Are you considering starting a successful web design company? Here’s everything you need to know about how to start a web design business.
How to Start a Web Design Business
It’s not easy to decide to establish a web design company. Working for oneself necessitates a certain amount of diligence, determination, and drive. Along the way, you’ll have to make some difficult decisions that will affect the success and growth of your business.
But how can you get started in the web design industry? What are the first things you should do? Is owning a web design company your calling? Do you have any idea how to expand it? This guide will detail everything you need to know about starting a web design firm. Let’s get started.
Starting Your Own Web Design Business
Before quitting your day job and starting your own web design business, you should think about these questions. Then, to get started, follow these steps.
Planning – The First Step
Start by asking yourself questions such as:
How much will you initially invest in advertising, marketing, and branding to attract clients? What is your company’s niche or focus going to be? How many web designers are you going to recruit? Where will the new company’s location be, and how much space will it require? Will you hire administrative staff, or will designers and developers need to multitask in the beginning stages?
You’ll need to dedicate time and resources to get your web design business up and running, so map out precise schedules, budgets, and plans. Also, be sure to research current web design trends to feel for your future clients’ requests.
If you have a mentor, reach out to them. Talking with someone who has experience starting their own business is a great way to gain valuable insights into the entrepreneurial journey.
Choose a Niche
The next important thing that we touch on in the last few sentences is who will be your customers or how it’s popularly called your niche. You must’ve heard it a million times, but that does not make it less accurate. Choosing the right niche can be a difference between your business succeeding and not.
Consider offering services that generate automatic recurring revenue, such as website maintenance and hosting. These services aren’t as hands-on as creating a new website, but they pay off well. For instance, hardware manufacturers make recurring income by offering annual maintenance contracts.
Most yearly maintenance contracts are billed with no work done as the hardware components are good to run for years.
Choose Which Design Service that you will Provide
Thinking that you have already chosen a niche, it’s good to look at your competitors to see what offers they are having?
Are they offering to build websites for a flat fee, or do they offer custom solutions? How about brother web solutions like website maintenance, hosting, consulting, or website management?
Study the competition and adjust your offerings based on what they offer. Sure it’s a good idea to consider adding additional value to other services but not if you cannot do it perfectly.
Usually, web design businesses offer more design services such as logo creation, marketing creatives, and photography since it is closely related to the “design” in web design. On the other hand, other “web” solutions mentioned above can be handy but taken with moderation since they might require more investment in equipment and skills that you might not be able to afford at the start.
So please take all of that into account and cross it with your skills. The things you are good at and enjoy doing should be the primary focus and your business point. In this way, you will ensure you provide the best results and still have fun!
After you do all the thinking and decide which direction your web design business will go, the fun starts!
First things first, it’s the most demanding customer, you! Therefore, your website will need to be close to perfect. Of course, we are not saying to build it for years, but you should dedicate time and effort to making it look the best. It will be the face of your business and the first thing potential customers see when they come across your business, so you should make it look the best you can to reflect the work you can do.
Look at Your Previous Experience
Were there any industries you enjoyed working in, or some you found highly rewarding? Ideally, it will be something that you are passionate about and have the ability to succeed in. If either is lacking, it will be hard to stay committed.
You might also want to narrow down your niche by location. It’s an excellent way to start local. Just take a walk down your city checking out various businesses and writing down names to find their websites. Google maps is also an excellent way to find new leads in your local community. It’s simple, find businesses, check their online presence and see if you can make something better.
Once you settle on a niche, make sure you do some research and be sure that:
- There are opportunities for you within this targeted niche and, more importantly,
- They can afford to pay for this kind of service.
Remember the dentist’s story? Well, they might not even see the need for a website. Go from yourself, have you, in fact, ever visited a dentist’s website? After that, look at your web design skills.
What are the strongest ones? Are you more of a designer, coder, or something in between? If you plan on being a one-person show, you will need to get a good hold of every aspect of web design and the business side, sales, and marketing. Then, of course, you can get help and delegate some things to your potential employees or use tools to help you.
Establish your business operations
Next up is staffing. When you first launch your business, you might be working solo. But if and when you have the budget, you’ll want to reach out to your network and bring trusted designers and developers to your team. You might also consider adding administrative and marketing professionals to your team as you grow.
You may also consider outsourcing mundane tasks you don’t want to pay attention to, such as taxes and finances. And if you have employees, you’ll need to hire a person or service to handle benefits and time off for employees.
