to identify industry trends, best practices, and opportunities for differentiation
    • Gathering insights and inspiration to inform the website design strategy
  2. Information architecture and wireframing
    • Organizing the website's content and structure to ensure intuitive navigation and user flow
    • Creating low-fidelity wireframes to visualize the layout and functionality of key pages
    • Collaborating with clients to refine the wireframes and ensure alignment with their vision
    • Helping clients navigate hosting options such as Bluehost, Wordpress, and other web hosting options
  3. Visual design and branding
    • Developing a cohesive visual language that reflects the client's brand identity and resonates with their target audience
    • Designing high-fidelity mockups of key pages, incorporating typography, color schemes, and imagery
    • Iterating on the designs based on client feedback and user testing results
  4. Front-end development
    • Translating the approved designs into functional, responsive web pages using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
    • Ensuring cross-browser compatibility and optimal performance across devices
    • Implementing interactive features, animations, and user interface elements to enhance the user experience
  5. Back-end development and CMS integration
    • Setting up the server-side infrastructure and database management
    • Integrating a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Shopify to enable easy content updates
    • Developing custom functionality, plugins, or integrations to meet the client's specific requirements
  6. Content creation and optimization
    • Collaborating with clients or copywriters to develop compelling, SEO-friendly content for each page
    • Optimizing images, videos, and other media assets for fast loading times and improved user experience
    • Ensuring content is structured and formatted for readability and accessibility
  7. Testing, quality assurance, and launch
    • Conducting thorough testing across devices and browsers to identify and fix any bugs or issues
    • Performing quality assurance checks to ensure all functionality, links, and forms are working correctly
    • Coordinating with clients to finalize the content, obtain approval, and plan the website launch
  8. Post-launch maintenance and tech support
    • Providing ongoing website maintenance, including software updates, security patches, and backups
    • Offering training and support to clients to help them effectively manage and update their website
    • Monitoring website performance, analytics, and user feedback to identify areas for improvement and optimization

As you can see, website design and development involve various skills, expertise, and time investment. And the average freelance web designers - often caught between pricing just right and landing the gig - can undercut themselves when pricing website cost. 

By understanding and articulating the value you bring to each stage of the process, you can more confidently charge rates that reflect your expertise and your work's impact on your clients' businesses.

Remember, you're not just designing a pretty DIY website or throwing some parts together in a website builder - you're crafting a powerful online tool that can drive business growth, engage audiences, and leave a lasting impression. Your pricing should reflect the strategic thinking, creative problem-solving, and technical prowess you bring to the table.

Pricing and website building - what should you factor into web design as a freelancer?

Repeat this to yourself - freelance web designers are highly sought-after, highly-trained professionals.

One more time.

Now, do you believe it? 

Put away those imposter syndrome tendencies. It's time to start building out how you will price your next project and what goes into the value - website cost and all.

As a freelance website designer, there are several key factors to consider when determining how much to charge for your services. Let's explore these factors and how they can impact your pricing decisions.

The web development project's scope and complexity

The scope and complexity of a website design project are crucial factors in determining your pricing. A simple brochure website with a few pages will require less time and effort than a large e-commerce site with complex functionality.

Consider the number of pages, features, and integrations required when estimating the project scope. A helpful formula for general website cost to keep in mind is:

Base Price + (Number of Pages Ă— Price per Page) + (Number of Features Ă— Price per Feature) = Project Price

Client's website development budget and expectations

Understanding your client's budget and expectations is essential for pricing your services effectively. Have open and honest conversations with your clients about their budget constraints and what they hope to achieve with their website building process.

If a client has a limited budget, you may need to adjust the project scope or offer alternative solutions to fit within their financial means. On the other hand, if a client has a higher budget and expects premium features and services, your pricing should reflect the added value you provide.

Your web designer experience and resume

Your experience and skill level as a website designer play a significant role in determining your pricing. As you gain more experience, develop specialized skills, and build a strong portfolio, you can command higher rates for your services. Again, remember that freelance web designers are skilled professionals - and freelancers should be paid just the same as any other skilled professional.

A simple formula to consider is:

(Your Hourly Rate Ă— Estimated Project Hours) + (Premium for Specialized Skills or Experience) = Project Price

Web developer and design market demand

Research the market demand and competition in your niche to ensure your pricing is competitive yet fair. Look at what other freelance website designers with similar experience and skills charge for comparable projects.

Remember that pricing too low may undervalue your services and attract low-quality clients, while pricing too high may deter potential clients. Strike a balance that reflects your value and aligns with market expectations.

Any other additional web design services you may offer

One reason freelancers can make a living from their web developer and design skills is their flexibility to offer more than just a DIY website.

Consider any additional services you offer beyond website design, such as copywriting, SEO optimization, or ongoing maintenance. These services can add significant value to your clients and justify higher pricing.

When pricing additional services, consider the time and effort required, as well as the impact they have on the website's overall success. A simple formula to keep in mind is:

Base Website Design Price + (Additional Service Ă— Hours Required Ă— Your Hourly Rate) = Total Project Price

By carefully evaluating each of these factors and using them to inform your pricing strategy, you can ensure that you're charging rates that reflect the value you bring to your clients and the effort you put into each project.

