How much should you charge to build a WordPress website? What about charging for other WordPress services like support, themes, plugins, or eBooks? How should you estimate overall WordPress costs?
It’s a tough question. Charge too much and you’ll scare away potential customers and miss out on jobs. Charge too little and you will be overwhelmed with work, yet unable to pay your bills.
What’s the happy medium?
In this post, we’ll help you answer that question! First, we’ll talk about determining exactly what services you are offering. Are you a blogger? Support technician? Plugin developer?
Depending on what you do, your prices and presentation will vary.
Then, we’ll discuss some different approaches to determining the cost of a WordPress website. There are many different ways to think about pricing, including competition, hourly rate, expenses, and value, just to name a few.
Finally, we’ll look at some typical prices for different WordPress services, including WordPress website design prices. We have researched a wide variety of sources to help give you an accurate estimate of what you should (or could) be charging.
Let’s get started!
Before anything else, you’ll need to clarify exactly what your services are. The clearer you are about what you’re selling, the easier it is for potential customers to find and hire you.
Just being a vague “WordPress consultant” is usually too broad to work.
This is especially true if you are using LinkedIn, Codeable, Upwork, and similar marketplaces. Potential clients will find you via the keywords listed in your profile, so it’s important to include all relevant ones.
Below, we’ve listed some common services offered by freelancers. These are just general suggestions so don’t worry if you do something different!
Do you create full-service websites for your clients? This includes everything from hosting, design to management, support, and anything else related to website development.
As you might expect, the cost of a website largely depends on how complex it is. More complex websites will naturally cost more money. However, with WordPress, you have access to over 10,000 themes and 50,000 plugins, which makes it easy to quickly create pretty much any kind of site you can think of.
Are you a theme creator? Editor? Maybe you make customizations to already-made themes, or translate other site designs into a WordPress theme?
Themes are usually sold on marketplaces like ThemeForest. It’s also common to include support and updates for 6 months or 1 year after purchase, after which customers have to pay a small fee to access support.
Other themes are also sold directly on the developer’s website. For example, you can purchase the Astra theme directly from our website.
Do you create plugins? Make modifications to existing ones? Or maybe you convert Shopify or Magento plugins into WordPress? If so, you’ll want to mention plugins in your list of services.
Plugins can often be rather expensive, which makes them a great choice for developers looking to build a small business. Usually, plugins are sold directly on the developer’s website or on marketplaces like ThemeForest.
Are you a tech support specialist? Perhaps you offer freelance support services to smaller WordPress plugins or themes. Or, you might have years of experience managing a larger support team.
Support services are often done on a retainer basis. This means that you are paid a flat fee for a certain number of hours per month (for example, 40 hours total) and then an hourly rate for any time on top of that. We cover retainers more below.
Alternatively, you might maintain a website that someone else has created. This is a common situation for smaller business websites, where the original website may have been created years ago by a different company.
As with support services, maintenance is often priced on a retainer basis. Generally a freelancer will charge a flat amount for a certain predictable amount of time per month.
For example, a fee could cover 10 hours per month. Any time over that is usually billed at an hourly rate.
If you’re a writer or content creator, you are paid to create content. This includes everything from blog posts, videos to email courses. Likewise, editors are paid to review content and make suggestions or changes to it.
While rates vary, creators and editors are generally paid in one of three ways, per word, per article, or as a monthly salaried employee.
Technical writing is a similar skill to blogging and content creation. However, it focuses more on providing accurate technical information rather than gaining traffic or new users.
As such, technical writers tend to be more flexible about their pricing structures. They usually aren’t paid per article or per word, but on an hourly basis.
Do you offer one-on-one training for creating a WordPress website? Or maybe you are a consultant that offers WordPress training for companies?
For individuals or companies that offer training, the business model is usually per course or training program. It is uncommon to charge a flat hourly rate for training.
Many WordPress authors create eBooks to teach about creating themes or plugins, writing content, improving your SEO, and other tactics.
One good first step is to have a website theme optimized for selling your ebooks.
Ebooks are usually sold as individual products. However, some authors sell their products in different packages to maximize revenue. Ebooks are also usually sold on multiple marketplaces simultaneously, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and others.
For example, the book itself may only be $20, but the book + sample files and a one hour consultation with the author can be $60. This allows authors to increase their potential income for customers that have more money to spend.
The eBook writing itself can be charged per word, per project or as part of a salary.
There are many different approaches to pricing your WordPress services. Some websites take longer to make than others and some tasks require more ongoing effort.
Ultimately, you will need to craft a tailor-made approach to your own services… but we can give you some ideas!
