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How Much Should a UK Web Designer Charge?

A guide to comparing the costs and services of UK web design setups.

Larger web design agency

Intro

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, a small business owner, or a large organisation ready to improve your online presence, you’ve probably wondered just how much you should be budgeting for web design services.

When it comes to web designer prices, it’s not always clear what you’re actually getting for your investment. With a wide range of varying prices and services available, it can feel like comparing apples with oranges – so how do you know where to start?

In this article, we’ll aim to shed some light on this topic, helping you understand the various options available and what you might expect to pay for each. We’ll explore the three main types of web design services – freelancers, remote small teams, and fixed location agencies, exploring their pricing structures and highlighting the unique benefits each can offer. By the end, you’ll be able to confidently compare web design costs and find the solution that best fits your needs and budget.

Author

About the author: Andrew Newby

I’m Andrew Newby, the Owner and Design Lead at Edge Studio. I began my career working in busy Sheffield agencies, honing my skills in creating attractive and user-friendly websites. During this time, I managed various projects and their budgets and learned the intricacies of how projects are priced and how this affects the clients.

Driven by a passion to make a more substantial difference to my clients, I transitioned into freelancing which allowed me the freedom to take on diverse projects. It was as a freelancer that I truly began to understand the value of direct communication in delivering exceptional results
Fast-forward to today and I’m now at the helm of a small, talented team of specialists here at Edge Studio. Together, we’ve created a collaborative space that combines the best of both worlds – the personalised touch of freelancing and the broad skill set of an agency.
Having worked at both ends of the spectrum, I’m all too aware that the price of website design can differ greatly. So, whether you’re a budding startup, a growing business, or an established entity, I’m here to shed light on how much you should expect to pay for top-notch web design services in the UK, and why choosing a small team might be the perfect middle ground for your business.

Article author, Web designer Andrew Newby

Your Options

Exploring your options: Navigating the web design landscape

Starting the journey of building a new website or giving an old one a facelift comes with a sea of options. Grasping the basic differences between freelancers, remote small teams, and fixed location agencies is key to making a smart choice that fits your needs and budget.
Each of the three options has its own unique set of advantages and may be the right fit for your project, depending on your list of priorities.

1. Freelancers
Freelancers are independent individuals offering their design skills directly to clients, whether direct or through websites like Fiverr. They are often a fitting choice for smaller projects or when operating on a tight budget. The personal touch is a significant advantage here, as you’ll likely be communicating directly with the designer working on your project.
However, while some freelancers may offer a broad skill set, they might not have the same range of expertise as a larger team. Prices among freelancers can vary significantly, influenced by factors such as their level of experience, reputation, and your project’s specific requirements.

2. Remote Small Teams
Remote small teams are a sweet spot for many businesses seeking a balanced solution. These teams are comprised of a select group of specialists collaborating together, often from different locations, to provide a comprehensive range of services. Often, the teams are created organically as networks of similarly skilled freelancers begin referring work to each other. There are also digital agency networks for those who want to fast-track the process.
This setup combines the personal interaction and direct communication you would find with freelancers alongside a broader skill set akin to what agencies offer. The crucial advantage here is that small teams can provide these services at a more competitive price point, making them a cost-effective solution for a wide array of projects. With a small team, you’re not paying for the substantial overheads associated with a fixed location agency, yet you’re gaining access to a diverse set of skills and services.

Edge Studio design team

3. Fixed Location Agencies
At the higher end of the scale, fixed location agencies offer a robust array of services backed by a team of in-house specialists. Operating from a fixed location, these agencies are well-equipped to handle everything from simple websites to intricate web applications. The comprehensiveness of their service comes at a price, reflecting the significant overheads of maintaining a physical office and a larger team. For large-scale projects with substantial budgets, an agency might be the appropriate choice, but for many businesses, this option may feel out of reach due to the associated costs.

Website Cost

How much do web designers charge in the UK?

When it comes to hiring a web designer of any type, there can also be different cost structures at play. You might be charged per hour, or you could pay a flat rate for the entire project. What’s important to note is that these rates can vary significantly depending on whether you’re working with a freelancer, a small team, or an established agency.

