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Thread: What do I need to be a freelance designer

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Is there any web pros here that can tell me what I need to be a freelance designer as I am now a CIW and would like to start designing sites for people.

    I also need to know about web hosting.

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    You need to start out by designing some sites for free ... for friends or non-profit organizations.

    Once you have a couple of sites in your portfolio, you'll know by experience how long they took to design and complete. That will help you determine the fee you should charge.

    Create a template for a written agreement that both you and your client can sign and date. Always put in writing what your client expects the site to be (and do), and what you are going to complete. Include a timeframe on how long you will support changes (maybe 6 months, or 1 year?)

    When you and the client agree on the written document, both sign and date it ... each one retains a copy.

    You can include in writing how payments are to be made ... 1/2 now, 1/2 when complete ... or pay in advance ... whatever.

    The "put it in writing" thing sounds like overkill, but you'll soon get burned by the client that keeps emailing you with changes over the next three years ... and insists that he already paid you for it when you created the site.

    Next, create a nice template for invoices. Provide your client with an invoice that indicates you did "freelance web design" for him/her. Include dates, amounts (fees) and the final date when your services expire.

    This invoice is important to your client (for tax reasons), and for your tax purposes ... if you provide "freelance" services (not a product), you may not have to claim the income if it's under a certain amount ... and not pay state sales tax ... depending on where you live. Ask other "freelancers" in your area how they handle the extra income.

    ================================================== ==============

    And Finally, this bit of advice from others (source unknown).

    Draw a triangle on paper.

    Put the word "COST" at one point.
    Put the word "QUALITY" at another point.
    Put the word "TIME (deadline)" at the last point.

    Let your client pick two of the points. The client gets to negotiate his/her two items. YOU get to control the one that's left over!

    Example: if your client wants the site done quickly and cheap, you get to decide how well done it is (quality).

    ================================================== ==============

    WEBHOSTING:

    My advice here is to have the client pick one that has the features they need (example, MySQL, HTTPS, cgi-bin).

    Let them sign-up and register the domain name themselves using their own credit card.

    This part of the website creation is their responsibility.

    Each year, they will get billed for it ... and you won't have to deal with it.

    After the account is created, they will then email you the info with the username, password, FTP info, etc.

    ================================================== ================

    I've followed these guidelines for a couple years now, and have never had a problem yet.

    As far as what fee to charge?

    That's a tough one.

    That depends on whether the site is static, uses PHP or Perl, uses a database (such as MySQL), is a merchant account (w/shopping cart).

    All of these things affect how long it takes to create and debug.

    I try to go for the $30-$40 per hour range.

    That's my two-cents ...

    --max--


  4. #3
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    $30-$40 an hour is cheap considering the skill that is involved in quality web design.

  5. #4
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    For me it's "freelance" ... not my primary job.

    I guess if I had to support a family, pay insurance and such I would
    have to charge $1000-$2000 for a site like all the other "over-priced"
    web design services. I can also pick and choose who I design for.


  6. #5
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    What age would be acceptable for a freelance designer?
    Matthew Stocker
    (X)HTML, CSS, PHP & JavaScript Developer

  7. #6
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    Age doesn't matter imo, If you have teh skills to provide a good quality service to someone, then you will get paid, as long as you can show that your good. e.g. an online portfolio.

  8. #7
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    What even if you are 15-16?
    Matthew Stocker
    (X)HTML, CSS, PHP & JavaScript Developer

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstocker
    What even if you are 15-16?
    I'm 17 and work as a freelance designer!
    I know someone who is 14 and works and as a freelance designer, but he is truely amazing.

  10. #9
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    Oh ok then, i now know I have to work hard because i felt there was no point because i was too young.

    Thanks
    Matthew Stocker
    (X)HTML, CSS, PHP & JavaScript Developer

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstocker
    Oh ok then, i now know I have to work hard because i felt there was no point because i was too young.

    Thanks
    What do you know about web design?
    I could point you towards some helpful websites


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