Hi, I'm Matt Olpinski

I teach thousands of freelancers how to get more clients, raise their rates, and create a better life for themselves.

Updated: June 15, 2014

This is undoubtedly one of the most important questions that every client wants answered immediately. It’s surprising how many potential customers will call or email me and request a ballpark quote. “Hello, how much do you charge for a normal website?”

Imagine walking into a local car dealership and asking, “How much do you charge for a normal car?” or a fabric supplier, “how long is a piece of string?”

It just sounds silly. Most often, this is because a website isn’t something people buy frequently and because the technology evolves so quickly, these people are generally uneducated about the industry they are inquiring about. It is my responsibility to help them understand what it is I do and how I form my project estimates.

Over the years, I have done all kinds of projects ranging in price from $1,000 – $10,000 and up. This is not the price range I worked in 5 years ago and it won’t be the price range I work in 5 years from now. However, this is not unlike the price range you will find when shopping for a new car. What makes a Porsche cost $50,000+ and a Honda cost 1/3 of that price? It all boils down to the value of the product being delivered.

I estimate the cost of your website based on the value of the solution I can provide, how it will help meet your business goals, and if I can deliver a satisfying return on investment.

What major factors determine cost?

Generally speaking, there are a few categories of work that I find will increase the cost of a web project. These include, but are not limited to:

Online Marketing and Strategy: Do you have one currently? What do you want moving forward? If you are going to invest in a high quality new website, you should also make sure that your strategy for hitting a target market and meeting business objectives is in place.

Branding, Identity, and Logo Design: Again, do you have one? Do you need one? The logo is typically one of the first things people look for when viewing a website and if it doesn’t appear professional and trustworthy, its likely that the viewer won’t stick around to view the rest of the website either.

Interface Design: This is simply decided by how long it will take me to arrive at the look-and-feel of what we (you and I) collectively envision for your business based on the outcome of the strategy phase.

Features and Functionality: Similar to Interface Design, this is all about how long it will take me to build all of the functionality and features you are requesting. Some features such as e-commerce may be common on the web, but this does not mean that they are simple to develop. There are plenty of pre-built solutions but those almost always require customization that can be very time-intensive sometimes even beyond what it would take our team to create from scratch. Not to mention those solutions would have to be compatible with my preferred CMS, WordPress.

Hosting: Typically this is the most inexpensive part of the project, but it is also one of the most important. This is the place where the website lives. It’s where all the files that run your brand new website are stored and accessed by your users/viewers. If the hosting solution is shoddy, your website may not always perform correctly which would negate all the time and effort spent creating a beautiful and intuitive website. That is why I always recommending hosting through my preferred hosting provider, ThisWebHost.

Testing: The more complex the website is, the more testing is required. Sometimes testing includes the user experience (wireframes), the back-end development, or cross-browser compatibility (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer).

Rates & Pricing

A few quick Google searches for web design and development services will tell you that there is a myriad of prices and rates for what probably seems like the same type of work. Offshore companies may charge a few dollars per hour. Recent graduates may charge $12 – $18 per hour. Small boutique shops similar to Dumbwaiter may charge $75 – $150 per hour, and large national firms may charge $175 – $250 per hour.

The critical factors here are experience and quality. It may take an experienced developer working at $250 per hour only 10 minutes to complete the same task as a recent graduate who needs several hours at $25 per hour. Moreover, the experienced developer has likely thought-through every potential caveat so you won’t need his services again in a few weeks. The recent graduate may be getting a phone call from you about some loop-holes not long after the task has been completed.

My rate is based on what I believe is reasonable for return on investment I provide my clients and my process has been tailored to deliver web design and development services based on that cost. You can expect to invest $150+ per hour if you’re hiring me for a web or mobile project.