Planning your web design budget

Every web site is different, which makes it impossible to give a flat price for any particular site.This being the case, all web developers use different methods to determine the cost for web design. We will describe some of the most common methods for web site pricing below. If you already have a requirements list for your website, try the Web Design Cost Calculator. Try this link if you are looking for the cost to develop an e-commerce website. If you are a designer looking for how to price your work read this great article on working with design clients.

There are four common types of web design pricing used in the industry today.

  • Hourly Rate
  • Project Price
  • Package Rates
  • Per Page Cost

Charging Hourly

A very common way for web designers to charge is by the hour. Depending on the experience, location, and many other factors, the hourly rate can be anywhere from $8.00 (outsourced overseas) to $500.00 per hour (For a high-level consultant)! This is a huge difference but I have seen both and just about everything in between.The important thing is to make sure the web developer is worth the rate they charge. Always check with the designers past clients and remember – you really do “get what you pay for”.

Per Project Pricing

Many web design firms will give you a set price to complete your project. Make sure you have a thorough and complete requirements list before you begin the project. A good design firm will break out each section with a list of features, specification and assumptions for each section of your website. Make sure you get it in writing so you both have clear expectations.

Package Rates

Many web designers will have pre-made packages that are usually cheaper than a complete custom design website. The drawback with packages is that they are probably going to try and fit your business into a pre-made website that might not have all the bells and whistles a custom site has. Most designers will have a flat package rate then allow you to request customization at an additional charge.

Per Page Pricing

Some web designers charge a flat rate per page, this can be as low as $50 although most designers in the USA will charge $100 – $200 per page. This pricing is usually for basic static brochure web sites that do not require a lot of custom features. The per page price may go down (with a bulk discount) depending on the number of pages you need. In my experience, you will usually find the designers with less experience (and who charge lower prices) are the ones who usually charge per page prices. Also this pricing model seems to be more popular in rural areas.

Design Contest

Design contest utilize putting up a prize and accepting entries from designers. This is a good way to get a terrible website. Since you do not work directly with the designer, you get a end product of questionable value. Good designers stay away from contest because spec work is a good way to go out of business real quick, since 99% of the participants in teh contest get paid nothing, serious designers do not waste their time, and as a client you shouldn’t either.

Comparing Bids and Proposals

If you are planning a web design project, you can post your project on DesignQuote and get up to eight free bids from developers in your local area, the entire US or worldwide! DesignQuote is the worlds largest creative marketplace and has over 44,000 designers registered globally. They have helped more than 4000 people find the right designer. Just post the details of your RFP (Request for Propsal) and then choose the designers you want to receive bids from.

Deciding on a vendor

There has been a huge trend in corporate America to outsource IT and web development work overseas because of the drastically lower rates that people will work for in countries like India, South America and eastern Europe. Large companies have built offices in these locations to enjoy the low cost of the local labor pool, this can help their bottom line. The big difference between a large company using a overseas workforce and small company or individual is that the large companies usually have management in place to keep things running smooth. When budgeting for your site, don’t forget to add the monthly cost of a webhost.

If you are thinking about outsourcing, you should read this article:
Should I outsource my web design project?

Common Web Site Pricing

Corporate Web Site

Corporate or commercial site goes beyond the basic on-line brochure. More complex sites feature a greater level of interactivity and database integration. You may need a private intranet for employee communication and document sharing, or an extranet to share information and track vendors and/or customers. Corporate web sites usually start around $5,000 and can go as high as $100,000 depending on the complexity.

Standard Corporate Web Design Pricing:

  • Outsourced Offshore: $500 ~ $15,000
  • US Designer: $3000 ~ $20,000
  • US Web Design Firm: $5000 ~ $50,000

Interactive Database Site

A complex interactive site has a large amount of back-end programming. More complex sites feature a greater level of interactivity and database integration. Most complex corporate sites consist of data driven content and dynamically generated pages.
The amount of pages is not as relevant as the amount of programming involved. The most important aspect to an interactive site is that its easy to navigate, fast, and scalable. These web sites usually start around $15,000 and can go as high as $250,000 depending on the complexity.

Back end programming can be done in a variety of different languages, some of the more popular server-side languages are
PHP and ASP. Web Interfaces are normally written in CSS and HTML. If you don’t know what these languages are, don’t worry, let your designer or programmer make a recommendation.

Corporate Brochure

A “brochure” site simply means a website that serves as an on-line brochure that gives general information about your company products and services. A brochure site does not have complex database programming, e-commerce, or lots of interactivity. It basically serves as an on-line advertisement that features graphic design.

This kind of site is a great start for a company and can be expanded in the future as your company grows. In this day and age, it is essential for a company to have an on-line presence as well as a basic corporate brochure site. These web sites can start for as little as $2,000.

E-Commerce Site

E-commerce websites can range from very simple to very complex.
There are quite a few things to consider when preparing to budget an ecommerce site.
These web sites usually start around $5,000 and can go as high as $250,000 depending on the complexity. There are several ready made e-commerce packages and off the shelf shopping carts like Zen Cart available.

There are a wide range of service providers, more experienced and “in-demand” providers may charge premium prices, while beginners may work very cheap but lack experience. Different skill sets demand different pay scales. If you choose the lowest price possible you will probably not get any qualified providers to respond.


A basic guide for about 10 hours of work is:

Student: $100 – $200 ($10-$20/hour)

Freelancer: $200 – $1000 ($20-$100/hour)

Expert Consultant: $500 – $2000 ($50-$200/hour)

Company: $700 – $2500 ($70-$250/hour)

Recommended project budget:

Logo Design: $150 – $750
T-shirt design: $101 – $500
3-fold Brochure: $501 – $2000
Simple Website: $501 – $2,500
Complex Website: $1,500 – $25,000
Myspace like site: $5,001 – $30,000
Custom Applications: $10,001 – $100,000

Common hourly rates:

Student/Offshore: $10-$30/hour
Freelancer: $35-$100/hour
Expert Consultant: $50-$200/hour
Company: $75-$150/hour

More Web Design Resources.

Web Design is graphic design and interface design executed in HTML or a similar markup language. There is also Flash web design which uses Adobe Flash to create interactive web pages. Interactive Websites can be developed using backend programming languages like PHP and MySQL, ASP, .NET and Coldfusion. You can learn web design from HTML tutorials or from books on CSS, HTML and Web design. A good web designer can find an ample supply of graphic design jobs.

Related Articles: How much does a Logo cost?
- How much does an e-commerce website cost?

Also check out the Logo Design Prices Calculator at DesignQuote
Choosing a logo color scheme for design.


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