What Should a Squarespace Website Designer Charge For A New Site?

 What To Charge For A Squarespace Website

How Much Should A Squarespace Website Designer Charge?

I recently found an online conversation thread titled "Price to charge for setting up a basic Squarespace site + training?" while researching blog topics on the Squarespace help website. I feel I have to weigh in. Let me start by saying I have twelve plus years in web design at agencies and with my company, Means-of-Production, and I've taught business practices and marketing to designers and photographers at the University level during the prior twelve years. This topic of value and price seems to comes up often. This experience, not just the label Squarespace specialist, is why I consider myself a professional Squarespace website designer.

The question and the answers illustrate a common problem I see when a graphic designer, prices a website. Many of the respondents to the Squarespace Answer thread simply tossed out a price between $600 - $1,200. The answers were out of touch and less than helpful. The question was incomplete, and the pricing seemed to be pulled out of thin air. If someone were to ask what the cost of lunch is, wouldn't you ask for more information? "What do you feel like eating?" comes to mind. There is a big difference between a Sabrett's hot dog or Three Madison Park, and yet each solves the same basic problem, hunger. Knowing the expectations of a client and understanding your role as a consultant is part of being a professional. 

With this in mind, here is a list of things you should consider when providing pricing or evaluating the cost of a website.

The Value of Squarespace Website Designer

Graphic designers frequently undervalue what comes naturally to them; creating good design. Website design is a skill that designers should be compensated fairly for. The training and experience used to develop a skill set, and the timely execution of a professional website has value. Athletes, actors, and CEO's of corporations understand and leverage their value, but so do electricians, plumbers, interior designers, and architects. Even if your love of website design does not feel like work, you should charge a fair price based on the value you bring to the table. When someone asks you to lower your cost, ask yourself, what would LeBron James do?

Matching Your Effort To A Clients Budget

Clients without much of a budget are often more challenging than those who can afford your services. This is because the stakes are higher. If the stated $600 -$1,200 represents the bulk of their annual marketing budget, you can expect that every decision made will be questioned. Time devoted to the client services outside of the actual building of the website will go up exponentially. Answering client questions take time. It is billable time spent on the project.

On the other hand, if it's a small business with a substantial marketing budget, a staff of more than two, and they only want to spend $600- $1,200 on your services, then they may not value what you do. In a case like this, attempt to describe what goes into building a professional website, and if the response is still negative, walk away. A recent discussion with a prospect went something like this. I invested a couple hours conducting a current website analysis, explaining my forms process, and providing a requested proposal. When I called to inquire if the proposal was acceptable I was told, "Why would I spend $4200 for something I can build on Wix in a day"? The question illustrated a mistake on my part. I was trying to force a contract when no amount of information would convince the prospect of the value of using a professional. A valuable lesson was learned. If you can't build trust, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Billing for the Time Invested

Many Squarespace website designers tend to see the time spent on customer service as unbillable. Based on time tracking and ten years experience, I expect a minimum of six hours of required conversation with my clients on each job (Phone, Skype, Email). There goes your $600 budget, and the first text block has yet to be added to the website. Always remember, life is brief and all time has value. Giving it away to someone who may not understand your talents is absurd. Once again, I always try to explain the process, the complexities involved and show value. Interior designers often fall into a similar trap. There are times when prospective clients seeking the services of a Squarespace website designer don't understand what is involved. Beyond creativity and a unique vision, time is spent sourcing images, installing code, and explaining the value of the proper combination of color, form, line, texture, and implementation.

A Website is Much More Than Graphic Design Online

What about getting found online and using the site as a lead source? Search engine optimization is not just adding a few keywords here and there. Branding is not just choosing colors. Editing or writing content, keyword research, writing page titles, headers and subheaders, proper image names, and captions, 301 redirects, internal page links... I could go on and on here, but you see the point. As a professional Squarespace website designer, I try to provide a site that works towards a goal. Any effort unrelated to graphic design will often add up to 30-40% of the time spent working on a website. If you think the client can accomplish those above, they are either very brand aware and web savvy or they (or you) don't care about whether it "works" or not. Which leads me to the next issue.... The big question.

What is the website for? 

As a professional Squarespace website designer, I build websites for architects, interior designers, landscape designers, and builders. The following statements are red flags during an initial conference call;

  • Conveying brand within the written content has limited value

  • SEO or blogging is easy and rarely means being be found online

  • Capturing leads through calls to actions, landing pages is too much trouble

  • Email marketing is just for showing recent project completions and internal news

  • Ultimately, just wants a "Simple" design that's more like an online contact page

If these statements are made without flexibility, I suggest the prospect build themselves a free page on Houzz, Yelp or GoDaddy. (Though, Houzz is much more complex than most business owners realize). Once again, if none of these best practices are seen as necessary items required by the owner or representative of a business, go back to making certain the client even knows why they need a website.

My advice, when deciding what to charge for a website, is to think through what the prospective client's customer needs versus what the client wants. Be the expert and show them how the web works when marketing businesses. Guide them through the process and get paid accordingly.

Lastly, if your wondering, my minimum is $4995 with image editing and copywriting. I'm a professional Squarespace website designer. I understand my value. I know that a whole lot more goes into a website than just design. And I build websites that are designed to grow businesses not just look good.

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About Michael Conway

I'm the owner of Means-of-Production, a marketing firm that builds Squarespace websites. I design sites that help you get found online, attract better prospects, and capture leads. If you need help with a Squarespace site that you're working on click here to view my calendar and schedule a call. I am a Squarespace Specialist and Authorized Trainer. Together we can improve your site so that it grows your business.