21 Replies Latest reply on Mar 9, 2010 11:59 PM by Mike_Watt

    Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?

    RevDrChris

      I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but I figure it couldn't hurt.  A friend of mine's wife contacted me recently asking if I can create a new web site for her company.  Their old site was hosted by a local company and they choose not to renew the service and the site was taken down.  I have the site mostly built beside adding some products, it basically done.  And to add new products, it's just a matter of simply copying the current page and replacing the info.

       

      Well, it sounds like the company isn't doing to well and she asked me how much they need to pay me for what I've already done.  I told her that the average price to start up a site is around $2000-3000; but I would be fine with $1500.  To find these numbers, I searched online and also contacted the prior company that designed their old site to see how much they charge for stuff like that.  They said a minium cost would be $3000, but the fee varies.  And since she is a friend, I wasn't going to gouge her.  But I do want to get paid close to what they would have paid someone else to do what I did.

       

      They love the site and think it's great.  But when I told her the $1500, her replay was "wow, that's a LOT more than I was expecting".  She now wants to know how much to pay for the site like it is now and to stop working on it.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I've made many pages for myself, but never for anyone else.  I don't have much experience with stuff like this so any input would be apprecitated.  I know I SHOULD have gotten some sort of contract beforehand and all.  But she is a friend and all.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to some feedback.  Thanks!

       

      Here is the temporary holding place for the site I made so you can all see what it looks like:

      http://myworthlesscrap.com/Temp/Elite/

        • 1. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Several ways to determine cost

           

          1 - by bid

          2 - by page

          3 - by hour

           

          Since you did none of these, only you know the value of your time -vs- the value of friendship (working for a "friend" or a relative is very risky, and should always start with a written contract)

           

          Now... you are either going to lose a friend, or feel forever taken advantage of due to friendship

          • 2. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
            rp1106

            A little suggestion...don't charge them too less because then you are doing injustice to yourself too. Be professional. I have also face similar situation in the beginning  and paid price for that. Since then I don't do friendship stuff.

            • 3. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
              370H55V Level 4

              In hindsight, you really should have negotiated a price before you started any work.

               

              That said, your fee is really up to you based on what you think your time and skill is worth.

               

              I've heard everything from $500 flat rate with variable content management fees, to $3000 for the site and $200 a month to do CM, to $100 a page with no recurring fees for CM at all.

               

              There's a broad spectrum for design fees. If it's for a friend, you'll probably be inclined to cut a deal, but don't short yourself. After all, if they didn't have you to turn to, they'd end up paying the "going rate" for someone else to do it.

              • 4. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                Ned Murphy Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                You've planted yourself between a rock and a hard place.  First find out what she thought she might be paying for your efforts.  Then determine what amount of time you put into the effort so far and decide what you think your time is worth at an hourly rate.  If what she thought she would pay puts you working for a pitiful rate based on the time you put in, then it's your choice... give in or stand up for yourself.  Sometimes friendship has a way of revealing its trueness in these situations.  If you feel you're the only one sacrificing in this, then you don't need a forum... this is a personal problem.

                 

                John T Smith summarized it best, and if you're going to lose a friend (in either of his scenarios it will happen), why not get compensated for it.

                • 5. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                  RevDrChris Level 1

                  The original plan was to put together a "quick" page so they can tell me what they think of it and if I was on the right track and then we would discuss the price.  But I kinda got carried away, and it didn't help that she was taking forever to respond to me.

                   

                  I'm just looking to get paid an honest wage for the site as it is now.  Like I said, it's mostly done.  Adding new products would be a simple quick thing to do.  So I would consider the site 90% done or so since the remaining work is merely "plug-and-play".

                  • 6. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                    M.R.Biesheuvel Level 3

                    Just lower your price because they are friends. If you wanted a fair price you yourself should have discussed it before you started. It's obvious that friends expect a friendly price or else they would have gone somewhere else. If you want to be paid fair you should make an agreement before you start working on something. Now its a little too late to start making all the trouble over some stupid money and risking  a quarrel or a fight.

