I am a student who wants to start a small web design business with a few of my friends. Our clients will be local small businesses (e.g. family-run businesses). We're not expecting them to request anything fancy, probably just a basic HTML website so that their business can be found online. I am capable of creating more advanced website, like my current project: http://omnifeed.com/ How much should we charge per website? We're thinking about around $200-$400USD (including hosting, logo, and basic SEO). Is that an appropriate amount? How much do professionals usually get paid?
I think an exact range could not be cited. It depends pretty much on your business model and how you would like to profit. Basically you could profit from high quality and respectively high budgets (low number of customers but high customer satisfaction). The other model is what you've chosen so far - volume. You'd like to get a lot of clients with small sites and charge them fixed prices for template sites. Then you have to do the following:
I hope that's what you meant to ask. In the end of the day all that is important for you is:
I hope these questions will give you the right direction.
Be careful not to price yourself too low. The majority of the competition is at the low-end and it is a very hard place to be. In my opinion, the above prices are too low, but I am also not intimately familiar with your geographic area.
When I first started my business, we tried to compete on the low-end. The reason, that's where I thought everyone started. After struggling on the low-end, an experienced businessman and adviser told me, "Raise your prices, then you aren't competing with those guys anymore." It couldn't be that easy. Could it?
Yes, oftentimes it is. You also have to change who you market yourself to. There are lots of people out there who only shop on price. There are also those who shop on quality, and a super-low price is a deterrent to selling to those people. They see a low-price and assume low-quality.
Shoot for middle of the road on firms who have the capabilities that you do. If you are priced on the low-end, you are competing with 80% of the firms out there. Raise you prices above their mark, and your competition drops. You will also have profits and capital reserves in order to market, expand and invest in better technologies. You will also not wonder why you are working long hours for minimal pay.
If you're talking about a basic site, then your best bet is likely to use Wordpress or something very similar, as it allows the customer to manage the content, and leaves you to focus on the design and layout.
A Wordpress site, in my experience (Toronto, Canada), runs about $100-$500 for a basic installation and setup (loading initial content, installing a generic theme). A custom theme runs about $750 to $2000 depending on the details - which really translates into about how complicated the new design is and how much time it would take to build it (and get customer sign off on the design).