Of course, these discrepancies aren’t arbitrary – the larger the organisation, the higher the running costs. While freelancers typically have very low overheads, making them a more budget-friendly option, big agencies are at the other end of the spectrum. They often maintain an inner-city office and have a range of organisational costs to cover, including salaries for HR staff, office managers, and other administrative roles, all of which can contribute to higher rates for their services.

So, when it comes to website design costs, does more expensive mean a better result? Not always.

Let’s dive into a detailed comparison to help you make an informed decision.

How much should a web designer charge per hour?

Hourly Rate Pricing

Some web designers charge by the hour for their services instead of giving a fixed project rate. This approach helps to avoid “scope creep”, where a project exceeds the agreed budget, leaving the designer out of pocket.

When given an hourly quote, it’s crucial to ask for an estimated timeframe to complete the project. Remember, a seemingly lower hourly rate can end up costing more if the designer works at a slower pace. Therefore, it’s essential to weigh both the hourly rate and the expected duration when comparing quotes to ensure you’re making a well-informed decision and getting the best value for your investment.

Freelancer
Expect to pay anywhere from £20 to £30 per hour. Freelancers are often more affordable because they have fewer overhead costs. However, keep in mind that while they might be cheaper, they might also be juggling multiple projects, which could affect your project’s turnaround time.

Small Team
A small team typically charges an hourly rate between £30 and £50 per hour. While this is a step up from freelancer rates, you also get a broader skill set and a more personalised service. You have a team of specialists at your disposal, ensuring that every aspect of your project is handled with expertise.

Agency
Agencies are at the higher end of the spectrum, with rates ranging from £50 to £80 per hour. With an agency, you’re paying for a well-established name, a larger team, and possibly a fancier office space. While they can handle big projects and offer a wide range of services, this might not always translate to better quality than a smaller team could provide.

How much does a 5-page website cost in the UK?

Project-Based Pricing
Fixed-cost or project-based pricing is another web designer pricing model where a set price is given, irrespective of the time it takes to complete. This model offers clients a clear understanding of their financial commitment from the start, making budgeting more straightforward.

While this pricing model offers a lot of certainties, it also requires a comprehensive initial assessment and clear communication between the client and the service provider. Any changes or additions to the project scope after the commencement might result in additional costs, making it imperative to have everything laid out clearly from the start.

Freelancer
For a basic 5-page brochure site, the web design cost will usually be between £1,000 and £3,000 when working with a freelancer. The website produced will usually be design-only and not include copywriting or SEO (highly recommended services for a well-ranked website).

Small Team
For the same project, a small team generally charges between £3,000 and £6,000. Importantly, this increase in price accounts for a wider range of services being provided. Not only will you get a beautifully designed website, but it will also perform well in terms of user experience and SEO.

Agency
An agency might quote you anywhere from £6,000 to £12,000 for a 5-page brochure site. This is a significant investment, and while agencies can undoubtedly deliver high-quality work, it’s important to assess whether the extra cost aligns with your project’s needs and overall budget.

Small team arrangements, like Edge Studio, offer a cost-effective solution, providing a comprehensive range of services without the high costs associated with larger agencies. With an agile and efficient team, you can expect reliable services at a sensible price. Compared to larger agencies, the lean operations of a small team minimise costs while maximising results, making it a good option for businesses of all sizes seeking quality web design services.
That being said, it’s important to look at all options to make an informed decision. We highly recommend reaching out to multiple providers to gather quotes. Comparing web design costs from freelancers, small teams, and agencies gives you a comprehensive view of the market, helping you understand the best fit for your needs and budget. By doing so, you can find the right team with the necessary skills to bring your vision to life.

Case Study

How do you price website design?

To help get a more specific understanding of the price differences for each service, we setup a web design brief and along with our quote we asked a local freelancer and design agency to quote for the project. Having spent the last 10 years networking with web designers in Sheffield, I’ve built some good relationships with other local businesses. I explained this article to them and asked if they’d be happy to provide a quote for comparison. It’s important to mention that all three of us (freelancer, team and agency) don’t feel we have anything to hide. All of us quote based on the service offered so we don’t mind sharing our pricing.

