One of the most frequently asked questions on WordPress forums and discussion groups is: “how much should I charge for developing a WordPress site?”
Reading through people’s responses, we see that not only there is no definite answer, but it actually takes a lot more than a freelance WordPress developer to answer that question. Pricing and quoting requires seeing the bigger picture, believing in your abilities, and strong negotiation skills.
In this article we will go over some of the considerations to bear in mind when giving a project quote, and what to be aware of when getting into a new wordpress development project.
Project Scoping- How to Estimate Your Efforts
In order to get an accurate estimation of the amounts of time required for the project, it is highly recommended to divide the project into stages. Create a document that lists what tasks are included in each stage of the process, and define clear milestones which need to be achieved before moving forward to the next stage.
Next, estimate how many hours of work will be required for each section, and increase them by 20% to leave you room for maneuver in case things don’t go as smoothly as planned. That 20% can be increased if you see that the client tends to change his mind often, or hold you on the phone for long batches of time. Be very precise about estimating your working hours, and remember that any mistake you make on this part is critical to the following development stages.
Fixed Price Vs. Hourly Rates
After you’ve estimated the volume of the project, you need to decide whether you will charge a global price for the project as a whole, or an hourly rate. We will not get into the pros and cons of fixed price Vs. hourly rates right now, but what we do want to discuss is how that decision will affect the selling process and the future communications with that client.
Fixed prices are always easier for customers to digest. Whether the price is high or low, affordable or not, it is fixed, meaning they can either accept it or not, and they know what to expect. If you’re working on an hourly basis, you will still need to give an estimation of how long the work would take you, and people will expect you to stay within those limits.
If you’re half-way through the project and you’re out of hours, it probably means you didn’t do your scoping right, so asking for that extra budget may not seem appropriate from the client’s perspective. In extreme cases like that, the question to be considered is who has to pay for the extra time, you or the customer?
The Art Of Pricing
When it comes to hourly rates, pricing is much more than just an estimation of your efforts. It incorporates issues of self-esteem and self-value on the one hand, the project’s characteristics on the other hand, the level of commitment to the process from the client side, supply and demand, unique skills, and reality on the surface as an overall price regulation mechanism. So before we go into the details of what to consider when quoting a project, let’s have a look at pricing basics that every freelancer should look after:
Know What You’re Worth
If you’re just beginning your career, you should be able to distinct between what you can and cannot do and price your work accordingly. People admire honesty. If a client is asking for something you’re not sure you can do, be honest about it. Tell them you’ll give it your best shot, give them a little discount, and consider it as a training fee. Most importantly, never promise a client something you can’t .
Along the same lines, if you’ve been developing websites for a decent amount of time and feel confident in the quality of your work, you should feel comfortable to charge good money for it. Especially if you have unique skills that no-one else can offer, make it apparent to your clients that working with you is worth the extra money.
Of course, clients will have higher expectations from you, so exceeding those expectations is a must, especially if you want those clients to recommend you later along the line.
Remember that Price Has a Psychological Effect
People perceive the quality of your work by how much it costs. People also tend to think that offering a competitive price will win the client’s heart. In reality, what many freelancers don’t understand is that lower prices in consumer’s minds often means low quality work, poor service, and generally a half job that isn’t really worth their effort.
If your price is very high in comparison to competitors, people will think that your work is of better quality. While this may help you win you the project, there is a delicate border between giving the impression of quality and, put simply, ripping-off your clients. so when giving your quote, never give the lowest or highest offer. Choose a good spot in the middle and let the client make his choice.
It is a well-known fact that out of 3 possibilities, the majority of consumers will almost indefinitely choose the golden path- not too cheap, not too expensive. If more than 3 options are offered, aim for 5% below the most expensive offer, or 5% above the cheapest one.
Geographic Location Makes a Huge Difference
When it comes to WordPress development, hourly rates vary greatly, starting from $10 per hour to $300 and sometimes even higher. The difference is so outrageous it often confuses clients, who want to make the best choice for their business. The source of this gap in prices is of course, geo location, and while it may seem unjust to some, it is agreeable that working with someone who speaks your language and understands your cultural perspective is a lot easier, and that alone is worth the extra money, given the client can afford it.
The following screenshots from Upwork.com (formerly odesk) highlight the difference in pricing among freelance wordpress developers in different parts of the world.
Sadly, if you’re on the other side of the planet and cannot meet your client in person, it will be difficult to charge an equal amount to what someone in their local area would.
Luckily, we are living in a global era and have plenty of tools available to maintain direct contact even without meeting face to face. If that it the case, make up for the physical distance by being extra communicative, and use tools like video calls and screen shares to make them feel more involved in the process.
Do Your Research Before Making Your Quote
This may sound strange to some of you freelance WordPress developers out there. Research may be a major part of what you’re paid to do, and sometimes it does require quite a lot of your time. Even so, without proper research you will not be able to give the right quote to your clients.
Let’s say you have a client who is a lawyer. He asks for a standard business site, but as you do your research you find out that he is also the head of the national ethical committee for court justice. His clients say he has a huge and rare talent. In addition, he teaches B.A courses at the faculty of law and sells self training kits for the open university. Recently, he has come up with a new video course and is planning to sell it online. Suddenly, that standard business site you were planning to build doesn’t seem like such a simple project after all.
Wouldn’t you rather find that out before giving your quote?
Being a freelance WordPress developer requires you to stay on top of things all the time. You cannot afford to make mistakes in your estimations, nor can you leave any room for misunderstandings with your clients. Signing a project agreement beforehand and pricing your work for what its worth is important, just in case something does go wrong. Following some guidelines will ultimately save you time and hassle and help maintain long term relationships with your clients which are based on trust, loyalty, and professionalism.