Website Design Cost Calculator

Website Design Cost Calculator
“the very wage received is a pledge of slavery” Cicero 40 BC
Where’s the hourly rate?
Well, hourly rates incentivize designers to take as long as possible on a project. Trading time for money dates back to ancient rome, but in the 19th century hourly wage was used to replace slavery. This became known as wage slavery and later wage labor. This might as well be where business gets some of it’s unethical dark ux patterns from inherently. Well, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Instead we can use an investment model or value based model to consider the cost of our website design project much like stock. There’s some risk if our plan doesn’t go well, but there’s also a huge upside. For example, you’ll notice the placeholder values in the calculator take into considering the rule of 1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly. You only need 1000 true fans to pay $100 per year to have a nice lifestyle. Now, some of you out there are more ambitious that this I understand that. Try to understand the average website design project ranges anywhere between 4 weeks to 6 months depending on the complexity. If you think your project will take longer, you can adjust the calculator accordingly. There’s a cost to innovation in that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. This is from Harvard Essentials Managing Creativity and Innovation. So, you want to take that into consideration as you fill out and plan your website design project. Ideally you’ll want to at least double you money when it comes to the profit area. You’ll notice however that the current defaults have a 300% return. Now, will you get 1000 customers in 30 days? I’m not sure. That depends on marketing. “The best marketing is education.” Says Regis McKenna. I like to think of marketing, myself, as cultivating an audience of people with a shared problem. Once you’ve done that you can quite considerably sell them anything. This can be done with LinkedIn, Facebook Groups, or other various social media platforms. The biggest I believe is the email newsletter list. Personally, this list has been a big return for my business like it has others.
Nevertheless, when considering a website design cost try not to think of it as an expense but as an investment. It’s also crucial that engineering/developers and sales/marketing needs to be kept abreast and involved to some degree in the design process. This ensures that all teams are aligned rather than finding things out the hard way during waterfall relay race hand offs.
The reason I created this calculator was to help entrepreneurs budget their investments into innovation and creativity. It’s widely known and accepted that good aesthetics can increase the cost one is charging for their customers.
This calculator was derived from Chris Do at The Futur and Blind agency. It’s based on a few books. One most pertinent is Value Based Fees by Alan Weiss.
As an example if we pay hourly for web design then the designer is incentivized to take as long as possible on a project. Well, what if the deadline is more urgent? That’s why in the calculator I’ve made sure to include the deadline. Now, if we remember Eisenhower’s Matrix, we’ll remember that not everything is urgent. Some things are long term. If your project is ahead of the state of urgency that’s better not worse. You’re proactive not reactive. Way to go! Depending on your budget and anticipation of quality of design, or taste, you may be interested in a junior designer just getting their feet wet at $20 an hour rate. The average cost for web design varies between $20-$200 per hour. Yet, like I said before that incentivizes the designer to take as long as possible. Therefore, for a mix of quality and urgency one might opt for a more experienced designer that can turn around good design in record time. Yet, this will increase the budget. I’ve tried to strike a balance with this website design cost calculator to take into consideration this phenomena where one might provide patronage with time and minimum wage to new rookie designer that needs a helping hand, or if you might be concerned that time is money and you want it done right the first time with less rounds of revisions, then you might lean more towards the senior UX designers. Whatever your decision this website design cost calculator is likely to bring a new perspective in which you had not yet seen your website design project through. Now, you may notice that the maximum amount of investment is capped at 20%. This is the total cost of the website design portion of the project. The reason I maxed it out at 20% is because that’s the maximum consultants charge per project. So, I thought a fair percentage is one that is between 1 and 20 percent because as the number of customers and net income increases so too does the risk, and investment. Therefore, tens of millions of dollars differs from a couple of thousand dollars in terms of project and percentage.
Now, look some of the pricing from this calculator may come as a surprise to many of you who have paid web designers in the past. But think about the result you got from that previous project? Have you worked with that designer since? As the ol’ adage goes “you get what you pay for.” In a way, it’s good to be shocked when looking at the calculator, because that means we’ve something to learn. Our paradigm is changing. We’re opening our minds to something new rather than “nickel and dime-ing” designers for the lowest bid. Some of you may think “Well, I don’t have any customers yet, and there’s no guarantee!” Then a website design is not worth your time and money. A better use of your time would be selling and learning how to sell. You don’t need a website to start a business. You don’t need a website to start a business and makes sales. What you need to do is get out in front of people yourself and listen to their problems. Use SPIN selling to understand their prblems before prescribing a solution, or offering to help. “People love to buy but hate to be sold.”