Project Brief
5 page business brochure site:

  • Homepage
  • About
  • Services
  • Contact
  • Privacy

In this fictitious example I stated the following points that are typical for many small business websites:

  • They don’t have a logo/brand.
  • The client has a domain but doesn’t know how to connect it.
  • They don’t have any content.
  • The purpose of the site is to promote the services of the business so visibility on search engines is critical.
  • They’re happy to share some design example for guidance but essentially all design and branding is from scratch.

Although this is a very sparse brief it actually represents the situation a lot of clients come to us in. All three web design businesses agreed with this.
We’re now going to look into the pricing and services offered from each design company to compare them.

Freelancer
“This is a very straightforward brief, probably typical of about 50% of the work I receive. These projects are generally quite straight forward, my favorite type of client.”

Quote: £1,500
Estimated completion time: not provided

A summary of the proposal:
The website would be built on WordPress, this is the only option. The freelancer doesn’t normally get involved with branding but is happy to share some ideas. They weren’t able to offer any search engine optimisation (SEO) but could refer them to another freelancer. They weren’t able to write any content, this would need to be supplied before any design work started. Only key pages would be designed, the rest would just follow the same format.

Small Team
“A lot of initial emails we receive are very similar. Clients often don’t realise there needs to be some sort of strategy to the site in order for it to get visitors so it can service its purpose. If we blindly basis the content on the clients requests without considering marketing we set the project up for failure. The problem is clients don’t often consider this. Our job is to guide them, show them opportunities and create a plan to present the company in a creditable way while ensuring the maximum number of people can find the site. Part of this service is providing the best branding that is specifically targeted and portrays trust. For this project we’ll involve a branding specialist, a UI design specialist, a copywriter and a developer. We will optimise the site in every way possible to make sure it adheres to search engine best practices.”

Quote: £5,000
Estimated completion time: 5-6 weeks

A summary of the proposal:
The proposal stated a preference for the site to be built on WordPress but if the client had a preference then this could be changed. The project strategy would take around 2-3 days to complete, this would then be discussed with the client. All website content and structure would be based around the newly defined setup. One the content has been created the design mock-up will follow. Every key page will be designed, there isn’t a set number of concepts or revisions. The development will be bespoke to match the design in every way.

Agency
“This brief represents our least favorite type of web design project. These projects are often time consuming and don’t have big enough margins to make them worth while. We often spend time setting up and writing proposals and more often than not the client goes with a cheaper option and doesn’t see the value in a higher quote. We can offer a full service and the client can come to us for meetings at any point. The project will be lead by a project manager.”

Quote: £9,000
Estimated completion time: 4-5 weeks

A summary of the proposal:
The proposal from the agency wasn’t particularly detailed, you might have thought the opposite. They offered all the services required but these didn’t seem like they were offered as a cohesive strategy or plan. The proposal seemed like the agency wasn’t particularly invested in the client. The option to have a regular meeting location would I’m sure appeal to most clients. The proposal emphasised communication and use of an online system to monitor progress.

Small Team Benefits

Benefits of small team setups

Having provided web design services both as freelancers and through large agencies, our team is fairly well-placed to wax lyrical about the benefits of a small team setup. Small teams, like Edge Studio, bring a unique set of advantages to the table that can make a world of difference for your project, and not just from a cost perspective.

Here are a few reasons a small team could make a big difference to your next project.

1. More Personal Attention and Support
One of the hallmarks of a small team setup is the level of personal attention and support that we can provide. When you choose to work with us, you’re not just another client on a conveyor belt; you’re a valued partner. You get direct access to our experts, ensuring your vision and needs are clearly understood and addressed.

Would you prefer to speak directly to one point of contact throughout the process? We do that, too. Rebecca, our dedicated Project Manager, is always on hand to facilitate communication, ensuring that your project stays on track and your experience is seamless. This blend of direct expert interaction and professional project management results in a service tailored to you, providing the support you need every step of the way.

2. Greater Flexibility and Customisation
Small teams are agile, and agility breeds innovation. While all small teams will consist of different individual skill sets, at Edge Studio, our range of professional experience allows us to tackle a wide variety of projects. Whether you need a straightforward website or a complex platform designed specifically for your needs, we have the know-how to make it happen.
With a small team, your project isn’t restricted by the limitations of a single individual. So, whether it’s development tools, bespoke graphics or engaging copy, we can provide you with a bespoke solution that makes your website shine.

