If you are one of the latter, this article will show you the basics of starting up your freelance career without too much hassle.

How much do web developers make? How much do web designers make? Well, it depends.

The most challenging thing is defining and figuring out how much is your time worth, and what are the usual freelance web developer rates. It takes time to learn the website design pricing as it depends on some factors, which makes freelance newbies even more confused.

Some project may pay less, but they also take a short amount of time, while others can put you in overdrive but in the end, you are rewarded with a big paycheck. After several job assignments, you will learn what the sweet spot between the volume of a job, and your hourly or per-project price is.

However, as with everything, over time the market can in a way dictate your price range. If that is the case, how can you figure out your freelance web developer salary? What should you keep in mind when setting your web developer hourly rate?

Read on and find out what to look out for.

Client’s business and their website idea

It is easier to make someone’s personal blog than to make a business e-commerce website, so there have to be cost variations between the two. Questions you should ask is how complex does your client want the website to be, and what kind of components and features do they want?

If they desire to have forums, e-commerce, memberships and other functionalities, you should definitely charge more. Of course, you should always calculate the web design cost – paid themes, background images and so on.

It is up to you if you want to charge them separately or just to implement them in your price.

The scope of a project and client’s demands

Sometimes, as the time goes on, the project can quickly become something totally different from what you originally agreed on, and this is normal as long as both parties are willing to respect each other.

What do we mean by that? It is common that the client gets another idea or chooses to add functionality during your development. As long as they are aware that you will need extra time to do that, and, of course, they are willing to pay for it, everything is fine.

However, now and then you may come across a client that is always in your ear and constantly cutting into your personal time. All of this micromanagement talking and emailing should be charged, without a doubt.

Your knowledge and skill

Every project is different, and with that in mind, you should always be honest about your experience. It is completely fine if you do not have expertise in a particular client’s request, and you must voice that out.

More often than not, the request may just take some extra time and research on your side. If that is not the case, well, some things you may do better than other designers and, of course, some things they will know how to do better than you.

This is the point where experienced designers know how much to charge for a website.

Knowing more means that you will deliver the project at the highest quality and for the shortest amount of time, and both of those things require a big paycheck.

As a beginner, your projects are a great way for you to learn and build your professional credibility. In a way, you get paid to learn the trade which is beautiful.

Should I be paid hourly or per-project?

How much does a web designer make depends on their choice of payment: hourly or per-project.

The first option allows you to get paid for the work you do, no matter if the things get out of hand and you work more than expected. And that is great! But, most clients want you to give them the price for the entire project.

As you grow as a freelancer, you get better at estimating how much time a project will take, so you can transfer your hourly rate into a fixed per-project offer.

A quick example: your rate is $100 per hour and you estimate that the poster project would take two and a half hours; you can make a per-project offer of $250.

If you have a feeling that the client might be demanding, you should consider adding some breathing space in case the job takes a bit more time than you expected.

If you get a client that is okay with you working on an hourly basis, you must invest in a timekeeping application. This sends a signal to your client that you are a professional who is not interested in messing around with Facebook or other websites while the clock is ticking.

This should hopefully provide the answer to your question: How much should I charge for a website?

Things to agree on before you accept the job

After you have found your first client and set the rates, you must make sure to know what he or she expects, so there are no unpleasant surprises. The client must always know what he or she is paying for.

It does not have to be a formal contract, and email stating the terms and the client’s reply stating that he accepts them is enough.

Some of the things you should include in the agreement are:

  • How many times will you perform revisions to the project?
  • What should you exactly do?
  • Provisions for additional charges and costs that might come up.
  • Pre-payment in case you are working on a big project. A payment plan also works.
  • Stating additional fees for rush jobs and so on.

How to establish your rates?

There are different rates for different services. Web designers can get around $100 per hour, developers $125 per hour, while consultants can get $65 per hour.

Upfront payment

Even if the project is not big or time-consuming, some developers and designers like to get a security deposit, which is usually 50% if the project’s total value.


As you grow from a beginner to an expert, so will your negotiation skills. We can talk for hours about how you should approach a certain client, but there are endless numbers of book and seminars on the subject.

We advise you to be calm, friendly, and professional. No matter what you never want to damage the relationship you have since it will stain your reputation.

Move away from bad clients

The reality is that from time to time you will have the unpleasant experience with bad clients who will try to rip you off or to be over demanding, and unwilling to pay for additional costs for a feature they asked.

We advise that you handle the situation professionally. Never put your reputation on the line, since that is one of the things that bring you clients.

Ending thoughts on how to set your fees as a freelance web designer

Freelancing as a web developer or designer means going above and beyond for the sake of your professional reputation and for your clients. Being your own boss and setting your own work hours is great, but it also has downsides.

The key things you should learn is, as we said, estimating how long will a project take, and how difficult is it. The rest (the expected payments) comes easy.