How much do freelance web developers charge per hour and what affects their rate of pay? Expert Market breaks down the costs so you can get more for your money.
Freelance Web Developer Costs 2018
Freelance web developers use their skills to create scalable, manageable and high performance websites or to improve the design, reach and usability of their clients' existing websites.
As with any freelancer, prices will fluctuate and so will quality of work. Therefore it is essential that you know what to expect and how much it ought to cost.
Why Hire A Freelance Web Developer?
Great quality for a lower cost
Generally speaking, hiring a freelancer is cheaper than employing a design agency. This is because they have lower overheads, with no need to employ people or to work from large, external offices. Freelancers also need to ensure they are trained to a high degree in the various aspects of website development, so they can offer a high quality, bespoke service to clients and ensure work keeps coming in.
Flexibility and responsiveness
Hiring a self-employed web designer means clients can benefit from more flexible services and can have someone respond quickly to their wants and needs. Furthermore, most freelancers are willing and able to work outside of normal hours if needed, which offers the added bonus of high quality work being completed very quickly. Freelance web developers know how important it is for them to deliver the best result possible to their clients so that they keep coming back for more.
Responsible and dedicated
With their reputation and income riding on the work they produce, you’ll find that freelance web developers are generally more respectful and accommodating in the requests they’ll accept. Using the wide-array of experience they will have built up across their portfolio of work, freelancer web developers can often adopt an almost consultative role, educating clients about the possibilities on offer and optimising a website’s back-end to improve business results.
Up-to-date industry knowledge
Freelancers are always on the ball and you can be confident that if a new technology is gaining traction in the industry, they will be the first ones to know about it. This gives clients an additional edge for their projects that might not be available through an agency, who might prefer their tried and tested process.
What Affects A Freelance Developer's Rates?
Your freelance web developer’s cost for each project will vary depending on what needs to be accomplished. Larger, more technically demanding projects will incur a higher charge and vice versa. However, there are some things that you may affect the amount your developer asks for:
Simple or complicated?
Understandably, your freelance web developer will charge you according to the time and effort they put in your website. The nature and number of components and features you want incorporated in your website will govern the price you eventually pay. The more intricate the work required, the higher the cost gets. For instance, you won’t be required to pay a lot if you are looking for a blog; however, requesting a larger business website is going to cost a lot more.
What is your flexibility like?
Clients usually have their heart set on a specific outcome and know how they want their website to look and feel. Yet more often than not, this might not be 100% possible. Therefor your freelance developer will need to make amends and changes. However, if you cannot accommodate these suggestions and compromises, you can expect to pay a higher rate.
How large is the project?
Project costs may be significantly affected by how lengthy the work actually is. As mentioned earlier, a personal blog is going to take a lot less time than redesigning or developing a big business website. For larger-scale projects, be prepared to spend a good amount of money, especially if you want it done right with no shortcuts.
All things aside, the price you’ll be paying to a freelancer is probably going to be less than what you would have paid to a large agency for reasons that have already been discussed. The following methods are how most freelance web developers in the UK charge their clients:
Probably the least convenient method for customers, paying on an hourly basis was the traditional way of hiring self-employed web developers in the UK. The downside arrives as additional hours can start piling up with round after round of potential amends. This often means that clients have to pay for more time consumed than was probably foreseen in the initial quote and consultation.
Similar to hourly payments, daily payments can prove inconvenient too. This is because most freelancers prefer working from the comfort of their own spaces, which makes it harder for the client to monitor and be available to offer immediate direct help if required. Costly delays may occur in situations where the freelancer needs further clarification from the client, or is sat waiting for feedback.
By project and page
Probably the most reasonable way to pay is by either project or page. As you might have guessed, paying by project means agreeing a set overall fee, inclusive of amends, and then paying a deposit followed by the rest of the fee upon completion. If your project is small or liable to change in size, then paying by page might prove a cautious move. Generally you will get a better rate paying like this as Freelancers won’t be able to artificially inflate their hours to squeeze a bit more money out of hard-pressed clients.
What Can You Expect To Pay?
The rate of pay is determined by the complexity of your project, your relationship with your freelance web developer and the skills that they possess.
Web development prices will start in the hundreds, but can easily rise into the thousands for larger and more technically demanding jobs.
You can find out more about how much a website costs in our expert guide.
Of you can find out more about the people you might need to hire to improve your website with our breakdown of the various roles occupied by web developers, software engineers and computer programmers.