Right Pricing for Website Development Services
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Establish the scope of the project
  2. Analyze market rates
  3. Evaluate your expertise and experience
  4. Consider the complexity of the project
  5. Calculate operational costs
  6. Determine your profit margin
  7. Set your price
  8. Negotiate with your client

Have you ever found yourself in a bit of a bind figuring out how much you should charge for website development? You're not alone in this boat. It's a common question that pops up in the minds of many web developers, novices and experts alike. This guide is here to help you navigate through the sometimes murky waters of web development pricing. So, let's dive right in!

Establish the Scope of the Project

First things first, before you even think about attaching a price tag to your services, you need to clearly understand the scope of the project. You might be thinking, "Why is this important?" Well, the scope of the project will give you a clear picture of the amount of work that you'll be putting in, which is a key factor in deciding how much you should charge for website development.

Here's what you'll need to consider:

  • The number of pages: A one-page portfolio website will obviously require less work than a full-fledged e-commerce platform. So, the more pages, the higher your price should be.
  • The functionality needed: Not all websites are created equal. Some are simple and straightforward, while others have a plethora of unique features and functionalities. For example, a website that requires a custom-built booking system will require more work (and should cost more) than a basic blog site.
  • Content creation: Will you be the one creating the content for the website? If yes, then remember to factor this into your pricing. Content creation is a time-consuming task and can add significant value to the overall project.

So, take a step back, analyze the project in detail, and determine the amount of work involved. This will help you answer the question: "how much should I charge for website development?"

Analyze Market Rates

Once you have a clear understanding of the project's scope, the next step is to analyze the market rates. If you're asking yourself, "Why should I bother with market rates?", it's because understanding what others are charging for similar services can help guide your own pricing strategy. This way, you're not overpricing and scaring away potential clients or underpricing and undervaluing your work.

Here are a few things you should consider:

  • Freelance platforms: Websites like Upwork and Freelancer are a gold mine for price references. You can see what other web developers are charging for similar work and use this information to guide your pricing.
  • Local rates: Depending on where you are located, the standard rate for web development can vary. So, it's worth taking the time to research what the going rate is in your specific area.
  • Competition: Take a look at your competitors' rates. If you're offering similar services, you want to ensure your prices are competitive, but still allow you to make a profit.

Remember, the aim here isn't to copy what others are charging, but rather to use this information as a benchmark to gauge where your prices should roughly be. At the end of the day, your pricing should reflect the quality of your work and the value you're bringing to the client.

Evaluate Your Expertise and Experience

Now that you have a good idea of the market rates, it's time to look inward. It’s crucial to understand that your level of expertise and years of experience can significantly impact how much you should charge for website development.

Think about it this way: If you're a seasoned web developer with a decade's worth of experience under your belt, you wouldn't charge the same as someone fresh out of college, right? Your years of experience, the skills you've honed, the complexities you've navigated — all these add value to your service, and your pricing should reflect that.

But how do you evaluate your expertise? Here are some factors you could consider:

  • Years of experience: Generally, the longer you've been in the industry, the higher your rates can be. This is because with experience comes knowledge, and that's something clients are willing to pay for.
  • Specialized skills: Do you have any specialized skills? Perhaps you're an expert in a certain programming language or you're well-versed in user experience design. Specialized skills can set you apart from other developers and can justify higher rates.
  • Past projects: The types and sizes of projects you've previously completed can also influence your rates. If you've successfully completed complex projects, you can leverage this experience to charge more.

Remember, it's not just about how much you want to charge, but also about how much your services are worth. So don't undervalue your skills and experience!

Consider the Complexity of the Project

Now that you've taken stock of your skills and experience, it's time to turn your attention to the project at hand. Not all website development projects are created equal, and the level of complexity can vary significantly. Naturally, this should factor into how much you charge for website development.

Consider the following: A simple website with a few static pages will require less time and fewer resources than an e-commerce site with multiple product pages, user accounts, and a shopping cart. The latter, with its added complexity, will require a higher price tag. But how do you gauge the complexity of a project?

  • Number of Pages: More pages mean more work. A one-page portfolio website is much simpler than a multi-page corporate site.
  • Functionality: Does the website need a contact form, user registration, or an e-commerce setup? The more features and functions, the higher the complexity.
  • Design: A custom site with unique graphics and animations will command a higher price than a site using a basic template.

Remember, it's a balancing act. While you want to ensure you're compensated fairly for your work, you also need to consider the client's budget. And of course, always communicate clearly with your client about the project's complexity and how it impacts your pricing.

