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Tom said he was a university student and has been building websites for people lately. He says that he does it on his own time so it doesn't cost him anything, so he has no idea what to charge.

All of us have faced this problem before. It's a bit of an awkward situation. You are putting a price tag on yourself and it feels weird. Most of us are modest fellows (and gals) and tend to want to keep it cheap so we don't scare away the client. There is such a thing as "sticker shock" when clients look at an estimate for the first time and can easily walk away. So the trick is figuring out how badly you need the client and balancing it with how valuable you think you are. Eventually, you'll get to the point where you charge what you charge, take it or leave it, but most university students probably aren't quite there yet =)

Tom said it "doesn't cost him anything", and we all know what he means, but we should make very clear that is just not true. All that work you are doing costs you the most valuable thing you have: your time.

It is a little hard to talk hard numbers here since this will vary wildly from agency to agency, firm to firm, freelancer to freelancer. But let's just throw some out there just for fun. $75 / hour. That's a fair rate, I think, for a reasonably skillful freelance web designer.



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