I made a big mistake on my second-ever web design project. My client wanted me to build them a custom website that included heavy-duty HTML and CSS styling that I was extremely unfamiliar with.
Having just started as a web designer, I spent many late nights both learning on the fly and slaving away at this website trying to get it to look presentable.
Once completed, all I got out of the project was a measly $1,500.
While that might seem like a lot, and it certainly was for me at the time, looking back I realize that a better price for the amount of work I did would have been closer to $5,000.
However, I was still learning so I bit the bullet and built the site anyway with zero complaints.
Correctly pricing a web design project is one of the most important factors in building a successful web design business.
It can save you a lot of headaches, frustration, and hours of unpaid labor.
Here are some tips I suggest you take into account if you’re wanting to learn how to best charge clients for building a WordPress website.
Have a Set Minimum Price in Mind
Before I take on any web design project, I always have a set minimum price in mind that I rarely deviate from.
Setting this price is important so you don’t end up taking on a project and feeling like you’re getting shortchanged.
Personally, my minimum price is $1500-$2000 per web design project. This price is largely intuitive and because I have a portfolio so I can charge more than I did when I had no portfolio.
If you are just starting out, it may be smart to have your price lower – anywhere from $500-$1000.
My first client paid me $500 upfront and $500 once I finished, and that felt very reasonable to me at the time.
I would not go any lower than that unless the work would end up being fairly easy and it could score you a reference.
If you have a client that wants you to build a large website with a lot of moving parts, you could easily charge them anywhere from $4,000-$6,000.
Normally, however, when working with small businesses the prices for websites will stay around the $1,000-$2,000 range.
Go with your gut when it comes to pricing WordPress websites for small businesses, and don’t go lower than your minimum if the client rejects your first offer – trust me.
In my opinion, you should never work for less than you’re worth.
Factor Time Spent on Each Project
If you’re unable to figure out a price intuitively, a great way to price your projects is to calculate the amount of time you think it will take you to finish building their site.
My first website took me about 4 weeks to finish with me working about an hour a day on it, so that would have been roughly 28 hours.
The average web developer salary is $64K which is around $31/hr, so if we use this number then 28 x 31 = $868.
Add in a few fees like setting up the site, installing plugins, etc. and you could easily price the website around $1000.
I don’t recommend including your hourly rate or fees in your proposal, this exercise is more for yourself so you can know how to price things.
Most business owners (at least in my experience) like seeing just one flat rate they have to pay and hate being nickel-and-dimed.
Include Every Detail in Your Proposal
While your rate is best structured as a flat fee, you should still include as much detail about the work you’re going to be doing as possible.
When a client sees how many things you’re going to be doing for them, the perceived value of your services will go up.
For example, if all you put in your proposal is the following:
New Website – $1,000
It won’t seem as valuable to the client since there’s not really much detail on what goes into building their new website.
Now, if you include items in your proposal like this:
- Custom Slider
- Stock Photos
- Custom Favicon
- Brand New Content
- Google Analytics Installation
- Google Search Console Account Set Up
- Bing Webmaster Tools Account Set Up
- WordPress Plugin Installation
- WordPress Theme Installation
They will be more likely to sign with you even though both scenarios show the same price and amount of work.
The only difference between these two is one of these has more detail than the other.
Clients will be more likely to see the value of your services when they see how much work you’ll actually be doing.
In other words, the devil really is in the details – and he’s got dollar signs in his eyes!
Outline Your Scope of Work and Try Not to Go Outside It
When writing your proposal, make sure that you specifically outline the amount of work you plan on doing and let the client know what sort of work would go outside the scope that they paid for.
Make sure you communicate this with your client effectively, as there can sometimes be misunderstandings between both parties.
I told my first client that I would make any “changes” to their website for free after I built it for them, and somehow they thought that included completely redesigning the site after they’ve paid me for it!
What I meant by that was if they didn’t like something after I showed them the first draft of their website, I would make changes without charging them.
Of course, I didn’t explicitly say it like that in the proposal, so they thought I meant I would make ALL changes to their site INDEFINITELY without charging them.
Thankfully, the client was understanding when I explained to them what I meant and I still work with them to this day.
When you’re first starting out, it may be difficult to tell a client “no”, but in situations like this it’s paramount you do so or you could end up working several hours unpaid.
Of course, there are certain circumstances where it would be unreasonable to charge a client (i.e. updating a plugin for them on their website), but a good rule of thumb is never do anything unpaid that could take more an hour to complete.
Pricing WordPress websites can be difficult at first, but following these tips should help you determine how much to charge your clients.
Remember to always have your set minimum price in mind, estimate the amount of time you think it’ll take to complete the project, provide lots of details in your proposal, and never go outside the outlined scope of work unless it’s a quick fix.
An SEO expert, web designer, and writer, Thomas writes on topics he deems fun such as digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and personal development. Since 2014, he’s worked with countless business owners to help them improve their organic presence online. When he’s not writing about online business or geeking out about the latest Google algorithm update, he spends his free time playing the piano and working out with his wife.