A quoting exercise....what is your minimum cost for a custom site?

over 3 years ago from

The cost of doing a custom site is always a sticking point when I'm dealing with entrepreneurs or new business owners. People not familiar with the process are always surprised just how much time and money is involved with getting a website up from zero to online so I thought I would throw it out to the community to see what other designers think.

I know that there are many options out there Wix, Squarespace, etc., these all have a place and have their pros and cons. I'm talking about old school:

  • talk to the client
  • develop your design in your tool of choice
  • get client approval
  • code the site up
  • launch

Standard brochure site, no fancy technical requirements, no CMS, just design and HTML - two languages (english/french or english/spanish):

  • homepage
  • about us
  • services
  • projects/clients
  • contact us

I count 3-4 templates there (unique design pages) depending on how you see the content. Yeah, there are always options that will greatly swing the cost up or down (animation, illustration, stock photos, fancy rotators, search functionality, etc... ). Let's keep things simple though. What do you think in terms of time? Forget your cost, because hourly rates will vary based on your location and experience. I want to know how long you think this project will take.

To get the ball rolling here's my take:

I'd say 3-4 days of design minimum (that'll include your preliminary design consult, the initial templates and a round or two of client feedback). As a senior designer my expectation is that you aren't fumbling around in the dark. You know what types questions to ask a client upfront so that you are 80%-90% there with your first pass of the design.

Design is now approved and coding starts. Let's assume that the coding is mostly straightforward. A responsive HTML/CSS solution is all that is required and you are aiming for evergreen browsers - no IE8 nightmares. So 2-3 days to program and test.

Add a day for adding content for that second language then half a day for final client changes and launching on the live server.

So all in all, I'm thinking between 8-10 days max (throw in some hours for project management, admin, etc - which is often overlooked as a cost).

So all in, a basic custom site is more or less two weeks. Agree or disagree? I think it would be helpful to have this discussion - something we can point prospective clients at when they start saying "what do you mean you need more than 3 days to build a site?".

1 comment

  • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, over 3 years ago

    So all in, a basic custom site is more or less two weeks. Agree or disagree?

    I think it depends on a number of factors:

    • Does the client has all the content you need to get started?
    • Are you're coding from scratch (and not using something like Initializr or Skeleton)?
    • How long does the client get back to you about changes?

    Back when I worked for an unnamed large telecommunications company, we were cranking out sites like this in a matter of hours. From scratch.

    I don't miss that time at all.

    0 points