Remember, pricing is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each project and client is unique, and your pricing should be tailored to each situation's specific needs and circumstances. Don't be afraid to have open conversations with your clients about your pricing and the value you provide. Transparency and clear communication are key to building trust and long-lasting client relationships.

Pricing the website cost - how freelancers build their web design rates

As a freelance website designer, you have several pricing models to choose from when structuring your services and billing your clients. Each pricing model has its advantages and considerations, and the best approach will depend on your business goals, client preferences, and project requirements.

Hourly rate pricing

Hourly rate pricing is a straightforward model where you charge a set rate for each hour of work you put into a project. This model suits projects with uncertain scopes or when you're working on ongoing tasks and maintenance.

To determine your hourly rate, consider your experience, skills, and market rates. A simple formula to calculate your hourly rate is:

(Annual Income Goal + Business Expenses) Ă· (Number of Billable Hours per Year) = Hourly Rate


  • Straightforward and easy to understand for clients
  • Ensures you're compensated for all the time you invest in a project
  • Allows for flexibility if the project scope changes


  • Can be challenging to estimate the total project cost upfront
  • May disincentivize efficiency and productivity
  • Can lead to scope creep if not managed properly

Project-based pricing

Project-based pricing involves quoting a fixed price for the entire website design project based on a well-defined scope of work. This model provides clarity and predictability for both you and your client.

To determine your project-based price, consider the estimated time required, hourly rate, and additional expenses. A simple formula to calculate your project-based price is:

(Estimated Hours Ă— Your Hourly Rate) + Additional Expenses = Project Price


  • Provides a clear and predictable cost for the client
  • Encourages efficiency and effective time management
  • Allows for better project planning and resource allocation


  • Requires accurate project scoping and estimation
  • Can be less flexible if the project scope changes significantly
  • May involve more upfront work to define project deliverables and milestones

Value-based pricing

Value-based pricing focuses on the perceived value and impact of the website design project rather than solely on the time and effort required. This model aligns your pricing with the client's goals and the outcomes they expect to achieve.

To determine your value-based price, consider the client's business objectives, the website's potential return on investment (ROI), and your unique expertise. A simple formula to calculate your value-based price is:

(Perceived Value to the Client Ă— Your Value Multiplier) + Additional Expenses = Project Price


  • Aligns your pricing with the client's goals and perceived value
  • Allows for higher profit margins if you deliver exceptional results
  • Encourages a focus on outcomes and client satisfaction


  • Can be challenging to quantify the perceived value and ROI
  • Requires a deep understanding of the client's business and industry
  • May involve more upfront discussions and negotiations with the client

Retainer agreements

Retainer agreements charge a fixed monthly fee for a predetermined set of website design services or a specific number of hours. This model suits ongoing projects, long-term collaborations, or clients requiring regular support and maintenance.

To determine your retainer fee, consider the scope of services, the estimated monthly hours required, and your hourly rate. A simple formula to calculate your retainer fee is:

(Estimated Monthly Hours Ă— Your Hourly Rate) + Additional Expenses = Monthly Retainer Fee


  • Provides a predictable and stable income stream
  • Allows for a deeper understanding of the client's needs over time
  • Encourages long-term relationships and client loyalty


  • May require a long-term commitment from both parties
  • Can be less flexible if the client's needs change significantly
  • May involve more administrative work to track hours and deliverables

When choosing a pricing model for your freelance website design services, consider your business goals, target clients, and the nature of the projects you typically work on.

Working on a business website that's one-and-done? Consider the value rate over an hourly rate to ensure you're getting paid what the company expects to bring in over time, thanks to your web design. Looking to create long-lasting relationships with an agency? A retainer fee for your web designer prowess may be in order.

Remember, pricing is not just about covering your costs and making a profit; it's also about communicating the value you bring to your clients.

You're more than a DIY website builder - so start charging like it!

Freelance web designers often struggle to price their web design projects properly - and they can face burnout quickly when they do more than they can handle because their freelance rates are too low. The key is to bring everything you do as a web design expert to the table to negotiate a fair market rate for your skills.

The best website builders know the true power behind a professional website - long-term returns that often exceed the initial investment cost of the custom website. Whether you're building a small business website or an ecommerce website, the end result is the same - a unique piece of art that helps consumers connect with companies and solve problems.

When you can tell a story with your web developer skills, you become a partner in helping a brand - far more than just a website builder who offers freelance design services. Make yourself invaluable to your clients, and you'll soon discover just how much the website cost is worth!

Find inspiration for both website cost and web design on Contra

Are you ready to take your web developer career to the next level? Contra is where freelance web designers are meeting clients who know the value of a website cost and are willing to work with experienced freelancers to create incredible projects.

Contra is the leading commission-free freelance platform helping web designer and developer talent bring their web design services to clients in need. Sign up and see just how easy it is to get started on Contra - and build your own web design portfolio using Contra AI-powered portfolio magic today!

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