Hello Inside Design followers: This is part 2 of our article on what your web design skills are really worth. We get many calls asking our opinion on whether a new entrepreneur should consider a career in web design. Most are only interested in how much they can earn per client. After being in the business for over 16 years we have run the gambit for the right and wrong ways to run a successful web design business.
We were very lucky in the beginning to team up with Stephan Barrett, a great web designer in his own right and with his design skills and our programming knowledge we began to accept new clients.
The importance of a team-building approach:
Over the years Stephan has gone on to expand his own company and we are still strategic partners to this day. We have several people in our satellite office here in Apopka and our partner at Rise.net at our office downtown Orlando is accepting clients looking for web apps, custom programming and the works. As new bells and whistles become available our teams of designers and programmers are tasked with learning the newer programming without delay.
Learning these new skills as they are available is the one thing that has kept us all afloat. Those web design firms who have no strategic partners available to provide the more advanced techniques quickly find themselves out of business. We also have several graphic designers on-staff and independent contractors available to call upon as we need them.
What it takes to attract new clients:
It goes without saying that anyone considering this field will be in a constant phase of learning new technology. If you are not able to spend the time it takes to learn new techniques then you will not be sought after in our industry. Web design today requires more than downloading a template, it requires a great deal of preparation, programming skills and many hours of ongoing education to stay current with sophisticated design changes popular today. There are online tutorials and a plethora of educational avenues to keep you in the know!
Additional work from existing clients and re-design requests:
Your goal as a new entrepreneur is not just to design a site for a client, but to keep that client returning for reciprocal work. You will then be able to eventually re-design the site using new technology as it is introduced. if the first site you build for a client is amazing and if they are happy and excited about the finished product, you are on the right path. This same client will be asking for changes periodically and will choose you again when the time comes for a re-design. This extra work is the lifeblood of our industry. One and done will not make you brand leader.
Building your brand to stand out in the crowd of competitors:
You must strive to keep the clients from the start, and then have them come back over and over again. They will then refer others your way. What is better for building your brand than to have return clients. This is what “word of mouth” is all about. Experience tells us that over 80 percent of your business is gained through this simple word of mouth. Your reputation will keep your doors open and will be the return on investment you are expecting.
What price should you really charge for your skills?
What you are really worth is usually based upon your expertise over a period of time. It is based upon your learned skills and upon how many projects you have completed. One of the most important things to have on your own website is links to other sites you have completed. If done well, these completed projects will shout to the world that you are an experienced and talented web developer. Most designers charge an hourly rate for their work. A more seasoned designer may charge up to $100 per hour.
What are you worth as a start-up company?
Most new designers charge around $40 per hour, or develop design packages which allow a determined amount of pages for the website. We do not offer a “one page” website. We begin with a starter site of about 4 to 5 pages (three to four paragraphs of content) per page and a few images. Once the client lets us know the scope of the project we can come up with a price for the entire project. More advanced requirements will increase the price of the finished site. This is true especially when custom programming and other services are involved.
Other services in addition to the design can be costly:
The price may increase as the client is asking for other services. They may need a programmer to write custom programming (code for a specific result needed). An entire team can be assigned to handle social media, to develop the marketing strategy and to handle SEO (search engine optimization). This is above and beyond the scope of the design itself and can add to the final cost.
You are only worth what someone is willing to pay. And this is also affected by the area of the country where you reside. Designers in California, New York and Boston, and those working for large companies providing more PR and SEO are usually more expensive. Clients normally want to visit a designer in person to determine their worth based upon their location and their expertise. They will be asking to look at your finished websites to compare your skills to others they have met with. We always encourage our clients to hire a design firm locally to have more control over the project.
In our next blog article we will be discussing the pitfalls of hiring a destination design firm without a meeting. Sight unseen can be trouble. Contact our design team for more information on this subject. We also welcome calls from new designers who have a need to know more before entering our field. Let’s all work hard to stamp out bad design! Hurry back for more from the design wizards of Inside Design Orlando.
Chief Creative Officer