                    • 7. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                      pziecina Level 6

                      Hi

                       

                      I think you have summed it up here -

                      The original plan was to put together a "quick" page so they can tell me what they think of it and if I was on the right track and then we would discuss the price.  But I kinda got carried away

                      If this was your original remit then anything more than that you cannot charge for.

                       

                      That said next time, (there will be a next time, I can guarantee it) remember you are doing this for a living and you do not just have to cover your time working on a site, but also the time there are no sites to work on, so factor this into this project and all future projects as well.

                       

                      As for working for friends, probably just about everyone who uses this forum has probably been 'bitten' by doing so, do it 'yes' but having a contract signed before hand, definitely.

                       

                      PZ

                      www.pziecina.com

                      • 8. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                        bregent Most Valuable Participant

                        >But I kinda got carried away, and it didn't help

                        >that she was taking forever to respond to me.

                         

                        You can't charge for any work above and beyond what was agreed upon, regarless of how long she took to respond.

                        • 9. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                          370H55V Level 4

                          "I'm just looking to get paid an honest wage for the site as it is now."

                           

                          Been there... done that... with a friend as well.

                           

                          I have a buddy who owns a small restaurant. He's not exactly rolling in cash, and wanted a site to put his menu online. We negotiated a reasonable fee (nothing in the four digits range) and I put together a few (five) pages for him. Knowing him the way I do, I was sure he'd want to expand it and there'd be monthly work to keep up with menu changes and price changes, so I negotiated a maintenance schedule and fee into the agreement. Now I get $60 a month whether I make changes or not, and if he wants a lot of stuff one month, I get a few free dinners out of it too.

                           

                          The site's 23 pages now with javascripts, embeded video (karaoke nights-LOL), sports calendars, and most recently flash stuff (as I learn it).

                           

                          Could I have charged him an arm and a leg for what I've done? Absolutely. He probably would have decided against having a site at all though, or we'd probably not be friends anymore.

                           

                          Fortunately, I was still learning a lot of things about site building 2 years ago, and he agreed to let his site be a "guinea pig" for me to test things as I learned to incorporate them. It hasn't hurt his business, and we have our friendship still, while I learn javascript, PHP, Flash animation, action script, and more by testing it on his pages.

                           

                          The only hard thing is when someone I don't know comes to me and asks for the same kind of deal I gave my friend. I have to tell them what I charge for regular clients, and they think I'm taking them for a ride. (Another drawback of working for friends and cutting them a good deal). Usually when they check with a design firm and realize that I'm still saving them hundreds if not thousands of dollars, they come back with a better attitude.

                          • 10. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                            M.R.Biesheuvel Level 3

                            At this moment I'm working for free on a site for some friends of my. There bussiness is doing very well but they don't know a thing about the internet. So for some obvious reasons they've allready been victim of people who make a terrible mess out of it and expected to be payed in the 4 digit's.

                             

                            Because they are friends of my I don't ask money. Now you will probably think that I'm stupid but I'm not. A couple of years ago they've helped me a lot and now I help them.

                             

                            Friens are friends to help each other and not doing bussiness with each other and if you do, be completly honest, transparent. But my advice in general is not to do bussiness with friends. Friends have a different value then stupid money, that's my advice...

                            • 11. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                              RevDrChris Level 1

                              Some of you guys are missing the point.  The site isn't for my friend.  It is the company that she works for.  It is not her company, she is only an employee there.  She just knows that I have made a few sites of my own and contacted me for their site to replace the one they lost.

                              • 12. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                                pziecina Level 6

                                Hi

                                 

                                It does not make any difference, if its for a friend or the company she works for, the fact that -

                                The original plan was to put together a "quick" page so they can tell me what they think of it and if I was on the right track and then we would discuss the price.  But I kinda got carried away

                                Still means you cannot charge for more than this. Would you ask someone to do a sketch then pay for an oil painting you did not ask for?

