The Reasons Web Design Costs Differ So Much

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Well done. You did the responsible thing by getting multiple quotes for your web design project. Perhaps you needed a developer to build a site or you just wanted a redesign since it has been three years since someone last touched it.

But if you are reading this, then you ran into or have experienced the same problem every business owner and entrepreneur runs into – you received vastly different web design costs for the same project.


When you embarked on your journey of price shopping, you expected to receive proposals that varied a few dollars due to hourly prices or something similar. That is a reasonable assumption – I mean, you requested for the exact same work to be done.

Instead you received proposals that were vastly different. The highest priced proposal is so far from the lowest priced proposal that you feel like you are being asked to stay at the Four Seasons versus a Holiday Inn.

This can make comparing the proposals difficult. How do you know if you are leaving money on the table? Are you going to pay too much? Are you going to pay too little and not get a good enough job? Will it have to be redone?

There are so many questions that are asked when comparing proposals and very few answers. Unless you know why proposals vary. This incredible insight will allow you to take your apple and orange proposals and turn them into apple and apple proposals, allowing you to pick the very best one.

So I offer this post to try to answer the question of why web design costs vary so much from designer to designer and company to company. As a general rule, it has more to do with what you do not see than what you do see. There is more that goes into building a quality website than just what you would see.

Anyways, here are some of the factors that cause variation in project web design costs:

Market Research and Design Optimization

Great web design is part art and part science. For maximum results, it takes a good looking website that performs well. The performance of a website is usually measured by conversion rates, traffic rates, bounce rates, etc.

The performance of your website hinges upon whether your site is optimized for your audience or not. You could have the most beautiful website, but not convert a single user if your site is not optimized.

The proposals that charge less tend to skip market research. They do not take the time to understand your customers and your business. As a result, they might be able to design a good looking website, but the probability of your site converting traffic is small.

The less you pay, the more likely it is that the design company skips this very critical step. Although this is not always true as there are other factors that influence price.

Size of the Company Designing the Site

The larger the company the more you will pay. Larger companies or any company with employees tends to have a larger overhead. This means they have to charge a higher price in order to stay profitable.

On the other hand, a freelance web designer working out of his or her home has a lot less expenses. As a result, freelance designers tend to charge lower prices for design.

The disadvantage with a freelancer, though they may be cheaper, is that they tend not to have access to certain design licenses and other features. Freelance designers do not typically have enough clients to distribute the cost of license expenses like a larger company will.

Many large companies have a large infrastructure and systems in place to ensure a better service experience. On the flip side, the freelancer is the biller, the designer, the secretary, the marketer and more. This can be a challenge, though not impossible, to juggle all of these hats.

Experience/Skill of Company Designing

This is a difference between value. A bicycle and a Lexus get you to the same place. If that is all you need, then a bicycle will work. Most designers work on a per project basis or sometimes hourly. A designer who charges $40 per hour will not get you the same design as someone who charges $200 per hour.

Designers who charge more are providing you with value and expertise that you will not find at a bargain price. Premium web designers turn every website into a unique and beautiful masterpiece. Bargain designers will often reuse old code and old design that they used for another client.

In most cases, the benefits will outweigh the costs of hiring a more expensive designer. If you pick a lower price, then you run the risk of getting stuck with a designer who sucks. Don’t say I did not warn you.

Workload of the Company Designing

The cost of designers can be explained by a few laws of economics – the laws that acted as lullabies and put us to sleep because of how boring they were. So I will try to be brief.
In essence, the more work or demand a company has, the higher their prices will be. So if you call about design work from a company that gets six other calls like yours every day, then they are going to charge a high price. This is true when compared with a company that gets one call a week.

The more popular and in-demand a company is, then the more you will pay. Most companies that have high demand have a high demand for a reason. They usually offer the best service, design and experience. They tend to give you the most bang for your buck, though not always.

There have been cases where demand is over exaggerated. A perfect example is any bubble like the Tech-bubble. Investors overvalued technology companies, so they overpaid for the value they received. When the bubble finally burst they lost money.

It is possible to hire a company that is overvalued and end up with a website that is not any better than you could have gotten elsewhere. Essentially, you paid for the brand name. Taking these four factors into mind should shine some light on the different costs between proposals. This should help you compare proposals for their true value so you know you are getting a fair deal.

You do not have to wonder if you are leaving money on the table. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the price, the better the design. You will get a better service experience, a great looking design, and a design that actually converts.

Evaluating proposals does not have to be a hassle. Ask us for a no nonsense quote. We explain exactly what you are getting.

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