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  1. #1
    Member michiepoo's Avatar
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    Hey all, I'm serious about starting up a freelance web design business. I already have a name and a potential logo. Here is my plan so far:

    Starting Services:

    - Custom web design
    - Template-based designs (eg selling/customizing Template Monster Templates)
    - Script Installations

    My questions:

    1. How much do you charge per hour for a custom design?
    2. Do you charge separately if you will also code a site and/or make it work on a CMS? If so, how much do you charge per hour for this?
    3. How much do you charge per hour for an e-commerce site?
    4. How do you show a user a project in progress? Is it a secret URL? Do you wait until you've recieved payment before showing it to them?
    5. How much do you charge if you will be updating the site after it's complete?

    Thanks for any advice you can give me!
    The hardest thing about the world is to live in it. (Buffy).

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  3. #2
    Member michiepoo's Avatar
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    One more question:

    If you offer domain/hosting set up, do you ask your clients to give you their credit card info so you can set up the name/hosting for them?
    The hardest thing about the world is to live in it. (Buffy).

  4. #3
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    Firstly, Happy New Year!

    1. I wouldn't charge per hour when you are first starting, can cause problems. I would charge an overall price for the project.
    2. I would charge extra for making a site work with a CMS, not sure how much sorry just starting out myself
    3. Sorry, not sure about this but e-commerce sites are normally more than normal sites.
    4. I would provide a client login, where they can view current status, what work needs to be done, what has been done etc.
    5. I would charge a base fee for an update, plus an additional fee for the amount of work needed. e.g. $50 base fee & $100 for work needed.
    6. I would let the client set up the name with your help, this would stop any legal problems later on.

    Hope i could be of some help

  5. #4
    Member michiepoo's Avatar
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    Hi, happy 2006 to you, too! Thanks for your reply. So you suggest a fixed rate as opposed to an hourly rate? What kind of problems would an hourly rate cause?
    The hardest thing about the world is to live in it. (Buffy).

  6. #5
    Senior Member Eddy Bones's Avatar
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    You may take longer than the more skilled professionals that have been doing it for a long time, thus your client would pay more. If you are new to the business side of web design you probably won't know how long it will take you to do a specific job, so you wouldn't be able to quote an overall price for the project at an hourly rate. It could be anyone's guess. At a fixed rate they'll pay the same thing for a one week project that could take you two weeks to do.

    With experience you'll learn how long certain things take, but for now I would suggest being nice to clients and giving them a fixed rate.

  7. #6
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    Basically what Eddy said. If you were working on an hourly pay basis and told a client you would be done within a week, but took two weeks, would cause serious problems. Once you have been doing it for a while and have some experience of how long things take, then maybe consider an hourly rate.

  8. #7
    Member michiepoo's Avatar
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    I see what you mean and it makes sense. The only problem is that clients could potentially take advantage of me as well, like requesting more work that's worth more than the one fixed price they're paying.

    And I have no idea what to charge for a fixed rate.

    Also, is it a good idea to state my prices on my website, or don't reveal prices until someone asks for a quote?
    The hardest thing about the world is to live in it. (Buffy).

  9. #8
    Senior Member Eddy Bones's Avatar
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    I would set up a "master price plan" - basically a sheet that lists the prices you think are reasonable for various parts of web sites. Don't show anyone the list though. It's none of their business until they want your business.

    Quote Originally Posted by michipoo
    The only problem is that clients could potentially take advantage of me as well, like requesting more work that's worth more than the one fixed price they're paying.
    That would not be an issue assuming you do the contract correctly. You get the specifics of what they want, then you give them a price. If you are both in agreement, then you both sign a contract stating exactly the work that you are going to do, and the agreed upon price. Game, set, match. If they ask for more work to be done (beyond what's stated in the original contract), you are under no obligation to do it unless they want to sign another contract and pay you more money.

  10. #9
    Member michiepoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddy Bones
    I would set up a "master price plan" - basically a sheet that lists the prices you think are reasonable for various parts of web sites. Don't show anyone the list though. It's none of their business until they want your business.


    That would not be an issue assuming you do the contract correctly. You get the specifics of what they want, then you give them a price. If you are both in agreement, then you both sign a contract stating exactly the work that you are going to do, and the agreed upon price. Game, set, match. If they ask for more work to be done (beyond what's stated in the original contract), you are under no obligation to do it unless they want to sign another contract and pay you more money.
    Okay, that makes sense, so I can make it 100% clear that what the price covers is what's in the original quote.

    All right one more question - when do I ask for payment? should I demand at least a 50% downpayment before I start work? Or should I just do a basic mockup of the design, show it to them with a "PREVIEW" watermark over it, and then if they like it, demand payment before proceeding with coding? What if they decide to take something OUT of the original contract? Like, we agreed on a CMS system, but they suddenly decide they want a plain XHTML site instead?

    Thanks, I really appreciate your help. I'm so new to this business thing! The only site I've done for pay was for my uncle, and he's family so he was very lenient. All other sites I've done for people have been for free.
    The hardest thing about the world is to live in it. (Buffy).

  11. #10
    Senior Member Eddy Bones's Avatar
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    Payment depends on a few factors.

    First you should think about the size of the job. If you are simply making a static site that will only take a few days and make you a few hundred dollars there does not seem to be a reason for upfront payment. Obviously you always have them pay before you give them the finished product, so if they don't make that payment then you will only have lost a few days. A few days that could have been spent on better clients, but still not much time or effort.

    If it's a full-blown job with custom scripting that will cost the client into the thousands, then you may want to think about down payments or payments based on completion of certain site elements. Play it safe when a lot of money and effort is at stake.

    Think about what you know or can find out about the client's financial situation and past credit history. If you gather that they have had trouble making payments on time or at all you may want to ask for a down payment or avoid them altogether.

    Always make sure that your chosen payment terms are covered specifically before you do any work, and put them in the contract.

    Quote Originally Posted by michiepoo
    What if they decide to take something OUT of the original contract? Like, we agreed on a CMS system, but they suddenly decide they want a plain XHTML site instead?
    No problems there. Simply redraft the contract to cover the changes and have both parties sign and date it.

    And air-tight contract will benefit you and the client in the long run. Be sure to spend adequate time explaining it to them in full.


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