The Cost of Website Development

This is a question I still find myself asking and it is one of those that will not go away. There is no price standardisation on the web? Prices for websites vary from person to person and from country to country. The market for website design is fully globalised, currency and its relative value are a big influence on what can be charged. When competing for work you are competing against developers from countries where the average cost of living can be as much as 182% cheaper, with rent nearly 400% cheaper.

Website Complexity

Website complexity is partly a determining factor in the overall cost of a website. The simpler a website the lower the amount of work and effectively the overall cost. This is however from a developmental point of view. From a design perspective it can be said that sometimes the simplest ideas can be the hardest to implement. When there is less noise in system the smallest of inconsistencies can appear to be monumental. It is often hard to set a fixed cost for a website. This is because every development is individual. Just like us as people

An Hourly Rate

There is a great article recently published on wpmudev. It is all about how to price a website. It has a useful guide on how to appraise a development proposal and create a price based on your projected hourly rate for the entire schematic. The article also looks at how much freelance developers should be charging based on their experience and the nature of the development.

A Bottom-Up Estimation

A bottom-up estimation is the best way to avoid losing money and putting yourself in a situation where you have to effectively work for free. The entire job from production to review to development needs to be mapped out. Then every single aspect of the development in terms of hours costed. What you need to make sure at this junction is that your client has provided you with all the information you require to make an informed decision and that they know that any work on top of the initial job proposal will carry an additional fee. Another important factor is timing, always make sure that start, end and payment dates are clearly defined.

Freelance Hourly Rate

The article on wpmudev contains a link to Bonsai’s web developer hourly rate calculator. It is genuinely a crowd sourced application. I tried it myself to find that I could with my level of experience be realistic in charging between £40 and £120 an hour. If not more for specialised projects. Crew is an interesting network. Any developer on that network can look to earn from $40 up to well over $125 an hour. In light of all of this evidence, and it is realistic data, I have to say that I feel like I have been underselling myself to a ridiculous extent. However I need to stay competitive and with freelance networks such as Up Work and PPH offering lower rates per hour I have to be careful in what I charge in order to have the ability to compete for better paid contracts.

Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong

The variety in the types of freelance networks available and the vast difference in the prices charged on each make if difficult to define a cost for any web development. In relation to Bonsai’s web developer hourly rate calculator the prices offered on some freelance market places seem to be too small to be realistic. It can be viewed the other way around also. If the prices on a freelance network seem correct then the rates generated by the hourly rate calculator must be imaginary and possibly fake. The debate I find is partly about self confidence and self worth as much as it is about having accurate data to work with. It is important as an individual to decide what might be self serving propaganda and what is an obvious truth.