                                 

                                PZ

                                www.pziecina.com

                                • 13. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                                  RevDrChris Level 1

                                  I guess I'm not explaining myself very well.

                                   

                                  Since we initially talked about the site; we have been collaborating via email on what changes to make, what to add, etc.  I've been getting input from her and someone else in her company for a couple weeks now.  We just never ironed out a price until now.  I'm kinda getting a feeling from her last email that the company is not doing so well.  That's why she is trying to get me paid before things get bad.  At least that is my take on what's going on right now.

                                  • 14. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                                    John Waller Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    I would accept the fact that both parties have handled this poorly, agree on a discounted rate for the site as it stands and leave it.

                                     

                                    Leaving price discussions until the end, allowing scope creep over a period of time then charging for it out of the blue is always going to be a recipe for a sour ending.

                                    • 15. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                                      pziecina Level 6

                                      Hi

                                       

                                      Providing you kept the emails then you can take this as your remit to continue developing, but and here is the problem, you must decide on the price no one here can do that for you.

                                       

                                      If someone canceled a site that is almost complete then charge the full price. You must ask yourself first how much time you spent designing/developing the site, give yourself an estimated earnings in this time including holiday pay, insurances, additional time factor for no work, (when you would be looking for other contracts, add all these together and that is what you should charge.

                                       

                                      But as you do not have a contract as such subtract 25-30%.

                                       

                                      FWIW - I charge a minimum of $2500, or $75 per hr, and my rates only go upwards from this depending on what is required.

                                       

                                      PZ

                                      www.pziecina.com

                                      • 16. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                                        bregent Most Valuable Participant

                                        >I would accept the fact that both parties have

                                        >handled this poorly, agree on a discounted rate

                                        >for the site as it stands and leave it.

                                         

                                        I agree. You're both at fault so meet halfway. Determine what their expectations were, what your normal fees should be, and split the difference. And don't feel too bad about the situation. Many of us have made similar mistakes but learn a lot from them.

                                        • 17. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                                          pziecina Level 6

                                          Hi

                                           

                                          As Breqent says -

                                          Many of us have made similar mistakes but learn a lot from them.

                                          And remember many have also ended up with nothing, which if they have financial problems!

                                           

                                          PZ

                                          www.pziecina.com

                                          • 18. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                                            KevinSFreeman Level 1

                                            I think you should ask her what she thinks is a fair price and charge her only this amount.

                                             

                                            You didn't negotiate up front which is the biggest lesson learned. Make her happy, keep her as a customer and you may get referrals. Ask her to please not to disclose what she paid for the site so others don't get the wrong idea.

                                             

                                            You have a chance to turn this lady into invaluable advertising opportunities and make her very happy....that's business!

                                            • 19. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                                              so-nouveau

                                              Basically everyone has answered your question, you didnt agree a fee so bad luck

                                              if you did more than she expected to pay for , my suggestion is ....

                                              charge her the minimum you can and then hopefully extended

                                              work each month on maintaining it may help cover the other costs ( labor etc )

                                              • 20. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                                                Ned Murphy Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                Maybe it's best to get back on track with the original plan... present one page as an example and forget the rest for the time being.  If you've completed that end of the deal, then according to your plan it's time now to sit down and talk turkey about the price.  Work up your numbers and be prepared to discuss them with her company, not her.

                                                • 21. Re: Started to build a web site for pay...how much should I charge?
                                                  Mike_Watt Level 2

                                                  AGREED -

                                                  Since they really only contracted you to do a sample page for them, remove the rest of the site from the server.  It's too late to recover your time, but just because you can't get it back doesn't mean you have to give it up for peanuts...  If you can't negotiate and agree on a price, then thank them for the opportunity and walk away... you don't have to *give* them the site that they never asked or paid for.

                                                  Just my 2 cents.

                                                  And I'm doing a site for free right now for a friend's non-profit group. It takes so much of my time, and I regret it constantly - but I'd do it again. I'm a sucker.