Rates Based on Your Expenses and Cost Of Living
It goes without saying, but if you can’t make enough money to cover your basic living expenses, you aren’t charging enough!
To do a simple calculation, if your monthly expenses after taxes are $4,000 a month and you can work 40 hours per week (160 hours per month), then you’ll need to charge at least $25 an hour.
Of course, this assumes that you can bill for the entire 40 hours per week, which is unlikely (but we’ll talk about that below).
If you are new to the world of WordPress consulting, charging based on your living expenses is not a terrible place to start. While it’s not an ideal situation and you are probably underselling yourself, it does ensure that you’ll be able to survive.
Once you build up an impressive portfolio and list of clients, you can increase your rate.
The next approach is based on competition. How much are your competitors charging? The easiest way to figure this out is to browse job sites and take a look at other freelancers.
There are many different sites that cater to WordPress freelancers:
- Upwork is one of the most popular places for online freelancers. It usually has prices in the intermediate range.
- Codeable is aimed at higher-end programming projects. As such, its prices tend to be higher, which makes it a good choice for experienced WordPress developers.
- Indeed is a huge jobs website and one of the largest career websites in the world.
- Freelancer.com is another freelance-based website. It has a wide range of prices but does trend toward the lower end.
- Fiverr is a very low-priced website. While it’s usually best avoided by serious freelancers, it is not a bad place to start if you’re new and looking to build a portfolio.
Be sure to try different search keywords to find the competitors that offer similar services as you.
Charging based on time is the default approach to pricing your WordPress services, probably because most people are familiar with the concept of an hourly wage.
There are three big questions to answer when it comes to charging based on time.
- Should you charge based on time?
- Should you charge hourly, daily, or weekly?
- Should you have a flat rate or should you have separate rates for different types of tasks?
Should you charge based on time?
It depends. If you are just starting out, charging by time is simple and makes sense. It’s also ideal if your typical customer interaction is short.
A WordPress consultant, for example, might only be hired for a few hours of work.
Alternatively, many freelancers prefer to negotiate project-based rates, only charging hourly for any work that goes beyond the originally agreed-upon project tasks.
For example, a WordPress website may cost $5,000, but any custom-made themes will cost extra.
The main reason for charging per project, rather than time, is that it allows you to maintain or increase your prices as your skill level improves.
For example, imagine a generic website takes you 5 hours to make at first. After years of work, you’re now an expert and can create it in 2 hours. Should you now charge less money because it takes you less time? Surely not!
Likewise, charging hourly doesn’t incentivize you to get things done quickly. Depending on the client, they may prefer the absolute fastest solution over a less expensive one.
Should you charge hourly, daily, or weekly?
The default option is usually to charge per hour. However, there are good reasons for instead charging by the day or week.
For one, it guarantees that you have a predictable source of income. If you book a client for a week of work, it is much easier to rely on that than on an unspecified amount of hours.
Two, it ensures that you aren’t obsessively focusing on every minute or hour of work. When you charge by the day or by the week, you don’t need to worry about spending an extra fifteen minutes on something to help the client out.
If you charge per hour, these 15 minute blocks of time can add up!
Should you have a flat rate or should you have separate rates for different types of tasks?
Should you have two different prices? One for creating a plugin and one for maintaining it? This depends on the specific project, but in general, it’s best to keep your pricing structures as simple as possible.
Usually, the more difficult it is for customers to understand how much the price is, the less likely it is that they will hire you.
Overall, charging hourly is a solid strategy. It is a great place to start and you can always switch to another pricing model later on down the line!
What’s a retainer? A retainer simply means that you charge a flat rate per month that includes a certain number of hours. Retainers are often used for maintenance or other low-difficulty tasks that only need to be completed for a small amount of time per month.
This business model is common in the legal and accounting industries.
For example, you can charge a retainer of $1,000 for 40 hours per month. This means that you’ll do up to 40 hours of work in the month and get paid $1,000 for it. Typically, a retainer is paid even if you don’t complete all of the hours.
Additionally, most freelancers with retainers have an hourly rate for any work that goes above the monthly retainer. So, if you go over the 40 hours for the month, each hour after that will be $30.
The nature of your particular niche is an often overlooked aspect of setting prices. Customers in some niches are more used to paying higher prices than others. The exact same project can often be 2 or 3 times as expensive, simply because the customers are in a high income niche like finance or law.
Finally, one important approach to pricing is called “value based pricing.” Rather than charging based on your competitors or based on time, you set prices based on how much value they provide to your customers.
Now that we’ve covered the different services you can offer and the various approaches to pricing them, let’s take a look at some common rates from across the industry.
These are general guidelines, not specific benchmarks. Your specific price will no doubt vary depending on your particular situation.
