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Average Price for Web Design – 2013

You may remember the article I posted back in 2010 entitled Average Price for Web Design – 2009 … well since then, we’ve had a recession and the price of living has gone up, so I decided it was high time for an updated report. Earlier this year I did a bit of price reconnaissance, and now it’s time to publish my findings.

Initial Result

This time around, my experiment was on a much grander scale; instead of contacting 100 web design companies, I contacted 457 web design companies, and under a pseudonym, I asked for a price for a standard 5 page website.

From those 457, I eliminated 7 companies that were just template-mongers trying to pass off as web designers, and 1 company that was from the UK trying to pass off as a South African firm. I eliminated a further 21, as I found they were just fronts for other web design companies that were already on my list.

I was then forced to eliminate 8 web design companies whose contact forms were broken, and didn’t list an email address.

A further 14 web design companies refused my business for various reasons, such as they were too busy or only worked with large established clients, etc. Good for them!

A whopping 172 web design companies just never bothered getting back to me – and that’s allowing for a month to pass since first contacting them.

I carefully looked through the websites and portfolios of the remaining 234 web design companies that did provide quotes, and divided them into 3 groups: Good Web Designers, Ok Web Designers, and Bad Web Designers.

The cost of a GOOD website

I received quotes from 67 good web designers. Their own websites and portfolios were testament to the quality of their web designs. The average price for a 5 page website came to R 10 100.47. I then decided to eliminate 5 web design companies from that list because they had clearly been smoking crack whilst quoting (figures between R30k and R300k). Remember, this quote is for a standard 5 page website without any specialised programming or flash. The elimination of these 5 web design companies brought the average price of a good 5 page website down to R 7 920.74.

The cost of an OK website

I received quotes from 97 Ok web designers. These were companies who could provide a product that wasn’t broken or flawed in any major way, but had no pizazz in the aesthetic department. Basically a bit of a yawn, but at least its workable. The average price of an Ok 5 page website worked out to R 6 126.35.

The cost of a BAD website

I received quotes from 70 bad web designers. These companies had shit websites…websites that were so ugly, they should come with a warning for permanent retinal damage and emotional scarring. Ok, I’m being melodramatic, but you get the point. The average price for a bad 5 page website worked out to R 4 162.36. Having your company name associated with such a monstrosity could cost you more in the long run though.

Daylight Robbery

This time, I’ve made a special category for Cherry Online Design, the company that charged the Free State provincial government R 140 million (or R40 million depending on who you believe) for a WordPress template. A company, that at the time of writing, doesn’t have a website themselves. Can anyone tell me how many low cost houses we could build for the homeless with a budget of R 140 million?


If you are in the market for a website, just remember an Aston Martin One-77 and a Tata Indica are both cars, but they have different price tags for a reason. With websites, most of the time, you get what you pay for, but if it is in the 7 digit region, you’re being shafted.

Article by Roxane Lapa of .COZA Web Design


13 Responses to Average Price for Web Design – 2013

  1. Great article Roxane!

  2. Mbulelo says:

    Great article indeed. I’m currently an intern at a web design company and I’m enjoying designing web pages.

  3. Thanks for sharing this experiment you ran Roxanne

    It’s quite astonishing how many web design companies turned down your business in the time of a recession. You’d think it affected everyone but clearly not.

  4. St_Elmo says:

    Well done! Roxane!….I wish you’d run some kind of similar experiment using Gumtree. I feel sites like those where people & businesses advertise are bringing the industry into disrepute! It’s a war out there with people/companies advertising from as low as R600 for a complete website! Even some companies that are listed here, bring themselves down there. Crazy!

    • admin says:

      Can you imagine what a R600 website would look like? I think the old adage applies – you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

  5. Cimplicity says:

    Interesting article, I cant believe companies charge upwards of R10,000 for a standard 5 page website.

    How much to charge is an emotive issue, one that I am struggling with……how much is too much for your local market?

    Maybe the next survey should split the average cost down by province as well.

    • admin says:

      If the work is really beautiful and of a high standard, and the web designer’s services are in demand, then he or she can charge whatever their customers are willing to pay. That’s the thing with any art related career – its not like we are all selling the same product…unless you use templates, every website is completely unique so saying what it is worth is difficult.

      Thanks for your suggestion of breaking down the average cost by provinces, but I don’t believe it will be helpful – unlike graphic designers whose clients are often local due to large files and printing, web designers generally cater for a national audience and often International. I personally have clients as far away as Russia and the Bahamas of all places. You shouldn’t limit yourself to your local market, because I can almost guarantee that not everyone in your province will hire a local web designer.

  6. The web designer’s services are in demand, then he or she can charge whatever their customers are willing to pay. That’s the thing with any art related career – its not like we are all selling the same product…unless you use templates, every website is completely unique so saying what it is worth is difficult.

  7. Mandla says:

    Enjoyed the article. “Permanent retinal damage” – good one! I’m working on my website so please don’t be harsh man… Just in case: vestek.co.za

  8. tebogom says:

    Great article. I was not aware guys were using templates for money gain, but how would you know if a web designer is good or not? Is it based on delivery or content layout or pricing?

    • admin says:

      Yes, unfortunately there are plenty of template mongers now and that is why so many sites look the same.

      We made our judgement call on whether a designer was good or not based on their own site – Was it aesthetically pleasing? Was it user friendly? Did it take long to load? Etcetera. We also looked at their portfolios (if they had one) and included those sites in our judgement of whether they are a good, ok or bad design company.

      In general we found that the better designers were more expensive. This stands to reason because they would be in demand and could therefore charge whatever they liked. The bad designers obviously had to offer lower prices to get customers. There were exceptions to the rule of course – the odd good designer coming in cheaper than what they were worth and crappy designers with delusions of grandeur.

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