My name is Nate Chen and I’m the principal responsible for The UX Gallery. The people that I’ve reached out to and that have joined The UX Gallery are unlike anyone else. This is because I’ve personally mentored and groomed them into the designers they are today. Many of which have PhDs or Masters Degrees, and are of the upmost quality in terms of academics, taking direction, and providing high quality web design for your developers to implement. The UX Gallery is an online marketplace where business representatives and UX Designers come together to exchange time for money, and visual design or website design for return on investment. It’s important to think of a website design cost as an investment NOT an expense. This is because when you put let’s say $10,000 in to website design, you’ll get a 300% return if you get all your customers wanted during that time. That’s $40,000 if all goes to plan. There’s always risk in business, just like in stocks. Risk is something that comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur. To mitigate risk in this day and age, it’s encouraged to spend more money up front not less. Why? This has to do with UX Research which helps to prevent expensive mistakes form being found later after marketing launch when it’s the most expensive to make and find those mistakes. As Eric Ries wrote in The Lean Startup “For every mistake you find during discovery is $1 a mistake. During development is $10 a mistake. After product launch $100 a mistake.” So, if this is to be taken into account, it’d make sense to spend more of our budget on research, design, and engineering, rather than merely engineering, design, and marketing alone.
If you don’t know how to answer some of the questions in this calculator, then feel free to reach out at and we’d be happy to help understand where you are, and where you want to be. You can also send us a message by clicking Contact above, or visit:
Now, you designers out there. This calculator can help you understand what to charge your clients. What’s fair compensation for your time and effort. This value based pricing will help you earn a living rather than scratch by the skin of your teeth. You should be getting paid more.
It works both ways. I’ve had CEOs in CyberSecurity charing their law Firm Clients pennies on the dollar for AI Intranet service to prevent Millions of Dollars in Phishing Scams. The cost for the service is so low it’s negligible in value. Their website design was also not favorable in terms of Venture Capitalist opinion. Although, not their main customer albeit, it was a critique on aesthetics.
You see there’s a Law of UX called “The Aesthetic Usability Effect” where during research we want the design to look ugly, but during market launch we want it to look pretty to cover up our usability issues. Not taking this into consideration certainly helps reduce the overall value, and then you become the bottom of the barrel competing on price and offering freemium product or services. No one wants that! This website design cost calculator is helping business people and website designers both understand the investment at stake here. Working better together will both impact the business and the project bridging an alliance and making for extended business relationships in the long haul.
Now, there are other website design cost calculators out there. However, they over complicate things with granular details which should quite frankly be left to the designer and engineer a la carte rather than set in stone up front. This is the era of Agile, and anything in one’s brief that is precise and concrete is a recipe for disaster when things go off script like they so often do. I’m not saying don’t utlize their tools. It makes for a great comparison. However, I wouldn’t charge Nike, Inc. the same as a mom and pop donut shop down the street. The economics are completely different. The value exchange is completely different. So too should the return on investment be. That’s where this website cost calculator comes in. What other investment could you make with a 300% return? Not many in my line of work, I’ll say!
In terms of overhead, the American consumerism capitalist system runs on often has we business owners at odds with our own economics. We can get in over our heads quickly with software subscriptions every which way, not to mention payroll! It’s important we re assess our profit and loss statement and come to terms with growth. A website design cost should return several times its initital investment, but what’s more is that your business doesn’t arrive back to a position from which it came.
“The hurrier I go. The further behind I be.” – Jim Meyer.
“What got you here. Won’t get you there.” – Marshall Goldsmith
In effort to enact great change in our lives and business, we must do things that not only we haven’t done but in some ways contradict our former beliefs. Like with hourly wage labor we discussed above.
Please consider using The UX Gallery, and send us a message, we’d be happy to provide a proposal for your upcoming website design project. Thanks for reading. – Nate