Expert Market finds out how much freelance web designers charge for their services and how to get a good deal for your business.
Freelance Web Designer Costs in 2017
Experienced web designers may offer their services on a freelance basis or you can purchase them as part of a larger company’s packaged proposition.
There are inevitably both advantages and disadvantages to choosing either one or the other.
In principle, these are no different to the same considerations that would apply if you were contemplating getting work done for you in any other area or discipline and were choosing between an individual and a company for the provision of those services.
Why hire a freelance web designer?
Hiring a freelance web designer often means working with just one person. This single point of contact avoids the potential communication issues that may happen when working with a larger agency. You’ll also enjoy a more personalised service, with your web designer taking the time to fully understand your wants and needs. This is especially important when designing and launching a website as it will be your personal online presence and first port of call for potential customers.
Wider array of skills
To ensure they receive work many freelance web designers will regularly enrol on courses to learn new skills, or even teach themselves over the course of various projects. This is extremely beneficial for any hiring company as it makes the freelancer much more versatile and able to offer a more bespoke end-product. Agencies tend to have specialist individuals or teams for different tasks and are stronger together than apart.
Wide range of experience
Freelance web designers are not only more flexible, but often have a wider range of experience than your typical agency designer. Having to accept commissions from different businesses in different sectors means freelancers can provide a more flexible and tailored service to your business.
Their industry contacts
Freelancers always know other freelancers, either through their specific industry or by working together on projects. If your freelance web designer doesn't know how to do something, you can almost guarantee that he has a friend or a contact that can help you out.
Web design agencies do offer aftercare services, but once a site is live and a project ‘finished’, you might find that you’re no longer the priority, so whilst an agency may be happy to help out with any issues, you may have to be patient. However, with a freelancer you can usually expect a very quick response time and an offer to come in and take a look at things to solve the problem. It’s all part of the one-to-one relationship you develop with them.
What affects a freelance designer’s rates?
There are many different factors that can affect the rate that a freelancer charges you. Below you’ll find a few examples of the factors that determine how much you might pay.
Knowing what you want
When planning your website, think carefully about that you really want. Are you after a simple, no-frills website? If so you can expect to be charged a much cheaper rate than a website with forms, eCommerce functionality, lots of different pages and beyond. Likewise, a site designed in HTML5 with dynamic components will cost more than a content-managed site. Your freelancer will need to take all of this on-board, so knowing what you want up front can really save time and money later on.
The length of the project
Is it a quick fix or a big website re-design – either way they are going to cost a significantly different amount. Establishing clear lines of communication with your website designer can ensure a smoother and more efficient workflow. For larger projects, it is definitely advisable to agree a fee up front for the whole thing, rather than continually pay extra by the hour should the project overrun.
Their experience and skills
Just like any other industry, a freelance web designer’s experience and skills can massively affect the amount they charge. Expect to pay a lower rate for junior and in-experienced designers, and a higher one for experienced designers. You’ll find more information on rates and pricing below.
As self-employed workers, freelancers of any description have to be acutely aware of paying their taxes. This can occasionally bump up your costs as some freelancers increase their rate to negate the impact of tax and improve their overall take home. This is a pretty common practice in all freelancing industries, but it is something to be aware of if working to a strict budget.
As a general rule, the rate for an independent freelance web designer is likely to be lower than that of a larger company. This might be largely down to the fact that larger organisations have greater costs and overheads that need to be recovered.
The traditional way of hiring a freelancer, web design or otherwise, was to pay them by the hour until the job was done. Often times this proved quite costly with extra hours racking up quickly over time, especially if the client wasn't happy with the work. You always consider the cost potential of finished product dissatisfaction, edits, re-works and the like before agreeing to a by hour rate.
If you want to hire a freelance web designer but need to them to work on-site where you can manage them more directly, then you may be charged by the day. However, many freelance web designers prefer to work at home or in a space they feel comfortable in. Paying by the day to have someone on-site can end up costing you more as freelancers won’t know their way around, will need internet access and firewall privileges, and could even be a disruptive presence for the rest of your team. All of these may hinder the project’s progress – putting you further out of pocket.
This is generally the safest method of paying your freelance web designer. When searching for a web designer, you should consider how large you want your website to be. For larger jobs, freelancers will typically charge by the project, which may seem more expensive at first but can be preferable to an hourly rate. Not only does paying by project mean you won’t have to pay extra for hours of overtime, but you can agree a much better up front ‘all-in-one’ package rate.
This is a slightly less common method of charging and is often associated with larger website projects. Essentially, it is exactly as it sounds – you pay a set rate per page, making large websites more expensive and smaller sites less so. More often than not though, you should expect to be charged by the project for websites with many pages and by the hour for smaller jobs.
What can you expect to pay?
Independent web designers may be happy to offer a pricing structure based either on an hourly rate or a packaged proposal to deliver a specific objective.
Hourly rates may vary widely. A relatively junior freelancer looking to establish themselves in the marketplace might offer a price as low as £20 per hour. However, a very experienced individual might be looking for hourly rates as high as £50-£75.
Package prices for the delivery of a website typically start in the low hundreds and may reach figures around several thousands of pounds.
Much will depend upon the complexity of your requirements and an initial discussion with a suitable provider.
If you are interested in finding out more about freelance web designers for your business, then complete the short form on top of this article. Expert Market will contact you to find out more about your requirements and then we'll find the right suppliers for your needs.
However, if you want to find out who else you may need to hire for your website project then you might be interested in the differences between a web developer, software engineer and computer programmer.
If you want to know more about how much a website costs you should read our expert guide.