How Much Should You Pay a Web Developer?

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While it’s tempting to go cheap when it comes to web development, doing everything yourself, sometimes it makes sense to hire a knowledgeable web developer.

The boxes below shows average rates for a sampling of web development skills.  For a full rate breakdown by technical skill and geography, check out this freelancer hourly rate breakdown by Elance.

Average Hourly Rate for Web Developers by Skillset

Since I hate the backend part of running a web site, I have a partner on by own blog. He takes care of web developer type things, while I concentrate on writing. Our agreement is fairly straightforward: We share the profits from the web site.

However, you might need to pay a web developer and/or designer to keep things running smoothly, and to provide you with a web site/blog that you are happy with. You need to start by considering your needs, which might include:

  • Number of pages you need for your web site
  • Whether or not you need to integrate ecommerce capabilities
  • Social media integration
  • Help designing layout
  • Database support and functionality
  • Blog and other content management
  • Dashboard features
  • Mobile design
  • Graphics and other multimedia
  • Ongoing maintenance
  • New site vs. redesign

In some cases, web developers offer a laundry list of services that they provide, with flat rates. In other cases, you might find that your web developer charges an hourly rate. In any case, the more you need someone else to do, the more it will cost you. You can expect to pay anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000, depending on what you want done, and how experienced your web developer is. (A great resource for a break down of different design/development costs can be found at About.com.)

Get a Few Quotes

One way to see if you are on the right track is to get a few quotes. Put together a standard look at what you need for your web site, and then send it to between three and six web developers. Try to be as specific as possible, since that will garner you the most accurate quotes.

You should also find out from the web developers quoting you a little more about how they work. Do they see the process as a collaborative one? How many revisions can you request? Find out a little bit more about the process as you get your quote. If you are more specific, you might be able to get a project quote instead of an hourly cost.

Compare the quotes you receive, as well as the information about how the web developers work. Then decide which web developer is most likely to provide you with the best results. In many cases, the best value is likely to be someone who is at the upper end of the middle price. You don’t want to go with the cheapest developer, but you might not be able to pay for the most expensive developer (and he or she might be overpriced anyway).

Determining the market rate for any service can be a challenge. Rates often vary by region and job, as well as experience. You should also be aware that sometimes you get what you pay for. If you find someone on a freelance marketplace, and take the lowest bid, or if you make use of Fiverr, you might not get the quality you are hoping for.

Photo: vlauria
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