3. Better Communication and Collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration are the foundations of any successful project. In a small team setup, these aren’t just buzzwords – they’re essential to everything. Working remotely, small teams become experts at liaising on projects, and this expertise translates into how they deal with clients, too.

Forget finger-pointing; with open communication channels comes ownership and accountability. You’ll be able to speak directly to the people working on your project while also having a project manager keeping an eye on things. This approach ensures everyone works as effectively and efficiently as possible to execute your vision.

4. Ability to Scale Up or Down as Needed
Every project is unique, and our small team setup excels in providing the flexibility necessary to meet a variety of needs. Whether your project’s complexity increases or you choose to start modestly and expand later on, we can adapt quickly, ensuring inflexible service agreements don’t tie you down. This adaptability enables you to tailor the project scope to your evolving needs seamlessly.

Additionally, with specialists in graphic design, development, and content writing, we are well-equipped to assist with all aspects of your digital marketing, offering a comprehensive service that grows and evolves with your business.

Opting for a small team setup is about more than just getting a great website; it’s about building a partnership. At Edge Studio, we pride ourselves on offering a service as flexible and unique as our clients. We’re not just web designers; we’re problem solvers, innovators, and collaborators ready to bring your vision to life. With personal attention, custom solutions, effective communication, and unparalleled adaptability, a small team setup is a smart move for any business looking to make a mark online.

Explore examples of our web design projects from a range of our project case studies.web design projects.

An Investment

The investment perspective: Understanding the long-term value of your website

Investing in a new website or revamping an existing one undoubtedly involves a substantial financial commitment. However, it’s crucial to shift the perspective from seeing this as a mere cost to viewing it as a strategic investment in your business’s future. A website is a powerful marketing asset, a digital storefront that represents your brand to the world 24/7.

When assessing the cost of a web designer, it’s important to remember that this is not a short-term expense. A well-designed and properly maintained site should remain effective and relevant for at least three years, making it a long-term investment in your business’s growth and visibility.

The True Cost Of Web Design

important than ever. Whatever your industry, your site is a hub for showcasing your products or services, connecting with customers, and establishing credibility in your industry. With that in mind, when looking at the upfront price of web design, you should consider its role in contributing to your long-term success and business goals.

To fully appreciate the cost-to-benefit ratio a website brings to your business, it can be helpful to break the investment down over its expected lifespan. By spreading the initial investment across 36 months, you gain a clearer picture of the monthly cost of owning a high-quality website. This approach allows you to weigh the investment against the potential returns in terms of increased visibility, customer engagement, and revenue generation.

Web design cost / 36 = monthly investment

For example, an investment of £6,000 in a website may seem like a significant outlay at first. However, when you consider this cost over a three-year period, it breaks down to £166 per month. In the grand scheme of your overall marketing budget and the potential returns that stem from a well-designed site, this monthly figure becomes a much more manageable and justifiable expense.

Remember, web design costs aren’t just an expense; they’re an investment in the future of your business. By considering the cost of a website over its useful life, decision-makers can make more informed choices, ensuring that they are investing in a digital asset that will serve their business well for years to come.

Learn more on this topic – How Can Website Design Increase Sales?

Summary

The Decision is Bigger Than Just Web Design Costs

Navigating the intricate world of web design can be a daunting task, but understanding the different options available to you is crucial in making an informed decision. Throughout this article, we’ve explored the various types of web design pricing and the unique benefits that different setups bring to the table. From freelancers and small teams to full-fledged agencies, each has its place in the web design ecosystem.

Freelancers offer affordability and direct contact but may be limited in skill set. Agencies provide a broad range of services but often have a higher price tag due to their significant overheads. Small teams, however, strike a balance, combining the best of both worlds. They offer the versatility and direct communication of freelancers alongside the comprehensive service range and project management of larger agencies, all while maintaining a competitive pricing structure.

It’s clear that you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting a web designer. However, the decision doesn’t have to be complicated. A small team setup, with its blend of personal attention, customisation, and effective communication, stands out as the balanced choice for most businesses.

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Whether you’re a start-up, a small business, or a large organisation, our team is ready to bring your vision to life. Don’t settle for less; choose a team dedicated to your success.

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