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How much should I charge as a freelance web designer?

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Are you visually creative, and tempted to work remotely for yourself? And do you have a brain that’s equal parts creative and mathematic? Do you also consider yourself something of a natural touch when it comes to design work? Then you might be looking to become a freelance web designer.

If you have design experience or qualifications, switching to a self-employed career has several attractions. It means you can be more flexible about your working hours, and choose your own working environment, or the tools and software you want to use.

It’s also a great option for anyone looking to trial freelancing part-time around an existing day job, or to offer it as a side-hustle to supplement your income. But knowing how much to charge for your services is something all fledgling freelancers struggle with. And that’s why we’re here to offer some guidance.

Freelance web designer rates

Depending on your level of experience and expertise, freelance web designers can charge anything between £10 and £100 per hour, or between £70 and £750+ per day. As with most freelance services, web design freelancer rates can fluctuate depending not only on experience level but also on location and the quantity/quality of the work required.

It also depends on whether you’re working as a web designer or a web developer. Where the designer will focus on the look of the site, a developer also focuses on how it functions – the backend, the site’s core structure and fixing bugs.

Hourly and day rates

Developers may charge by the hour or by the day, meaning for every hour/day spent on the project. If you charge a daily rate of £120, and the project ends up taking three days, you'll need to charge £360 at the end.

This is the preferred payment structure if you're looking for a brief project that can be completed in less than a week. If the project is more substantial than that, you might want to look at a flat rate, as more than a week's worth of daily/hourly rates is likely more than anyone would be willing to spend.

Flat rates

This is a payment method wherein the total cost is agreed before the project begins. Whether it takes three weeks or three months, you'll be charging the same, agreed-upon amount of money at the end of the project.

This payment structure is more suited to longform projects where the finish line might be a bit vaguer. If you're to work on a website with multiple aspects and elements that might take a while to piece together, a flat rate is the way to go.

How much should you charge as a freelance web designer?

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A few factors determine whether a freelancer should charge more or less than standard rate:

  • Pet projects. A freelancer might offer a non-profit, a friend or family a lower rate.
  • Project length. Long-term projects might deserve a slightly lower hourly rate.
  • Project difficulty. Will you need help from a programmer, developer, or graphic designer? Charge more. Is the project like another one you’ve already done? If you can copy and paste much of your past work or work from an existing template, charge less (unless you don’t want to).
  • Page count. More pages to design mean more work. Extras like a blog or an e-commerce component can cost more, too.
  • Commitment level. If you can only put in a few hours work here and there instead of committing to the project full time, consider lowering your price.
  • New or old client. Some web designers will charge a new client less to land the project, though this might set a bad precedent.

A freelance web designer should charge an hourly rate based on his cost of living and any business expenses. It’s best not to charge what you made when working as an employee.

A web design company pays for overhead like equipment, training and conferences, health insurance, utilities, software licenses and much more. A freelance web designer must set their minimum hourly rate to accommodate all of these expenses to keep their business afloat.

Going below your minimum hourly rate sets a bad precedent. Clients will start expecting this rate and you’ll start valuing yourself at this rate, which is even worse. You may get less work, but you’ll get paid well for the work you do get and have the time to do the job well.

If you’re charging a flat rate, meanwhile, it depends on the complexity of the job and the experience level of the designer. The more pages required, the more the website will cost.

What else affects your rates as a freelance web designer?

There are many other different factors that can affect the rate that a freelancer charges you. Below, you’ll find a few examples of the factors that determine how much you might charge:

The brief

When planning a website, a business needs to think carefully about what they really want. Are they after a simple, no-frills website? If so, you can expect to charge a much cheaper rate than for a website with many forms, eCommerce functionality, several pages etc. Likewise, a site designed in HTML5 with dynamic components should cost more than a content-managed site.

The length of the project

Is it a quick fix or a big website re-design? Unsurprisingly these should cost a significantly different amount. For larger projects, it's best to agree a fee up front for the whole project. Otherwise, you'll end up asking for extra by the hour should the project overrun and that can be awkward.

Your skills and experience

As with most industries, a freelance web designer’s experience and skills can massively affect the amount they charge. Expect to charge a lower rate as a junior designer, and a higher one as an experienced designer.

Tax

As self-employed workers, freelancers have to be acutely aware of paying their taxes. This can sometimes bump up your costs and you might want to consider bumping up your rate to negate the impact of tax and improve your overall take home pay.

So how much should you charge?

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The short answer is that it’s up to you. You need to come up with your price! There are no formulas or rules that determine how much you should charge for websites or web-related projects.

Some web designers charge £500 for a logo and others charge £50,000. When it comes to successful pricing as a freelancer, here are a few additional things to avoid and to consider when coming up with your prices:

Avoid

  • Creating quotes based on the number of hours it will take to complete the task. If you’re going to do this, you might as well bill by the hour.
  • Looking at what other people are charging for website projects. Although this provides insights into what clients are willing to pay, it should not overly influence your pricing.

Consider

  • If you want to work with a specific client. Maybe they are a friend or an up-and-coming artist that would look great in your portfolio. Both are valid reasons for a discount.
  • The customer’s budget. Often, the same project can be priced differently based on the industry or company you’re working with. This is why it’s always a good idea to focus on well-financed industries with high customer value such as professional services, construction, finance, events, medical, and e-commerce.
  • Using a retainer model that includes your fixed costs and minor changes. Most people don’t mind paying a small monthly fee knowing their website is in good hands and that they can request small changes without being charged any extras.

Asking around

Of course, these are all rough guidelines, but it should give you some idea how much other freelance web designers are charging. We would also recommend reaching out to the dozens of web designers on Creativepool for advice not only on charging but on building your portfolio and advancing your career.

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