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I was asked to design a website for a client. Personally, I'd work for free since I'm just in it for the experience of working with a client but they insist on paying me so I will get an idea as to how freelancing works and for them to know how much they should pay for future services. I have very little experience when it comes to real work since I'm still a student but I've had internships as a web designer/developer in some software companies here in my area.

I can build decent web pages using HTML, CSS, Javascript/jQuery, Java/JSP/J2EE and SQL. I am also familiar with some CMS like WordPress and Joomla. How much do you think should I charge my client if I were to design a simple static but somehow functional website for them and how should I charge them for my services?

I forgot to mention that I am located in the Philippines. Since it's a 3rd world country, I'm pretty sure the rates here are lower than most areas.

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Generally people charge as much as they can get away with. It usually has more to do with your business acumen and networking skills than your technical ability. If you're hooked in with a large non-tech-savvy business community, then you can charge several grand a site even if you can barely write HTML. It also depends on the size of the client company. You can usually get much more out of large companies. –  Lèse majesté Sep 2 '10 at 8:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Find the going rate for entry-level web developers in your area, and add 33% because it's contract work and not salaried.

There are a lot of sites out there that can help you get an idea of the going rate, but a simple place to start is indeed.com. Just put in entry level web developer and your location to get a list of jobs and the rates for those over on the left.

It's not precise but it'll give you a ballpark of the going rate for your skill level.

Also if you are still in school your career counselor could give you good advice on what you should expect given your experience and location.

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to clarify, you should add a premium for contract work because you have to pay your own taxes and health insurance and other benefits that would come w/ a salaried position. I've been advised to assume 33% for these costs, but I can't find any hard numbers to confirm this. –  robertpateii Sep 2 '10 at 6:27
    
see also this: stackoverflow.com/questions/3263041/… –  robertpateii Sep 2 '10 at 6:31
    
Thanks for the answer. I can at least make a rough estimation now because of your insight. Thanks. –  Terence Ponce Sep 2 '10 at 6:37
  1. do you know how much money you need to live one year? Let's say 25K pesos.

  2. Double them up, becasue you will have to pay taxes on those money, so 50K.

  3. One year of work is about 260 days (considering you don't work on Sat and Sun)

  4. Remove form those dayd some vacation days and sick time days. In US I think emplyees start with 1/2 weeks of vacation and 1 week of sick time, don't know in Philippines. So let's suppose youi work 238 days (= 260 - 15 - 7)

  5. Every day you work 8 hours, so you work 1904 hours.

TOTAL: you must earn at least: 26 pesos per hour: (= 50K / 1904)


UPDATE (thanks to the comments provided):

and don't forget to always double your time estimates, if you think it will take 5 hours, charge 260 pesos (5x2x26).

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6. If you're quoting per project: estimate how many hours it will take you to complete, then double it. So on 26 pesos/hr, if you think it will take 5 hours, charge 260 pesos (5x2x26). –  DisgruntledGoat Sep 2 '10 at 14:13
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Great in theory, guys, but people with 0 experience are going to have a tough time charging the going rate...especially in this economy. As a very experienced (10+ year) vet, I can pretty much name a top rate, but I get outbid frequently. I can afford to be picky, though, because I've built up clients and a good reputation so finding work is not a problem. Check Craigs list....there's TONS of hacks on there taking $15/hour (peanuts in this market) to do some very tedious work. The jobs pay what the market and your experience will support. If you price yourself out, no work for you! –  bpeterson76 Sep 2 '10 at 14:41
    
So there's a formula for this? I'll use this for the estimate then. But I'll still be charging less as bpeterson76 said. –  Terence Ponce Sep 4 '10 at 0:57
    
@Terence Ponce: I totally agree with bpeterson76 expecially for the 1st jobs in order to get some clients and do more experiences, but keep in mind that one day you will have to put up with some calcs very similar to the ones I explained in my answer otherwise you might discover you can make more money per hour as a taxi driver. –  Marco Demaio Sep 6 '10 at 12:07

While "standard salaried rate plus x%" may be correct generally, you might have to lower your rates for the first few jobs if your prospective employers are (or may become) aware of your relative inexperience.

Don't lower yourself too far though. If a prospective employer points out what they could get a salaried worker for, ensure that they are aware of the extra rights/benefits a salaried worker would have that they would not find convenient. Also, never fall for the "if you do this for free or at/below cost I can recommend you to other people" line - the people you are likely to get recommended to will also expect the work to be done at or below cost.

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