When deciding the right price to charge your client for a custom eCommerce website you need to inventory your skill set, your portfolio and level of experience. Even for vetern web developers embarking on the path of building a custom eCommerce website may be daughnting. The difference between a small simple eCommerce site and a large complex eCommerce website can be the answers to the questions you ask a client. Let's start with a basic eCommerce site and inventory the price.

First, you should determine your hourly web designer price. Knowing if you're worth $29 vs. $100/hour can be a large difference worth determining now. Knowing what you should charge hourly is how you can estimate your effort for the related tasks of creating and eCommerce site.

Step 1: Inventory Tasks (client Requirements)
Your task list might look different. This example should give a good framework for all skill levels of eCommerce developers. You can modify your task list accordingly.

  • Joomla VirtueMart or Drupal eCommerce Installation
    • CMS/eCommerce Platform Setup = 6 Hours
    • Payment Gateway/Processor Setup = 2 Hours (Authorize.net - the standard) 1 Hour (PayPal)
    • SSL/Security Setup = 1 Hour
    • Hosting Setup = 2 Hours
    • Tax & Shipping Setup = 2 Hours
    • Testing (e.g. Make sure it's all setup correctly, Client verify) = 4 Hours
  • Custom Design (e.g. Template/Theme Design) = 6 Hours (if you're using a premade template, add 10% to cost of template)
  • # Page Content (e.g. Homepage, Shipping/Returns, Privacy, other Marketing related pages) = 3 Hours
  • # Product Categories = 30 Minutes per Category
  • # Products = 5 Minutes per Product (Time Vampire Warning: this may be the most time consuming part of this project)
  • # Attributes (e.g. Color, Size) = 5 Minutes per Attribute/Product (Time Vampire Warning: this may be the most time consuming part of this project)
Note: These hours are based on a moderate skill level. Advanced or novice developers can reduce or add 10% respectively.

Step 2: Make an eCommerce Website Quote
The inventory of tasks is for a tyupical VirtueMart/Joomla or Drupal eCommerce example.This might be for a small business selling Jewelry, Handbags or any other retail product. Drupal or Joomla Commerce sites can allow you the most amount of flexibity and typically have a lower learning curve for those designers already familiar working with these systems.

The base line for any eCommerce site should be roughly 30 hours befor adding Pages, Product Categories, Products and Attributes.

Important Questions
These are a few very important questions that every web designer should ask their client before starting a project. This will keep you out of trouble and inline with setting the right expectations.

  • How many products, categories and attributes does your site have? This should make sense to you. Knowing how many products, categories and attributes of all the products is essential to determining the amount of work. Most product catelogs can range from a few hundred to a few thousand. Your time can add up very quickly.
  • What is the purpose of this site? This is a good question because you will know very quickly in your conversation how the client will precieve the importance of this website.
  • Do you already have an eCommerce site? I like to ask this question because I will quickly learn the expectations of my client.

As a professional web designer you may I recommend that you only charge for your professional services. eCommerce