Tag Archives: wages

What should I be charging for webdesign?

Piggy is broke

How long is a piece of string?

One of the most common questions I see on IWF and on boards.ie web design and web development forums is the age old question of what should I be charging?. In the land of the freelancer there seems to be three ways of doing things.

  1. Fixed rate to do a site
  2. Hourly Rate
  3. Make up a Quote on the project

If you’re offering a fixed rate well you should probably have a look at the hourly rate tables. Factor in the amount of work involved and see if you’re in or around your ideal wages.

As to what you should be charging in your hourly rate well you’ve a few things to consider

  1. How many weeks do I want to work a year? (52 weeks).
    I Generally go in and say 44. I have my reasoning on this.

    1. One assumes you want 20 days holidays a year correct?
      (Thats 4 weeks assuming working week is 5 days)
    2. There are 9 Public holidays in Ireland.
      Lets round it to an even 10 and that makes 2 weeks.

      • New Year’s Day (1 January)
      • St. Patrick’s Day (17 March)
      • Easter Monday
      • First Monday in May, June, August
      • Last Monday in October
      • Christmas Day (25 December)
      • St. Stephen’s Day (26 December)
  2. And you’re saying 4 and 2 is 6 … 52 – 6 = 46 working week
    Well I like to factor in sick days / and the unknown. So I throw in 2 weeks extra.
    I was knocked flat for a full week with the flu in August

And there you have it we’ve got our 44 weeks in the year. So now we know how many weeks we’ll be working in the year lets do some numbers.

I’m going to assume 5 different figures here. 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 100k.
I’m also going to assume a different number of billable hours and see how that affects things.

What should I charge? Facts / Figures
Ideal Salary 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 100,000
Weekly Requirement 455 682 909 1136 2273
Hourly rates
20 Billable Hours 22.75 34.10 45.45 56.8 113.65
30 Billable Hours 15.17 22.73 30.30 37.87 75.77
40 Billable Hours 11.37 17.05 22.73 28.40 56.83
* Figures may be rounded here

Now of course the above table has been kept rather simplistic but its a good basis for things. For example if I know I’m going to have a 2 week project to work on then this equates to 2 full 40 hour weeks work. Looking at the table I decide which is appropriate and I can bill accordingly. That might sound a bit simplistic but doing 1 hour work here and 1 hour work there for a customer means I’m either interrupting my main project or I’ve to get setup with theirs and up to speed again on what I’m doing for them. As such you get charged at the higher hourly rate as its also not guaranteed work (unless of course there is a support agreement in place)

Sample Wages in the web Industry in Ireland
Position Low End* High End*
Junior Graphic Designer €20,000 €25000
Middleweight Graphic Designer €25,000 €32,000
Senior Graphic Designer €32,500 €65,000
Creative Director €50,000 €82,000
Junior Web Designer €22,000 €30,000
Web Designer €30,000 €40,000
Senior Web Designer €40,000 €50,000
Web Developer €25,000 €55,000
* Please note these figures are rough guides only and no doubt things have taken a hit in recent times.

Back on track to what we should be charging as freelancers. We’ve failed to include various things in these salaries / hourly rates.

  1. Software Costs
    • Adobe CS4 Premium Web edition – €1,592.42
      (Dreamweaver / Photoshop / Flash / Illustrator / Fireworks)
      Of course you won’t need to buy this every year BUT it does get upgraded (upgrade costs €785.29)
    • You’ll probably need a new machine every 2 or 3 years.
      Macs are pricey but I don’t think I could use a Windows machine now.
      A Mac Book Pro will set you back €1,149 for the base model – €2,299 for the top model.
      You may want a desktop machine as well. Again the base model iMac is €1099 – €1799

      You’ll also want a backup solution / Harddrives die all the time other wear and tear on your machines

      Extended warranties on your gear (at 300 – 500 quid it adds up)

    • Subscriptions while these aren’t necessary you’ll find they creep in and can be extremely useful
      ( Basecamp / Dropbox / Freshbooks … at 10 / 20 / 30 quid a month these start to add up rather quickly)
  2. Office rent / space. You need to factor it in in some way.
    See my post on the home office setup for my reasonings.
  3. Other overheads … electricity / heat / coffee and biscuits (essentials to the proper running of any office :D ) / Travel
  4. Server / Hosting / Domains
  5. Training (we all need to allot time to it or we become stale. Whether you pay for it and do a course / take time out you’ve to think about it. Whether a subscription to Lynda or a day course on SEO / Online Marketing you have to factor it into your career development

Our simple hourly figures aren’t so simple anymore.

Of course you can just ignore these extras but if you plan on making a living out of this it all needs to be factored in at some stage.

One can think … well I’ve already got a machine and I can use Gimp for graphics and so on.
Thats fine and I’ve no doubt it works for lots of people. I couldn’t live without the above mentioned.
(I have done it in the past but my working life has gotten so much better since I invested in things)

At the end of the day only you can decide what you want to earn ultimately not to mention what the market can bear and what people are willing to spend on your work. If your work is poor and you’re still learning you should probably be hitting the lower scale and inform your clients you’re starting out. If you’re more advanced well then are you making enough or more from freelancing than you would be in a full time job. If not then are you happy would be the ultimate question ?

I’ll leave you with a few final thoughts.

I am not a student. I can’t make you a website for 50 quid and a 6 pack.
I need to earn a living or else this all just isn’t worth my while.
I am what I would like to think a highly skilled individual as such don’t belittle what I do.

The minimum wage in Ireland is €8.65
A 40 hour week at that will make that €346.
I will not give you a custom built website / Logo / CMS / Theme / Training / SEO work / Link building for that.

So do you agree with my thoughts / has this been useful at all ?
Let me know what you think

(I also know there are various calculators out there that can calculate your idea hourly rate .. thats not exactly where I was going with this post however Freelance Switch would be the prime candidate for this type of calculator)