Web Developers: Charging Too Little Hurts the Entire Community
Last month's survey asked a simple question: How much do you charge for a simple, custom-designed, WordPress-powered website? Much to my surprise (and dismay), a large portion of readers charge less than $300 for their services. Fellow web developers, you are hurting the entire community by charging too little.
Why I Charge What I Do
For a fairly simple, custom-designed, Wordpress-powered website, my rate starts at $1000 and is usually closer to $1500 depending on the features required. This may sound incredibly high to some people but let's take a look at why I charge what I do (and why people are happy to pay):
- Time investment: I spend many hours coming up with the exactly, at least on paper, the client wants. This may include research into competitors, finding what interface and usability features will give them a competitive edge, and try to get a better understanding of the market they are targeting. I care about the clients I work with and I try to make my work reflect that - I'm not in it to just make them a website, I want to help their business succeed.
- Satisfaction guarantee: When it comes to the actual design, I spend a lot of time making detailed Photoshop mockups of the website. I go back and forth with the client multiple times until we reach a design that both I and the client are happy with. Usually it takes about 3-4 rounds of iterations before coming to this point but for me, it's totally worth it as I don't have to completely change the code later on. It's also certainly worth it for the client as they know exactly what to expect.
- Quality: Web development and UI design is my profession, so I treat it as such. I invest a lot of time and resources into improving my skills and perfecting my craft, which ultimately results in a consistent level of high quality work. When clients hire me, they know the work isn't outsourced and that they can expect a great looking website in return.
- Professionalism: Again, since this is my profession, I make sure to treat it as such and deal with clients with utmost professionalism. If work is taking longer than expected, I let the client know ahead of time. Communication is key and I provide my clients with constant updates on the progress of the project.
While it's true that most clients know that "you get what you pay for," I still have clients every now and then come to me and say My friend is a web developer and he'll do it for $300, why do you charge so much? While I have no problem explaining the reasons I charge what I do, the trend itself is becoming more and more worrisome. You charge $300 for what you do because you're new, a Ukrainian teenager will charge $200 to undercut you and an Indian "agency" will follow up by asking for $100. Other than the diminishing cost and level of quality, this is leaving a decreased sense of value for the client, which ends up hurting us all.
My Humble Plea
So my request to fellow developers is please, consider what you're charging and just make sure it's fair to both you and the client. Don't work endless hours for abysmal rates and always try to provide your clients with the level of work they pay for. Instead of producing cheap work that lacks quality, focus on making higher quality work and charge more - it will aide your reputation, make you more money in the long run and increase the overall worth of the work we do.
This Month's Poll
For the remainder of January, I want to know what host you guys use for your website. Right now I'm with Linode (they sponsor this blog and are, from my experience, incredible), but I want to get an idea about what you guys use for serious sites that require stability. So when you get a chance, take a second and answer the poll in the sidebar. Thanks!