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How much money do you need to start a web design business? – Killersites Web Design Magazine

How much money do you need to start a web design business?

In this session of the Business of Web Design, I look at how much money you need to start a web design business.

The great news is, that you don’t need hardly any money at all, so just about everyone can get in!

I also get into a few other business issues that I know a lot of people will find useful.

…You’re going to have to listen to the podcast to get the details!


Stefan Mischook


5 responses to “How much money do you need to start a web design business?”

  1. Hi Stefan, I’m fairly new to this community and definately have taken a ton from it so far and am looking forward to giving as much as I can back!

    I have a couple comments regarding startup costs for a design firm:

    1) As far as domains and hosting go, many hosting solutions have partnership programs or are more than willing to “cut you a break” on hosting and domain registration fees as long as you exclusively use their services for your clients. Obviously I won’t link any in specific, but my company is essentially “sponsored” by one – definately a way to drive the startup cost even closer to nil.

    2) I’ve found that confidence is a major key to successs, and for someone like myself, buying a fancy frosted glass desk and a 22″ widescreen monitor (or two 🙂 had a great effect on my performance. Whether thats from ergonomics, pride, or confidence – the increase was definately noticed. I considered them startup costs and by the time I got my fourth contract I had more than covered the cost many times over.

    3) Lastly, I have a rather serious question, as a “start up” web designer, I have looked to a deal of places to find work to build my portfolio. Be it door-to-door at a Mall, or online with various tech contract middlemen, again I won’t name websites. The problem I’m running into is; On these sites your “coder rating” is the only measure of your reputation and as such, maintaining a near-perfect rating is crucial to your cash flow; and nearly every night this past summer I have found myself working far later into the night than I had planned doing extra work just so I don’t get a bad rating from the buyer. These sites claim to have mechanisms in place to prevent this kind of being taken advantage of, but the few times I’ve relied on said system; and have clearly been the winner of an arbitration and lost because of an arbitrator who couldn’t speak english and obviously was not knowledgable in the area.

    The only way I can see around this is making a very limited and clearly defined contract/proposal for work provided. Can you give me any advice in the kinds of things that need to be covered in a contract for any kind of IS work both via these middlemen websites and in “real life”? I’ve turned to a lot of my mentors in the area and they’ve given me some great pointers, but I’m still getting taken advantage of left and right.

  2. Hi,

    I will be talking about contracts in a soon to be released podcast/session.

    For now, let me just say that one of the key reasons for a contract, is to make clear what everyone’s responsibilities are with regards to the web design project … it’s a lot about managing your clients expectations.

    This may not be clear now, but in the podcast on contracts, I will get into the details and I will provide some real-life examples I personally have had to deal with.

    BTW, welcome to the site and I’m happy to hear you’re finding it useful.



  3. What is a good way to acually tell a potential client that you work from home? Do you say I work from home, a home office, a seperate area of the house? When really, my setup is in the guess bedroom.

  4. HI Ric,

    First rule in business: say only what you need to say, and not a word more.

    This is NOT being dishonest, it is just being smart. I’ve lost big deals (that I had closed) because I opened my big yap and ticked the client off.

    So in this case, don’t volunteer where you work. But if they should ask, just be honest and say something like:

    “Like many web designers, I work from home because there is no need to have an office. And the rest of our team works from their places because with the Web, who needs an office!”

    Because we are not lawyers, accountants or dentist (clients rarely need to see us in person) we don’t need an office. And just like how web designers can get away with not wearing a suit, we can get away with not having an office space.

    And by-the-way, you should NOT get an office unless it is absolutely required! And I mean you have people in and out every day.

    .. I have a episode on this.

    Hope that helps,


  5. Hi,

    My Name is Kashif I’m 19 years old and I’m looking to start a website and i need some help, I’m very determined in doing so, any advice would help.