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28 Comments

  1. Posted January 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    After reading all this article, I can only class myself as fortunate that Lorelle has spent so much time on giving me feedback for no cost. Thus I have to class her as an expert and generous – perhaps to a fault

    Perhaps she will get her reward in the hereafter – if one exists. Since she travels the world, I wonder if she ever gets to Australia. If she gets to Melbourne, I can show her the sights and give her a meal – or even two.

    • Posted January 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      @Bill: LOL! One of my business partners lives in Melbourne. I’ll be talking about him in an upcoming article. I’ll be there soon. And thank you for the kind words and support.

    • Qatar
      Posted June 10, 2012 at 1:49 am | Permalink

      I would rather copy and paste what Bill has said above, except for the part where he invited her to Australia .. “If she gets to Qatar, I can show her the sights and give her a meal – or even 10″
      Please contact me if u ever come to Qatar. Thank you for the marvelous informative post.

  2. Posted January 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I feel like I’m probably still undercharging somewhat for my web design ($500-1500 for a WordPress site), but I have long learnt the lesson of seriously undercharging. It’s not worth it. If you advertise yourself as cheap, you’ll get the dregs of clients and they’re the worst to deal with.

    • Posted January 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      @Dave: Bad clients are horrible no matter what your business. The same applies to quick fix and vague promises for cheap. It’s a two way street.

  3. Posted January 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Does Melbourne know of the honour that you have bestowed? I hope that the Mayor will arrange to give you the keys of the city and a decent reception.

    If you have any time my offer of sights and a meal or two still stands.

    How long will you stay? Will you give any lectures> If so, when and where?

    In what suburb does your partner live?

    • Posted January 4, 2012 at 1:19 am | Permalink

      LOL! No plans yet, just a lot of talk. No clue where exactly Kym lives. You can find more about him on Kym Huynh. I’m sure he will alert the mayor to start shining the keys. Hee hee.

  4. Posted January 4, 2012 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    I find that many companies here seriously underestimate the cost of hiring someone to produce an integrated web presence and are completely put off when they find out how much those rates are. My daughter, who has been working in Germany for the past 5 years, says that compared to what companies there charge for similar work, Israeli companies grossly undercharge. What I’m trying to say is that, in spite of the Web having a global reach, each local market seems to have it’s own tolerances.

    • Posted January 4, 2012 at 1:19 am | Permalink

      @Jennifer, you are exactly right. These are numbers from within the United States and Canada and not representative of the world. I should have mentioned that. Thanks!

  5. Posted January 4, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    I found this extremely enlightening. I don’t offer web development services to the general public anymore, but I will build sites for friends who have very minimal needs and the ability to handle upkeep on their own. In most cases, I’ll do it on trade.

    Last summer, a good friend was quoted $8k for a website by the folks who designed his logo. True that they have talented designers and would have created a more visually appealing final product, but he didn’t NEED an $8K website. I knocked off a decent WordPress-based site in about 20 hours and let him pay me what he thought it was worth. I’m still drinking the 8-1/2 CASES of wine he gave me. (Did I mention he was an award-winning winemaker?) Since his wine retails for $16-$22/bottle, I was actually paid more than I expected. (I was hoping for 4 cases.)

    I do realize, however, that it’s pretty much impossible to make a living doing business on trade. Until recently, I made most of my living as a writer. As you so astutely pointed out, the going rate for professional writing is falling throughg the floor. This has forced me to reconsider my stand on developing websites. Although my winemaker friend can always pay me with his excellent wine, I will be looking for real money from future clients — even the winemakers. Now I know how much I should be asking for. Thanks!

    • Posted January 4, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      @Maria: As I watched my writing and photography income fall faster than a meteoroid as web publishing shot upward without the income to support those careers, I had to switch things around, too. Luckily, I adored the code behind a web page from day one.

      I also had expectations before I read Collier’s article. From my perspective, there is a glut in the market of “amateur” (using the true definition of the word) web designers, especially for WordPress. The surveys I’ve seen targeted “professionals” but I bet the average site design price is closer to your wine barter (though not in award-winning prestige). As I enter the world of academia, it’s more important than ever to get these students thinking about changing their rates so I can eat and pay my mortgage in our shared industry so web design and development doesn’t go the way of writing and photography. It’s going to take a lot of education around the world to increase the level of proficiency (Design by the School of Google Search ain’t it) and appropriate rates.