Calculate Operational Costs

When asking yourself, "how much should I charge for website development?" don't forget to factor in your operational costs. These are the expenses you incur just by running your business. They can be easy to overlook but are vital to consider when setting your price.

For instance, you might need specific software to create the website. You may have subscriptions to tools that aid in your design and coding process. Or perhaps you need to hire a freelancer to help with a specific part of the project. These are all costs that you need to recover.

  • Software and Tools: Tools like Adobe Creative Cloud, Sketch, or coding software aren't free. Make sure to account for these costs.
  • Subscriptions: Many web developers use platforms like WordPress or Shopify, which come with monthly or yearly fees.
  • Outsourcing: If you need to bring in a third-party to help with aspects like SEO or content creation, this is an additional cost.

It's important to keep track of these expenses so that you can factor them into your pricing. You might be surprised at how quickly they can add up. By being aware of your operational costs, you can ensure you're not undercharging for your services. And remember, these costs are a part of doing business—don't feel bad about passing them on to your clients.

Determine Your Profit Margin

Once you've covered your operational costs, it's time to think about your profit margin. This is the extra amount you charge that goes straight into your pocket. It's a reward for your hard work and expertise in the field of website development.

But how do you decide on a fair profit margin? It's a tricky balance. You don't want to undersell yourself, but you also don't want to scare off potential clients with sky-high rates.

Here's one way to approach it:

  1. Start with your desired hourly rate: Think about how much you want to earn per hour of work. This number should reflect your skills, experience, and the value you bring to your clients.
  2. Estimate the number of hours the project will take: This is where your experience really comes into play. The more projects you've done, the better you'll be at estimating your time.
  3. Multiply your hourly rate by the estimated hours: This gives you a base price for your services.
  4. Add a percentage for profit: This is typically anywhere from 15% to 50%, depending on your industry and unique offering. If you're unsure, 20% is a good starting point.

This calculation will give you a ballpark figure for "how much should I charge for website development?". It ensures that you're not only covering your costs but also making a profit for your time and effort. Remember, it's not just about breaking even—it's about earning a living and growing your business.

Set Your Price

Alright, you've calculated your operational costs and determined a suitable profit margin. Now, it's time to take a deep breath and set your price for website development services. This is an important step—after all, it's the number that potential clients will see and consider when deciding whether to hire you.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Stand firm on your value: Remember, you're not just selling a service—you're offering your skills, time, and expertise. Don't undervalue what you bring to the table.
  • Be flexible, within reason: While you should have a standard rate, be prepared to negotiate within certain limits. However, don't lower your price so much that it cuts into your profit margin.
  • Consider package pricing: Offering packages of services can make your pricing more attractive. For example, instead of just website development, you could include SEO optimization or ongoing website maintenance in the package.
  • Stay competitive: Keep an eye on what others in your field are charging. You don't have to be the cheapest option, but you also don't want to price yourself out of the market.

Setting your price can feel like a high-stakes game of poker, but remember—it's not about the money. It's about finding the sweet spot between what you need to earn, what clients are willing to pay, and what feels fair for the value you're providing. So, when you ask yourself, "how much should I charge for website development?", consider all these factors and make a decision you're comfortable with. You've got this!

Negotiate with Your Client

So, you've set your price, but the conversation about money doesn't stop there. Now comes the part where you enter into a dialogue with your client. This can be a bit tricky—nobody likes talking about money, right? But it's a necessary part of the process. So, let's talk about some ways to make it a bit easier.

  • Be transparent: It's important to be upfront about your costs and where they come from. Clients appreciate honesty and it helps them understand the value they're getting. If you've done your homework from the previous steps, you should be able to explain why you charge what you do.
  • Listen to your client: What is their budget? What are their needs? By understanding their perspective, you can tailor your services to meet their needs without compromising your own financial requirements.
  • Be willing to compromise: Sometimes, you may need to adjust your price slightly to secure a job. This doesn't mean drastically cutting your rates, but finding a middle ground that both you and your client are happy with.
  • Stand your ground: Remember, you know your value and have calculated your rates for a reason. If a client is not willing to pay what you’re worth, it may be best to politely decline the project.

Remember, negotiation is not a battle to be won or lost—it's a conversation. Your goal should be to reach an agreement that respects your worth and meets your client's needs. So, when you wonder, "how much should I charge for website development?", remember that the answer lies in a balance between your value, the market rates, and your client's budget.

If you want to learn more about pricing and building a successful website development business, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'How To Build a Money-Making Creative Website' by Jasmine MacPhee. This workshop will not only teach you how to create a profitable website but also provide valuable insights into setting the right pricing for your website development services.