Determine the Price for Your Web Design Services
The tricky part comes: Determining how much clients should pay for your services. You’ll have three options for getting paid when considering how to establish a web design business:
Charge an hourly rate
You establish a price for each hour you invest into the project using this way. Then, when the project is completed, you request payment for the total number of hours you worked on it. Upwork’s typical hourly freelance fee is between $15 and $75.
Many customers anticipate this type of payment. It’s straightforward to figure out. Because you don’t know how long the assignment will take, this is an appealing possibility for freelancers like yourself.
Charge per project
You set the pricing based on the project you’ll be working on. The rate is fixed and is determined by the difficulty of the job and your prior design experience. According to Ripe Media, the charge ranges from $500 to far over $50,000 for each project.
You may concentrate more on creating the best product possible. Clients that opt for this strategy understand that they are paying for the result rather than the work. As a result, you’ll be able to charge more.
Charge per day
You charge based on the number of workdays with your client when using this strategy. According to ExpertMarket, regular fees range from $90 to $900. Your level of experience determines the rate. The greater your price, the more experience you have.
This is ideal if the client wants you to go to their location to monitor and tell you what to do.
Work on Retaining the Customers and Building Strong Relationships
Having a solid foundation built, they will consider you as an extension of their workforce, looking to you for advice and guidance for many years to come. In addition, your web design business will generate revenue through each website designed and service provided.
Common practice is that the customer pays you a part of the agreed sum in advance and the rest once the job is finished. You can shape the offer according to the customers, but this is the best practice. You can use the money you get beforehand to improve the project if needed.
Equipment & Tools
But you can’t start from thin air. You will still need some equipment and tools to help you run your business and some obligatory costs for starting a business.
However, starting a web design business has low barriers to entry, and you don’t need much equipment to get started.
Here’s a list of basics you’ll need:
- Marketing materials – website, brochures, and business cards
- Bookkeeping service
- Fees for opening a company (highly dependent on your country)
Hopefully, you will already have a computer/monitor/software tools ready. It will help if you focus on developing a site that will show your portfolio and be the face of your business. Brochures and business cards are outdated but don’t underestimate their importance. Imagine going to a company with no online presence and trying to sell them the creation of a website.
What good is your website when they don’t use the internet?
After that is done, it’s time for the hard part—the actual bureaucracy of starting your own company.
Depending on where you live, this will probably be a pain. If you do not like bureaucracy, filling in the paperwork, and standing in lines, prepare for hell. It depends highly on where you live and what kind of business you are starting, but it is usually not that great since you will lose a lot of time and get that hateful reply that you are missing one paper for this or that.
So our best advice here is to invest in a good accounting firm. There are a lot of them out there, also highly dependent on your location, but it’s best to search for recommendations from friends/ colleagues in a similar field as you are. They will already have experience working with web design businesses and will significantly help you out along the way.
With starting the process of making your business a legal entity, the first thing that will come is the actual name of your business. It can be almost anything you want, that’s the nice part, but chances are all the good ones are taken, so make sure to have a few options you are willing to go with. Use wordplay, make it catchy and easy to remember, and find branding easier.
Don’t worry about it if you are not that creative with the name. Go for something you can connect with. Check if the name is taken on socials, and if there are already websites with the exact name, you can also use your local government website to see if there are companies registered with the same or similar name.
That’s almost it. You should be at the finishing line if you have followed the steps. Once you decide on what kind of web service you will provide, determine the right niche for you, choose a name and a brand for your web design service, make the actual website, and start opening a legal entity and a bank account, the fun begins. Now it’s time to get to work.
Congratulations, you took a huge step, and you will now be your boss! You have your thing now, no higher-ups you will have to answer, so any idea you have in which direction you want to take the business will have to come from you.
Explore, try new things, and remember to have fun! You will create some fantastic websites, explore the internet for ideas, try your pitch with your friends, and remember that you will need to be persistent! The market is vast, but the competition is fierce. Nevertheless, you will land some clients with a friendly approach and a down-to-earth mindset. So stay open-minded, learn, read, code, and sell your services whenever you get a chance, and you will succeed!
We hope that this article has given you some tips on how to start a web design business.
Clio Websites is a full-service website design and marketing company in Calgary. We have loads of experience with responsive website design, website maintenance, WordPress development and support, and SEO. Clio offers free consultations and free website evaluations and we receive glowing reviews from our clients. We also offer web hosting Calgary services and would love to help you keep your site secure, efficient, and running smoothly.
We know what it takes to start a web design business because we have been in business since 2006. Even though it’s not easy, and not everyone can do it, it can be a very rewarding experience.
Clio is always available and happy to answer any questions so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need help.