    • Posted January 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      I can tell you that my friend’s designers were very upset to learn that he’d farmed the work out to a friend. They warned him that it would probably look pretty bad — most sites created by amateurs (in the real sense of the word) are gawdawful. But I’ve been around the block a few times — been building Web sites since 1994 (not a typo) — and I can throw together something respectable. WordPress makes it easy. In the end, what I delivered works now at a price he can afford. If the winery really takes off and he wants to upgrade his Web image, he can always call them. BTW, you can find the site here, if you’re interested: http://www.beaumontcellars.com/.

      My writing career has been devastated by the rise of the web. I went from a healthy six figures down to a decent five in the span of three years. Ouch. There are multiple reasons: (1) there are fewer and fewer beginning to intermediate computer users (my typical audience), (2) anyone on the Web can Google an answer faster and easier than looking it up in a book, (3) new writers are willing to write for little or nothing to break into the field, (4) publishers are publishing fewer books, etc. The list goes on and on. There’s no way around it other than to diversify.

      Oddly, I got my very best complement as I was finishing up my most recent book. My editor of many years, who has been working with a lot of new writers as the publisher attempts to cut costs by using inexperienced authors, told me that it was a pleasure and a relief to work with someone who actually knew what she was doing. Okay, well if that’s the case, why not give more of us old timers more of the work? If they want quality, they know where to get it — and what it costs.

      I’m with you all the way. There’s a point where the “breaking into the field” portion of a career should end and, with it, the low compensation rates. We need to stand firm and be compensated properly.

  6. Posted January 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I have sent the Mayor a cloth to help him shine the keys. Further my wife (a wildlife carer) has about a dozen birds in cages in my house that every day she releases them to fly around the house screeching – what I assume amounts to obscenities. When You visit me she has promised to keep them in their cages. Please do not fall over with anticipated excitement about the many honours that will come your way.

  7. Posted January 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    This article is a fantastic resource for me. It’s been very difficult to find pricing information for what I do. Others I know who do it are shy about sharing their rates for the usual reasons, I think. They don’t know if they are charging enough or they don’t want others undercutting their prices. I’ve been basing my rates on my skill level and the complexity of what I am customizing for a client. Usually $300-$500 per WordPress install including a custom theme design. No serious coding.. mostly CSS and maybe some custom ‘loops’ for content display. I can see I have a lot of reading to do and I need to branch out with my skill set. I need to offer a broader service to my clients that fulfills business needs beyond having a website. I need to focus on WordPress as an advertising nexus for social media outlets and newsletters that the client can manage on their own once set up properly. You have given me so many ideas for expanding what I do from the mere technical to more towards providing a business service.
    I have lots to learn though before I move in that direction. I don’t believe in the “fake it ’til you make it” mantra I’ve heard before. You can make more money that way sooner.. but you can easily get in over your head as well and be unable to deliver what the client is paying for.

    -Matthew

    • Posted January 6, 2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink

      @Matthew: Pricing projects like this is complicated indeed. The information from this survey is generalized information, I’m sure. A simple WordPress install with a free Theme shouldn’t be a big deal nor a time consumer, and working with a knowledgeable and trustworthy client may shave 20 hours off a project where you might need to add another 40 hours to a project if a client is picky and a micro-manager. Lots of compromise in the negotiation of a project.

      I’m glad you don’t support the “fake it til you make it” as that is what gives our industry a bad name. Good for you!

  8. Posted January 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Good day, Lorelle:

    Even in today’s economy where there’s more down than up, we need reminders like your well written article that charging fair rates for fair value is a good thing.

    Thank you for taking the time to remind all of us of the value we can add for our clients.

  9. Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    I find that many companies here seriously underestimate the cost of hiring someone to produce an integrated web presence and are completely put off when they find out how much those rates are. My daughter, who has been working in Germany for the past 5 years, says that compared to what companies there charge for similar work, Israeli companies grossly undercharge. What I’m trying to say is that, in spite of the Web having a global reach, each local market seems to have it’s own tolerances.

  10. Shaun Ling
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m charging SGD1600 plus for a wordpress website with 10 pages design

    • Posted May 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      This translates to $1,200 USD, for those counting and comparing. That’s expensive for such a small WordPress site. Your market obviously can take that price.

  11. Beau
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    I know of a few web designers over here in Perth, Australia who charge through the roof for their services, and what’s more they won’t even tell their clients exactly what they are going to do for them. I’ve had clients come to me all stressed because they don’t know what’s going on, but I always try to provide the best service.

    Anyhow, this article has been a good read, I enjoyed it very much. Thank you for posting.

