Why web design prices vary

Why do prices vary so much when it comes to web design?

A common question I am asked at the workshops I’ve been hosting recently is “Why do prices vary so much for websites?”

It’s an extremely good question – prices can vary from $1000 right up to $100k+. One key aspect (aside from some places not including everything) is the type of business you approach for your quote, all have their pros & cons.

There are a couple of core types:

$ The part time freelancer

These guys are going to be one of your cheaper options. The most common cause for concern is the fact that they are working full time jobs so it’s near impossible to get a hold of them during business hours. This option is great for people who really don’t have a solid deadline and are happy to wait to get the budget pricing.

$ The offshore company

This one is really a no brainer, lower living costs = lower wages. To get positive results you will require more experience managing these types of companies (think micro managing), really knowing what you want, knowing the terminology and also having an understanding of cultural/language barriers.

$ Design only

A lot of designers don’t do code, so make sure when you’re engaging a web designer that they are also developing it for you (or have given you recommendations of reputable developers).

$$ Full time freelancer

Lower cost than a small agency, but a limited resource, which can result in longer waiting periods. Great for people who have a set budget, who want to work collaboratively and don’t need a website in a week.

$$$ The small web agency

Generally the small agency will have a small team that covers an array of skill sets. They will be higher priced, but you certainly get value for money as their turn around will be quicker with a small team.

$$$$ The creative agency

Roll out the red carpet you’re in for a ride. A creative agency will really push the boundaries of your brand but you will need to compensate them for their creative prowess. If you’ve got the budget to burn and wanting a creative solution then a creative agency will be what you want (on a side note, most creative agencies outsource to the full time freelancer anyway).


A lot of people view websites as a product, however when it comes to custom web design, it is really a service based approach. I hope that clears things up for you and you can see how prices can vary greatly.