Freelance web design rates are high (or they should be!) because they create the most valuable asset of a company online and design the first presence that new customers will engage with.
This means that companies need to hire freelance web designers who can do multiple jobs – and do them well.
Freelance web designers will not only craft a beautiful looking website, but also help to raise brand awareness online, deliver compelling and cohesive design to their client’s websites, and help to make sales through online tools and services — all while keeping their client’s brand organised and vibrant in a fast-moving environment.
So how much should freelance web designers be charging? What should their freelance rates be?
Day rates for freelance web designers
- Junior web Designer (0-3 years experience): $13 – $45 per hour (£10 – £35) / $90 – $320 per day (£70 – £250)
- Midweight web Designer (3-5 years experience): $45 – $90 per hour (£35 – £70) / $320 – $650 per day (£250 – £500)
- Senior web Designer (5-10+ years experience):$90 -$130 per hour (£70 – £100) / $650 – $950 per day (£500 – £750)
- Top Tier web Designer: $950 / £750+ per day
Less experienced web design freelancers can charge around $13 – $45 per hour (£10 – £35) or $90 – $320 per day (£70 – £250).
For more experienced web designers, they can make $45 – $90 per hour (£35 – £70) or $320 – $650 per day (£250 – £500).
Senior, well experienced web freelancers can make$45 – $90 per hour (£35 – £70) or $650 – $950 per day (£500 – £750) – and even more with the right skills and experience.
And if you’re one of the best web designers in the world? You can be charging over $950 / £750 per day.
Of course, a lot of the above depends on where you live, what particular kind of web design skills or needed, how much competition you face and what kind of brands you’re working with.
So don’t just take these rates at face value! Adjust them according to your individual circumstances.
What do other freelance web designers charge?
If you’re still trying to work out your day rate as a web design freelancer, it can be helpful to see what other freelance web designers are charging.
For example, one freelancer explains how they work out what to charge:
I’ve worked for a few web shops, and the pricing and method behind the design has varied greatly.
Note: these are just rough numbers for the “design” stage only. All of the examples I have below adopt a blended hourly rate between $110 and $320 per hour for build out/QA; with dev time heavily dependent on the initial design, requirements, discovery, etc.
Mom & Pop Web Design Shop:
First 3 drafts of design, free.
$2k for a complete WP site or $10k for eCommerce (works out to about $120/hr for avg client)
Enterprise Customer’s Forward Facing Site:
$30k to $60k initial strategy and design phase
Up to 3 rounds of revision with designer + architect (UX expert) + Developer
WP – $75/hr
Anything more technical than a “brochure” website: $120/hr
One other web design freelancer in the same forum discussion explains how they differentiate themselves in order to charge a higher rate:
I live in a smaller area and charge $45/hr. I’ve also been shifting more towards a budget style though. I ask the client what their budget is for the website and I come up with what I can offer them for that.
This works well in situations where their budget was $500 and my bill is well over that. So, if I know what they want from the beginning, I can set expectations and if there are overages, then charge at the rate of $45/hr.
And what about what skills you need as a web designer? This freelancer explains:
I develop Drupal sites, modest sizes. Including 2-3 rounds of design mockups the typical site is about $20,000. I estimate about 200 hours of work from start to finish for a site that size, including time to document the backend and a 90 minute training session. I don’t bill by the hour but try to chunk the time out into several buckets: research and planning, design, development and testing, and documentation and training.
A good amount of time is spent understanding what the client thinks they need and what they really need. Sometimes those two things match but they often don’t. I like to think they hire an expert to guide that decision making process. Guiding them through the expected visitor flow on the site is something a majority of them haven’t stopped to think about before.
Should you charge for freelance web design by the hour?
Ideally, you shouldn’t charge for freelance web design by the hour.
Every project you take on should be value-based, where the clients pays in terms of value generated and ROI of the activity you do, not the time spent designing.
web design freelancers provide a lot of added benefits for not being another full-time member of staff for their clients, which means you should be able to increase your rate to a decent day rate:
- Fast worker and implementation time as you are a web design expert
- Industry knowledge of what works and what doesn’t as you keep up to date on web design trends and best practice
- Building a website from scratch is likely to command a much higher fee than adding to a template or website that already exists.
- All websites need ongoing support and maintenance, and you should be prepared as a freelance web developer to offer a support package and be on hand to help with any technical issues, problems with web hosting, style changes, and integration with online services and tools.
- Design needs — Sometimes freelance web developers also offer graphic design services, such as image creation for blog posts and other website pages.
Your job is to show clients that keeping costs low, rather than producing brilliant results, is not the right approach.
They should be glad to pay your requested day rate as a freelance web designer!
How can you increase your day rates as a web designer?
In order to sell your services as a web design freelancer, you need to ask your clients what their objectives are for their business and the marketing activity they run.
You should also ask what their current challenges are with web design and their business in general, and what their strategy is to meet their goals and overcome those struggles.
By setting a strategy, not just doing web design activity, you’ll be proving the value you bring to your client’s business.
Also don’t focus on what others are doing, except when there is something to learn from them. Otherwise looking at everyone that is better than you can just bring you down.
If you can use your skills to sell a service at all then does it matter if other people are doing it to, maybe better than you are?
Work to figure out the differences between you and someone else who is selling similar web design services.
What do you bring to the table that some other person may not?
Use that to your advantage and let it influence how you sell your web design service.
What day rate do you charge as a freelance web designer?
We’d love to hear your experiences of being a freelance web designer and what day rate you charge. Please leave your comments below or join the discussion in our community:
Community Discussion: How much should freelance web designers charge in 2019?