Have you been banging your head against your desk wondering how to charge for a website? After all, customers don’t see the value, right?
All of my most popular podcast episodes here on Digital Masters have been about charging your worth.
That’s really no surprise! In our world, we’re often feeling like we’re fighting for the lowest bid and yet we know that that is not the way to build a profitable business.
You know the customer, you understand what they need, and you know you can help them, but we often get caught up in price.
“We should charge this, but will they pay it?”
In episode 34, we talked about 7 factors in your website pricing. I highly encourage you to go back and listen to that episode as it informs today’s. In this episode, I’m going to break that down a bit further and we’re going to talk about how exactly to charge for a website.
Let’s start earning our actual worth as web designers and developers.
Websites Are an Investment
A lot of pricing is around your mindset.
If you feel like your customer isn’t going to get a lot out of the website they’re buying from you, then of course you can’t and won’t charge a lot for that website.
But websites, a good website that increases conversions, builds their email list, and helps to create revenue, is an actual investment for a business.
Let’s take, for instance, an online service provider. They currently have a revenue of $5,000 per month, but they want to double that to $10,000/month.
You know that the website you’re building for them can help them to achieve that. If your client is aiming to earn double their current revenue or even just $15,000 in the next few months with that new website, why are you charging them less than $5,000 to build that website to begin with?
Website Pricing is All in Your Head
For most of us, what we charge to build our next website is largely in our heads. We don’t use set processes, calculators, or even past projects to inform that the way that we should.
We get caught up in what we think the customer is willing to pay. Not charging for a website at the price point that our services are actually worth to the customer.
Have you ever considered that the customer you offered a lowball price to might have been happy to pay double for what you charged?
Hard to think about, right?
You’re Selling a Marketing Foundation
Many web designers and developers also get caught up in what we’re selling. We’re just selling a website, we say!
A website, however, isn’t just one piece of a business’s marketing strategy. It is the brand’s hub on the internet and honestly for everything anymore. It is where all of their marketing leads back to. It’s where customers learn about the brand and decide whether or not they’d like to make a purchase or become a part of their community.
Plus, businesses lose $2.6 billion each year due to poor performing websites. Imagine what your amazing website can do to build a business’s marketing foundation and improve their sales.
Your Skillset is Unique
Less than 1% of the world’s population can actually build a website.
I don’t think I have to tell you how rare our skillset is, even with DIY website builders like SquareSpace and Wix in the market.
Start Selling the Website’s Value
You’re probably starting to see a pattern here already, but the key thing to remember is that you have to stop selling a website like it’s just another dot on the internet.
You have to sell based on the value you’re bringing to the customer.
Some of that requires getting to know your customer in the first consultation and learning what they are struggling with. What challenges are they facing with their website and their marketing as a whole? What solutions do they hope a new website will provide?
When you start selling based on how you help and keep it specific, you’ll find it all a lot easier to sell on the value, on the actual ROI, and on the actual investment.
Suddenly, you’ll be able to charge more for that same website you’re building.
8 Steps to Finding Your Price Point
Let’s get into the fun stuff!
Putting together my 17 years’ experience as a freelance web developer and peer research, I created my own pricing calculator.
But I love to share, so not only am I providing a complete breakdown of the 8 steps that go into the calculator, but you’ll also be able to use it yourself! I’ll tell you how you can snag it for free at the end of the episode.
Step 1: Define Your Client
This one feels a little easy, but if you haven’t done this yet, you really need to start to get to know your ideal client. Write down a few things that you already know about them, look at any past clients that you loved and fit in with your ideal, and create a buyer persona (which we discussed in episode 32).
At the very least, you need to know the basics of who your client is and what kind of revenue they might have. Don’t worry if you’re guessing a bit here, but it’ll help you determine the other answers.
Step 2: What’s Your Hourly Rate?
Have you set your hourly rate yet? When was the last time you actually took a look at what you were charging hourly?
If you’re not sure if yours is right, you might consider several factors like your experience level, skill level, and the types of websites you’re building (Elementor or SquareSpace vs custom code, for instance).
Step 3: Time is Money
Have you been tracking your time on your projects? I personally use Toggl Track, which is an amazingly easy time tracking system and it’s completely free.
If you’ve never really tracked your time on a project, you’re doing yourself a disservice. How long it takes you to build a project is a huge piece of what you should be charging.
Never tracked your time? Make a rough estimate on how many hours it takes you to put together a 5 page website, and don’t forget to include time for emails, project management, design, copy, and the actual build, too.
Step 4: Flat Rate or Hourly?
You next have to decide how you want to charge your clients. Are you going to bill them for all hours worked and just provide them with an estimate of what you expect a website build to take?
That can be beneficial because you get paid for all of your time, but if you bid too low it can make clients wildly unhappy.
Or, will you provide a flat-rate price? With flat rates, everyone knows exactly how much a website project will cost but you have to be super careful about preventing scope creep.
If you do go for flat rate, ensure that you have everything you’re going to do in writing and you’ll have to be firm about keeping to those boundaries.
Step 5: Do Some Math
You can probably guess that to get your basic website cost, you’ll want to take the estimated hours times your hourly rate.
But when you’re building on a flat rate, you need to add some padding for unseen circumstances, designers getting fancy, and some admin time.
Step 6: Account for Additional Pages
Not all websites you’re building are going to be the same size. Since our estimate was built around a 5 page website, you’ll want to get more specific for this project.
Think about how long each page takes you (for an entire part of the project, not just the build) and how many pages are actually in this website project.
Step 7: Account for Extra Value
All web designers and developers are not created equal either.
If you’re going a bit above and beyond for your clients, you need to calculate that into your overall cost and value, especially with a flat rate project.
I’m talking about things like writing copy, doing on-page SEO, accessibility, and other pieces that we all forget to include in our estimates.
Step 8: Put it All Together
Now, you have to factor in everything we’ve calculated to get the actual price of your website.
Want to make this easy and get an understanding for all the extra value pieces you might be forgetting or just simply want to calculate the cost of your flat-rate websites?
If you go to becomeadigitalmaster.com, the pricing calculator is listed right on the front page. All you have to do is enter your email and you’ll be able to access it for free!
Plus, you can use this over and over again to help you get an estimated amount you should be charging for the websites you’re building.
Don’t worry though – that’s all linked conveniently for you in today’s show notes.
Charge. Your. Worth.
What I really want you to take away from today’s episode?
Stop the race to the bottom and don’t be afraid to charge your worth!
It’s super easy to get caught up in wanting to sign that next contract, but I promise you – the clients that get hung up on price are the ones who are the biggest drain on you.
Focus on the high-quality clients that will love your work and be happy to pay what you’re charging.
Grab that pricing calculator for free so you can learn how to charge for a website: