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    Categories Rants & RavesWeb Site Design

Pricing for Law Firm Websites

Law Firm Web Design Costs and Pricing

“How much does it cost for a law firm website?” Good question. I’ve got the answer.

One of the most common questions I am asked is, “how much does it cost for a website?” I am asked this question at least three or four times weekly. The requests range from responding to formal RFP’s, email inquiries, some odd phone calls when people ask, “what does it cost to put a page on the internets?”  Yes, I was asked “internets,” plural [insert sad head shake]. We even have various competitors call and try to get our information.

I am going to detail my answer by going over various pricing models and then our pricing model. However, before we delve into the various pricing models, we must first separate the pricing models. There is a big difference  in cost associated with “ready-to-go” websites and custom design websites.

“Ready-to-Go” Design Pricing

Ready-to-go designs, or templates, are pre-existing websites. You can find these templates pre-installed with various design programs and web hosts. There are also design companies who have already created a standard design and sell it for a reduced rate. Template designs are a good choice if you have a limited budget. Typically you can pick up a template design ranging from free to several thousand dollars. You can then get the template modified by a web designer for some additional costs. All in all, the cost of a template design rarely exceeds $1,500 for a brochure style site. It’s a pretty good start for a new company on a budget.

PaperStreet has a line of these “template” layouts. They were designed to help lawyers that are starting a new practice in the midst of a recession. Learn more about our Essential Web Designs.

Custom Design Pricing

If you want a unique image – something completely different and tailored to your firm – you need to go custom. Custom designs take time, because well … they are custom. Custom web designers pricing models range from flat,  hourly and per page rate. Note that every design company also has additional expenses such as hosting, content, optimization, pay per click, photography, content management, database and design fees. However, this article mainly deals with web design fees.

  • Flat Rate (Project Rate) – Flat rate projects are pretty straight forward. Designers will quote out $3,000, $5,000, or $30,000 to create a website. Typically design firms base their rates on their costs plus the profit they want to make. So, if their cost is $2,000 to create the site, they may charge $3,000 to sell you a design. The key here is that the web designer must know how long the site will take to design, what their actual costs are, and factor in enough time for any uncertainties. The biggest pros of this style of budgeting is everyone knows how much the site is going to cost. The biggest con: design changes can create havoc.
  • Hourly Rate – The hourly rate model is essentially “pay as you go.” A lot of freelancers use this model for projects. They quote out an estimate of 60 to 70 hours to produce a website and then state that their hourly rate is $50 per hour. Now you have a budget of $3,000 to $3,500 for the website. The pro of this model is that the designer gets paid for their actual time. The con is that the designer gets paid for their time. Yes, it cuts both ways. It is a fair pricing model if the designer is quick and good. However, billing is always tricky under this model and people’s expectations of time can cause issues.
  • Page Rate – Page rate is simply charging a fee for every page created. In this pricing model, each page is assigned a cost, such as $100, $150, or $200 per page. Depending on how many pages your site needs, you can calculate your budget. So, if your site is 10-pages and each page costs $150, then your budget would be $1,500. If you have a 50-page site, then your cost would be $7,500. The pro of this model is that theoretically everyone knows how much the site will cost. The con is that there will be arguments over pages and what constitutes a page. Also, large sites may end up costing more and on small sites designers may end up doing more work than the project generates.

How We Price Projects at PaperStreet

At PaperStreet we use the flat rate for most of our projects. We base that flat rate on our hourly rate times the estimated number of hours for the project. “Wow, this is it?” Yup, this is the entire formula. It’s not really rocket science and the formula has worked for several years now. We use this model because it simplifies our billing process and creates fewer hassles.

We do not charge by the hour because it always makes clients uncomfortable. Somehow lawyers are still able to get away with charging by the hour, but they are just about the only professions, except for some illicit professions, that still do this. If you are a professional designer or a professional in any industry, you should be able to provide an exact estimate on how long it will take you to do a project. If you provide an hourly estimate on the design that includes specific deliverables, then in essence you are charging by a flat rate. However, a lot of freelancers and even web companies still charge by the hour. We find that the flat rate model appeals to more clients as they know exactly what they are paying for our designs.

We don’t charge by the page because it creates a variety of logistical and billing issues. One issue, “what is a page?”  Is it a Microsoft Word page?  An HTML page? A pop-up page? A confirmation page? It just becomes a mess explaining to the client that two sentences on this extra .html page just cost them $150. We prefer simple over the complex. Another issue is that we have never had a site launch based on the original page count. Web designs are always in flux, so the pricing could change and you end up with billing disputes. Finally, if you are offering a package of 5 pages or 10 pages, sometimes clients are forced into cramming content onto one page, when it really belongs on its own separate category.

So, What Are Our Prices?

As of 2015, we have four tiers of web design. It is our opinion that these four tiers help every lawyer get a new website, from a solo practitioner just starting their business, to a renowned law firm with 300+ attorneys, we have a package to suit the needs (and budget) of every kind of legal professional.

Essentials
$3,000 (ish)

Our Essentials designs are pre-designed “templates” that can be modified to fit your needs and start at $3,000 for a total first-year cost.

Plus Designs
$9,500 (ish)

The Plus level allows clients to focus on the home page design. Our designers will create a custom home page but instead of designing custom subpages you choose from our gallery of best practice layouts. Our Plus packages start at $9,500

Custom
$18,000 (ish)

A custom PaperStreet web design includes a custom design of the home page and all key interior pages. We have custom design packages starting at $18,000.

Enterprise
$40,000 (ish)

Do you have a lot of attorneys, practice areas and office locations? Enterprise projects have advanced functionality and are ideal for large firms. We start projects in this level at $40,000.

Flexible Solutions for Your Firm

We pride our business of providing flexible solutions and we are more than happy to work with your firm to create a budget and deliverables list that is agreeable to all parties. If you want to talk about custom solutions to your internet marketing needs, get in touch with us and check out the links below.

Peter Boyd :