Factors to Consider When Pricing Design Services


dollar signWhen pricing your design services it can be difficult to determine what is an appropriate and fair price. The resulting price should be influenced by a number of different factors. Unfortunately, many times it is just guess work from the designer.

Here are 12 factors that should influence how much you charge for your services:

1. The Time It Will Take

An obvious factor is the amount of time that a specific project will require from you. Some designers have an hourly rate that they attempt to get with each of their projects. Whether you have an set hourly rate or not, you need to consider how much time you expect a project to take and how much you would like to earn for that amount of time.

2. Your Availability

Are you currently overloaded with work? If so, why not price a project a bit higher than you normally would? If the potential customer is willing to pay the price you will be well-compensated for your efforts. If they’re not interested in that price, you’re still busy with your other work so it is no big loss.

On the other hand, if you are starving for work, why not consider making a small price cut if it will help you to get some work? Of course you’ll still want to be sure that you’re getting enough to make it worth your time.

3. Opportunity Cost

If you don’t take the job, what else could you be doing with your time? Don’t only consider how much you will be making for a particular job. You need to also understand what your other options would be. Maybe you know you can only charge X dollars per hour for a specific type of service, but for doing something different you can earn considerably more.

4. Potential for Future Work

Sometimes you make get the opportunity to take a job that has potential to lead to ongoing work that you would like to have. In this case there is more incentive for you to give a very competitive price. Sometimes getting your foot in the door by doing a small amount of work for less than you would like will lead to bigger and better things.

5. History with a Client

Have you worked for this particular client before? If so, what was your experience? Some clients you would love to keep and you may be willing to be more flexible with your pricing. Others you will be anxious to get rid of and you may want to inflate your prices a bit.

6. Quality of Your Work

How does the level of your work compare to other designers? Obviously your clients will have a number of different options when choosing a designer. Your prices should reflect the quality of your work in comparison with your competition. Try not to overprice yourself, and certainly don’t under price yourself.

7. Costs Involved for You

Most jobs will typically only involve your time, but some may require additional costs for software, photos, scripts, etc. Always try to find any possible expenses that could arise when you are pricing a job and make an effort to pass these expenses on to the customer.

8. Opportunity for Growth

Some jobs will present challenges and opportunities for you to improve your skills and your experience. If you are interested in learning a new aspect of design, you may want to seek out projects that will provide those opportunities and price your services to be very competitive. Of course, if the job is a learning experience for you, you should communicate this with the client so they understand the situation and so they do not assume that you are an expert in this area.

9. Experience

In comparison with your competition, what is your experience? Experienced designers are usually able to charge considerably more because of their years of experience and the improved skills that have been developed as a result.

On the other hand, do you have a lack of experience that you would like to improve? If so, consider pricing your services on the low end.

10. Timeline

Will you be under a sever time crunch? If so, you should be able to charge more due to the increased pressure of the time demand. Those who expect a quick turnaround and need something right away will often be willing to pay more for the work.

11. Skills Needed for the Project

Basic HTML and CSS coding skills will not demand as much money as more advanced coding skills used in development of dynamic websites. Additionally, advanced graphic design skills can also warrant a higher price. Take into consideration the skills that are needed to complete the project and how much those skills are worth.

12. Is Outsourcing Needed?

Some projects and designers will require outsourcing part of the work to get the job done. If this is the case you need to know how much you will have to pay someone else. Outsourcing can be one more headache in the pricing decision.

What Other Factors Do You Use for Pricing Your Services?

If there are other factors that you consider, please mention them in the comments and how they affect your pricing.

About Steven Snell

Steven Snell is a web designer and freelance writer. He maintains a blog at VandelayDesign.com that focuses on web design and related topics.
This entry was posted in Design Services and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Factors to Consider When Pricing Design Services

  1. Pingback: » Factors to Consider When Pricing Design Services Webcreatives

  2. John says:

    On a related note, be sure to track how much time and effort is spent on each project. Once you’ve accumulated data on a few projects, you should have a pretty good idea how long a potential project might take to complete. It makes the estimation process a lot easier.

    And when evaluating skills needed, be very careful if bidding on a project that requires outside expertise. Sticking to what you know gives you a much higher chance at delivering a successful design.

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  14. John Chrighton says:

    Even with 15 years of wisdom, technology moves fast enough that some web project specs are uncharted. Unless you’re working on really simple stuff, I’ve never found Web projects to pay off other than something to show off.

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  16. Bird Yoshikawa says:

    1,000 blog posts on web pricing, and no one with enough courage to say how much they charge. Every article makes a young web designer more confused.

  17. @Bird Yoshikawa:

    The long and the short of the story here is that their is no set price.

    I’ve seen people charge $100 for a design and some people charge $1000, and the customer in both cases where very happy.

    When you start out, you have to figure out what price you can live with, go to market with that, and see response. You may need to lower your rates or raise them depending on how many clients you get.

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  21. Nice post, really is so difficult to price a design.

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