  12. kaymurray542
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Just discovered your blog and am reading thru it!
    This was really informational to read, and I think I’m going to point a few friends here. When I first started, last year, I had no idea what to charge. I’ve taught myself design on my own by building and messing up (and rebuilding) my own websites, and I’ve probably undervalued myself and under-charged as a result.
    I’m charging around 300-500 for a WordPress set up and customized theme (I use Builder for layout flexibility, but get into the css for further customizations), and I am honest with my clients that I don’t write code from scratch, which is why my rates are so affordable…. but they still seem to, too often, expect a Ferrari for the cost of a Civic… and I try to treat everyone like they’re a 50 thousand dollar client anyway, so it’s really hard to set those boundaries.
    Anyway, learning alot from reading your blog- thanks!

  13. Heidi Hafner
    Posted September 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, Thank you for posting this article. It is a great eye-opener both for my clients and myself to know the going rate of a website. I started web designing back in 1996 and have loved every aspect of it. I started my business on pure code, making clean well working pages for my clients. I’ve always had difficulty putting a price on a website because I find I burn myself in the end. I find that people take advantage of me, my time, and my desire to please them. Finding a rate that I was comfortable with yet not so low that it screamed Amateur has been a balancing act. Now, I have become or am becoming well versed in developing WordPress websites. Seeing this article showed me that I’m in the ballpark for my fees, perhaps a little on the low end. For a 8-9 page site with all the custom graphics, navigation, plus installed & configured plugins, if using WordPress, etc runs around $2,000-$2,500 or more depending on the content.

  14. Phillip Feed
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Wow what an article! Thanks Lorelle that has really brought home what I have always been thinking.
    I have always thought that I was undercharging for my hard earned skill, over the past 4.5 years I have been learning hard coding from scratch while running a pub for a living! I have lost count of the amount of Books, Magazines I have read and the ammount of hours I have speant learning my trade by watching videos and reading blog posts on the subject.
    Yet being the soft touch that I was 2 or so years ago I was highly undercharging for my bespoke websites and yet my clients still felt they could ring me up at say ten to midnight and request a change on their site as a ‘Favour to them’ and it will help my ‘Portfolio’.
    Nowadays when I meet a client I come with contract thats foolproof and includes an out of hours fee of £50 so if someone does want me to work at midnight then they have to pay that!
    I feel that every freelance coder/geek/developer should have one of these in place. The way I feel web designers should charge their clients is to work out how long the job will take and what they consider their hourly rate would be then charge accordingly remembering to get eh 50% upfront first. for my I feel that my skill is worth £35 per hour which is still cheaper than most web dev companies out there who charge three or four times that for making a simple wordpress site!
    Anyway In closing I would like to direct you to a very cool video every web developer should view…. http://vimeo.com/44203213
    Hope you like it and really enjoyed commenting on this post
    Till next time
    -Phillip E D Dews

    • Posted October 10, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      LOL! That’s a great video.

      Most web designers and developers today are the “roll your own” type, but I really believe that education that isn’t self-directed is just as valuable, often more valuable, for learning the serious nature of the work we do, as you so beautifully explained. With academia comes web standards, design standards, and more standardization in policies and procedures, providing a well-rounded platform upon which to base your work rather than learn-as-you-go-hit-and-miss. Luckily, working with Clark College and other higher educational institutions, I’m now contributing to the breath of web development and design in traditional education, and I love that we’re breaking the rules! :D

  15. 3WEdge
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    All I can say about Lorelle is that she is an asset to our industry. I totally agree with unionization of rates and related issues that undermines the performance of IT personnel. I used ‘undermine’ because low-charge compromise on quality that could be delivered by professionals and I believe somehow this outsourcing activity is constraining this IT industry from exploiting the full capacity because the purpose is somehow fulfilled (at $10 so why spend $500) therefore in my opinion it is not low-charge dude solely responsible for diluting the industry (this is what free market is)there are several other variables such as recession, low-cost demands and Least Developed Countries where wage rate is inherently low (where IT is almost outsourced now) but they are doing fine, again seconding Lorelle I must say institutionalization and unionization would substantially debug the problem. Apart from my opinion I would like to thanks Lorelle for contributing and by reading this article I can support my argument of need for a global governing body of IT affairs.

    • Posted November 30, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Thank you for the kind thoughts, but most of the credit goes to the WordPress team for putting out the survey and to others monitoring the news on such issues. Thanks.

  16. Ganeshan Nadarajan
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    This is a significant survey and mostly matches the ones coming out of the WordPress 2011 State of the Word survey from self-employed respondents, WooTheme’s Infographic on WordPress in 2012 for designers and developers, and similar studies and reports.


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