As we mentioned above, a WordPress website cost can vary dramatically depending on its complexity. There are also a number of different elements that add up to form a complete cost.
These include (but are not limited to):
- Domain name. A domain can usually be registered for about $10 per year. However, this is assuming that the name is available and that you don’t need to purchase it from a previous owner. If you do need to purchase it, the price can range from a few hundred dollars up to millions (!) if the domain is valuable enough.
- Hosting package. Hosting depends on many factors, but primarily the volume of expected traffic. More traffic = higher price. On the low end, hosting costs about $10 per month or $100 per year. If you get more traffic or need more advanced features, you’ll need to pay hundreds or even thousands per month.
- Monthly support and maintenance. Most websites will require 5-10 hours of maintenance per month, at minimum, to keep things running smoothly. This will cost, at minimum, $20 to $30 per hour.
- Paid themes or plugins. While there are thousands of free plugins available, some of the better ones do cost money. These range from $20 to $200 per year, depending on the plugin.
- eCommerce setup and plugins. If the website is an eCommerce site that will be selling products online, this can add extra costs. WooCommerce, the most popular WordPress eCommerce solution, is free to use. However, some extra add-ons cost $30 to $90 per month.
- Extra customizations not included in standard themes or plugins. If you need to modify any existing plugins or themes, this can add up to a lot of extra time.
- Actual work time required by you, the freelancer, to set things up. Finally, you have to factor in the labor. Depending on your skill level and the amount of work to be done, this can range from a few hours to months.
So, factoring in all of the above elements, the minimum price of setting up a very basic WordPress website (with a year’s worth of hosting and maintenance) is between $500 and $1,000.
Setting up advanced websites that include complex eCommerce pricing structures, customizations, and other extra work can easily cost $20,000 or more.
For example, Astra is the most popular WordPress theme and has a freemium pricing model. You can download the theme for free, but if you purchase one of our premium plans, you get access to tons of other features like 180+ premade templates, extra plugins, and other bonuses.
Most other themes operate in a similar manner and you can browse a large selection on sites like Themeforest.net.
If you’re a freelance theme designer, you should probably list your themes both on marketplaces and on your own individual developer website. Just be sure to let customers easily contact you for questions and support.
Overall, you can probably charge between $30 and $200 for a WordPress theme, depending on the features included.
As with themes, there are both free and paid options available. Plugins tend to be slightly more expensive than themes, mostly because they add extra functionality not available in the standard WordPress software.
According to Creative Minds, the average price of a paid plugin is $138. This is rather expensive! But this is mostly because certain plugins come in packages, which trend higher in price.
If you’re a freelance plugin creator, it’s probably a good idea to create both a free and paid version of your plugin. The free version will no doubt attract attention to the paid one, which you can charge between $30 and $150 for, depending on your particular plugin and industry.
Support is usually billed per hour. However, it is rare to simply offer support services as an independent freelancer. Most support is offered as a package with other WordPress website services.
As we mentioned above, maintenance is typically done on a retainer basis. For example, a flat fee of $300 per month typically covers up to 10 hours of maintenance work.
To calculate your monthly maintenance rates, simply multiply your hourly rate by the expected amount of time the work will take.
However, if you are a highly-paid professional (e.g. programmer) then you should probably lower your maintenance fee if it is mostly routine work like updating plugins and renewing SSL certificates.
Blogging and content rates vary depending on the topic. Usually, prices are based per word or per article. The ranges vary depending on the experience level of the writer, industry, and lots of other variables.
As a wide range, writers charge between $0.04 and $1.00 per word, with the lower end being common for smaller personal blogs and the upper end for well-respected magazines or lucrative niches like finance.
Documentation and Technical Writing
While technical writing has similar pricing structures to blogging, the rates are usually a bit higher. This is because technical writing requires advanced knowledge of particular software programs or other technology.
Some typical per word rates are $0.10 to $0.30 on the low end, with over $1.00 per word at the upper end.
However, technical writers tend to be employed for specific projects or in-house, as they need to be very familiar with the technology they’re writing about. In these cases, the average salary of a technical writer is between $50,000 and $100,000, making the equivalent hourly rate $25 to $50 per hour.
Writing or editing ebooks is a good way to earn an income from the knowledge you have about a particular subject. Usually, the business model for books is pretty straightforward. You write the book then try to sell it on your website and on marketplaces like Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
You can also be commissioned by a client to write an ebook which typically involves fees similar to those for web content.
The price for ebooks varies widely, but usually is between $10 and $50. Let’s look at a few popular WordPress books on Amazon to get a better idea of common prices:
- WordPress for Beginners 2021 is $12.99
- WordPress: The Missing Manual is $37.00.
