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July 31, 2014

Is There Any Money in Web Design?

Photo Credit: grid workings by olle svensson Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Is there any money in web design? Well not as much as you would think.

Web design is a great industry to get into and, if you have the skills and knowledge of running a business, then perhaps you can make it happen — perhaps.

The industry has become more competitive than ever. With Web design companies sprouting up all over the place, the market has become saturated with small, medium and large agencies. The surge in new agencies and increased competition, however, has had a negative effect on the industry.

Why Does Every Tom, Dick and Harry Do Web Design?

Because it’s easy to setup and has little or no overhead. All you really need is a good computer, some basic text editors and design software and a Wi-Fi connection and off you go, you’re now a Web designer.

This is how the market is being treated. People believe if they can build a website this makes them a website designer — but it doesn’t.

This has become a major bug-bare for design agencies that have spent years building up their reputations and client bases. All of a sudden you are not just competing against another design agency but also against Steve, your client’s friend’s son who has read Web Design for Dummies and is now building websites for his weekend spending money.

Unfortunately this is the reality. There are other factors that reduce the value of web design:

Lack of Local Talent: Whether agencies are looking for a designer, developer, digital project manager or whoever it may be, it can be difficult to find quality talent on a local level in places with the larger, more densely populated areas. At one software firm for which I worked, we spent months recruiting for an experienced .Net developer that we ended up recruiting someone from Glasgow who was actually looking to move away from the city. I suppose we were lucky on this occasion.

Businesses with No Money: Agencies that work in smaller, less populated areas may choose to work for local companies to design and develop products for them. Time and time again I have encountered companies whose constant war cry is they have no money to spend and they are not prepared to pay your already reduced, rock bottom priced sales quotation. Unfortunately there is not much you can do about this, but you can inform them of external financial help available to them to help pay for your services. This can be provided by some local authorities and business enterprise schemes.

Businesses with Money but Don’t Want To Spend: It can be a tough game getting people to part with their hard earned cash. This may result in you reducing your quotations right down which can be counter productive. A lot of businesses don’t truly appreciate what a digital presence can actually do for them if created and managed well. I have realized over the years that that some people, due to their lack of knowledge of the web, regard their digital presence as not very important which can make getting that sale much harder.

So, Is It Worth It?

I was considering starting a Web design operation four years ago but I can honestly say I am that I am glad I did not. It is too hard to compete against a firm that cab create more than just websites and then sell them a website at a rock bottom, almost non-profitable price and struggle along and make next to no money.

If anyone has had a similar experience, please get in touch, I would love to hear about your experiences.


I am a Web developer from Scotland, U.K. I am the developer and owner of the business proposal application JippityJack. I have been working as a developer for five years for local web design agencies and international companies. I write about some of the latest and most relevant news regarding media and apps on my blog JippityJack.