4 Steps to Increasing your web design Prices
Web design isn’t for sissies. It takes a lot of knowledge, customer service skills, and many late nights to take a project from concept to completion. For all these reasons, you are probably not charging nearly enough for your services. And you aren’t alone. Most people, (designers included,) don’t know the true value of a website, making the subject of price very hard to navigate.
Why you need to charge more
If you price your website design project like used to, you’re basically just taking a stab in the dark. I used to do my best to estimate how long it would take, (I never guessed enough,) and since I didn’t have the confidence to charge a decent hourly rate, I was woefully underpaid for each job I took. Ultimately, I wasn’t making enough to make ends meet, so I took on more and more projects to the detriment of what was already on my plate.
As time wore on, I figured out that I should be charging more per job, rather than simply working more hours. That way, I was properly compensated and my time wasn’t spread too thin. This resulted in a much better end product for my clients. And ultimately, your clients are profiting on their web presence, and you deserve your fair share for making it all happen.
Why do so many designers charge so little?
If I had to attribute this phenomenon to any one thing, it would just be a lack of confidence. Most new designers have a very hard time asking for what they should be asking for to get the job completed successfully. While brand new designers shouldn’t be shooting for the same kinds of rates as more established designers, you shouldn’t be working for minimum wage either.
So figure out a fair yet realistic hourly rate to shoot for, and stick with it.
The Action Plan
Once you have a figure in mind, its time to take a few steps toward your goal.
Cohesive & Professional Branding
As designers, we should all be very familiar with the power of branding. And as designers, we are judged by our branding more than anyone else, so you better make sure yours absolutely sparkles. This includes all of your marketing materials, most importantly your own website. Make sure everything matches into a cohesive package, and you will be taken much more seriously. Good branding will paint you as the professional you are, allowing you to confidently charge more.
These days, offering your clients a website and nothing more can present a challenge. Many clients have a much longer list, and if you don’t check all of their boxes, they may move onto the next. Here are a few extras you might want to consider including (for more money of course.)
- Copywriting: Most clients know what they would like to say on their sites – in theory. But the truth is, many don’t know where those written words will come from. If you rely on them to deliver the copy, you may be waiting a long time. Forever in some cases. A much better idea is to offer this service yourself. If you don’t trust your web-writing skills, then pair up with a copywriter. Pay them, mark up their services, and roll it into the final purchase price for your client.
- Social media integration: This could include linking your clients’ sites to their social media profiles, adding buttons that allow users to share their content online, or designing accompanying layouts such as facebook covers and twitter backgrounds.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This is a biggie for most of today’s clients. Everybody wants to be found online, and if you can help them do it, you can charge much more for your services. If you don’t possess the knowledge necessary, there are plenty of SEO experts out there who will white label their services for you. Just make sure you do your homework and find one that knows what they are doing, and only uses the most up-to-date and ethical methods.
Make your minimum price known
While it isn’t always a good idea to publish your rates on your website, this is the exception.
Since most clients don’t have the slightest idea about what a website costs, you might as well establish your baseline right from the start to eliminate those who can’t afford your services. The danger of spending too much time on these prospects is that it takes away from the time you could be spending on the ones who can afford you.
Alert your current clients about the upcoming increase
The scariest part of raising your rates is fear of losing your stable of loyal clients that you already work with. Truth be told, you may lose a few, but if they aren’t paying what you need to stay in business, then you have nothing to lose.
The best tactic is to send each of your current clients an email (or give them a call,) to let them know that the increase is coming, and that moving forward, they can expect to pay the new increased rate. Without going into too much detail, simply explain that your costs need to increase in order to keep your high standards of work in place.
While it can be scary to think about charging more, the alternative is infinitely more frightening. Not only will raising your rates put more money into your business, but it will garner you much more respect with your clients. You will notice them giving your opinions more weight, which streamlines the entire design process. Have you recently raised your web design rates? Leave a comment below so the whole community can benefit from your experience!
About the Author: Wes McDowell is the creative director at The Deep End Web Design, Chicago. In addition, Wes co-hosts a popular podcast for designers called “The Deeply Graphic DesignCast.”