- WordPress: All in One for Dummies is $20.99.
So, depending on the topic, you can likely charge between $10 and $50 for your ebook.
However, Amazon does have its downsides: they take a percentage of each sale, you can’t add other files or benefits other than the ebook file itself, and you don’t have access to the emails of your customers. Nonetheless, Amazon does get you more traffic, so it is worth it for many authors.
On the other hand, if you’re selling eBooks individually on your own website, you can usually charge a little more, especially if you include extra bonus content like downloadable files, advice via consultation, and similar add-ons.
Coaching and consulting prices are highly variable but largely depend on two things:
- Your experience level and clout. How well-known are you? How much experience do you have? Do people look for your advice or opinions on issues in the WordPress world?
- Your niche. What industry are you in? If your clients are established finance professionals, you can probably charge more than if they are college students.
Pricing for consultants is typically done on an hourly or daily basis. Some coaches also set up a retainer system with weekly or monthly consultations.
When it comes to training users to use a particular software package or other program, the pricing model is usually project-based.
For example, the coach will spend a week teaching users how to use the software and charge a flat fee for this process. The total course package might cost $2,000 for both the software license and for the hands-on training. Alternatively, they may just offer training if the customer already has purchased the software.
Other Tips for Finding the Perfect Rate
In this final section, we’ll cover some other tips to be aware of when pricing your WordPress services or determining the cost of a WordPress website.
Add Support Costs Into the Price
If you are working on a project that will require follow-ups, support, or other work at a later date, be sure to factor this into the total price. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are doing work and not getting paid for it.
Another point to remember is that not all hours you spend doing work for a particular project are billable. In general, this includes things like finding new clients, commuting to the office or meeting place, creating and sending an invoice, or emailing back and forth to establish the initial contract.
Depending on the nature of your services, these extra hours may be a significant amount of time. This is especially true if you have a large number of clients but only a small number of hours per client.
While this depends on the nature of your business and your clients, it’s generally a good idea to limit the number of customizations included with your standard package.
Why? Because you don’t want to spend months doing and redoing a project, redoing everything from scratch every week — all without getting paid!
One great way to establish reliable sources of income is to add recurring monthly costs for your clients. Instead of a one-and-done deal, have extra features that allow you to offer value on a weekly or monthly basis.
Break Down the Stages and Assign Time and Prices to Each
When negotiating a project with a client, it is helpful to create a timeline with different stages, milestones, expected completion dates, and prices. While these don’t necessarily need to line up exactly, they are no doubt important for giving your clients a good overview of what to expect.
For example, if you are creating a website and then providing maintenance and support afterward, some example stages might be:
- Discuss client goals (1 day, $300)
- Create mockups of website (2 days, $600)
- Review of mockups with client (0.5 day, $150)
- Create initial website version (4 days, $1,200)
- Review with client and make any changes (1-3 days, $300-$900)
- Finalize website, set up hosting, and launch (1 day, $300)
- Maintenance and support ($1,000 retainer 20 hours per month with $30 per hour after 20 hours)
Presenting a plan like this to a client is an excellent way to give them expectations and prices for each stage of the process.
Our final tip is to try using a pricing calculator. They ask about your skill level, location, experience, and other details, then give you information about typical rates for similar freelancers.
There are many different calculators available, but we recommend using this one by Bonsai. It lets you add your role (Developer or Designer), skills (Full Stack, Front-End, Back-End, DevOps, iOS, or Android), experience level, and location.
Once you input your data, you’ll see a bar chart that displays rates by freelancers. The hourly rates are displayed at the bottom. The higher the bar, the larger the number of freelancers.
So, for example, in the image above, the first rate ($20 per hour) has the most freelancers.
Unfortunately, the data is limited to certain English-speaking countries, but if you are in the US, England, Canada, or Australia, this Bonsai calculator is very useful.
In this post, we helped you figure out what price you should charge for your WordPress services. First, we covered the different kinds of WordPress services that you might want to offer. These include everything from creating plugins and themes, offering support, or creating products like eBooks.
Then, we discussed different strategies for selecting prices. There are many different approaches and choosing the right one depends on your experience level, type of service, and personal financial situation, among other factors.
Next, we covered some typical prices for different types of WordPress websites. These include the cost of creating a WordPress website, building a custom theme or plugin, and other similar types of products and services.
Finally, we covered some other useful tips and tricks to consider when pricing your services. Many aspects of the pricing process aren’t intuitive and only come after experiencing them yourself.
Do you offer WordPress services? What do you do and how did you arrive at a sustainable price? Share your secrets below in our comment section!
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