The cost of a WordPress project varies greatly, with so many different ways to get a WordPress website nowadays.
If someone needs a WordPress site, they can look on Upwork, Fiverr, or even Craigslist to find people willing to build one for $500 – or even less in some cases. Web designers also work with WordPress to look for clients in their local communities. They get referrals and meet people at the chamber of commerce meetings and BNI meetings. These projects are usually more valuable than competing with the entire world on job boards like Upwork or Fiverr.
But let’s see if we can narrow this down to determine how much WordPress professionals earn in the United States.
What Will the Average Wage for a WordPress Developer in the United States Be in 2022?
Let’s divide this into two categories: First, let’s take a look at salaried employees using data from the most popular job boards and directories.
Let’s start with a quick look at what Indeed can tell us. Indeed is the world’s most popular job site, with over 250 million unique visitors2 each month.
As of December 4, 2022, the average WordPress developer salary in the United States is $58,254 per year, according to 310 employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the previous 36 months. This equates to a salary range of approximately $14,000 to $137,000 per year.
According to ZipRecruiter website, the average annual salary for a WordPress developer in the United States is $63,478 per year as of December 2, 2022, which is slightly higher than the $63,478 reported on ZipRecruiter reports that, the average hourly rate for WordPress work in 2022 will be around $31 per hour.
PayScale is a website dedicated to assisting employers and employees in determining the appropriate pay for each position. According to PayScale, the average WordPress salary in the United States is $52,324 per year, with a salary range of $34,000 to $74,000 per year.
Of course, this number will differ slightly from state to state. Salary levels in New York, for example, are higher than in Wisconsin. That doesn’t mean that a WordPress developer in the United States will make $58,000 per year in 2022, though.
This is a much more interesting topic to consider, but it is also much more difficult to define. As of December 2022, the average hourly rate for WordPress work on Upwork, Fiverr, and Codeable is about $40 per hour, with individual rates ranging from $30 per hour to $100 per hour.
Upwork offers some more detailed information about WordPress freelancers’ hourly rates, though the data appears to be about two years old from 2017. I frequently speak with WordPress developers who are competing for projects on Upwork against literally everyone on the planet. I’m aware that there are a lot of WordPress consultants in the United States competing for projects on Upwork. Out of all the methods I recommend for finding web design clients, Upwork is near the bottom of the list. There are numerous reasons to avoid looking for work on Upwork. Nonetheless, because of their popularity, I wanted to include some information about them here.
According to a direct quote from Upwork’s website:
There are a lot of WordPress developers on Upwork who charge $20 to $100 an hour for their work, with most projects costing $194 or less.
In 2020, how much should WordPress consultants charge in the United States?
After reviewing the statistics on WordPress salaries and hourly rates in the United States in 2022, let’s shift gears and think how much WordPress consultants should charge to run a profitable business in the United States in 2023.
A WordPress Consultant’s Day-to-Day Routine
I’ve spent the majority of the last few years mentoring WordPress consultants in the United States who want to start their own web design businesses. In addition, I moderated an active Facebook group for WordPress consultants in the United States. As a result, I have the opportunity to speak with and interact with a large number of WordPress consultants on a daily basis.
Finding web design clients is by far the most popular topic of conversation for self-employed WordPress consultants. So, one of the most important things to consider when determining how much you should charge as a self-employed guy is that not all of the hours you work are billable hours. In fact, I frequently speak with people who will go for days, if not weeks, without completing a single hour of billable work.
The Incorrect Method for Determining What You Should Charge Per Hour
Assume you have a revenue target of $75,000 per year in mind. It’s tempting to calculate your hourly rate assuming you’d work a 40-hour week, just like a salaried employee. To help you, you might want to add the following:
- Working eight-hour days five days per week for 40 hours per week
- There are 52 weeks in a year, so 40 hours divided by 52 weeks equals 2,080 hours.
- Subtract the desired annual income ($75,000) from the number of work hours in the year (2080).
- $75,000 divided by 2080 hours equals $36 per hour.
With a little quick arithmetic, it appears that the average hourly rate for freelancers (as discussed earlier) is pretty close to where you need to be. However, this is not the case because, on average, most self-employed web designers bill out less than half of their working hours. The other half of their time is spent on non-billable tasks such as answering emails, providing free support and maintenance on client sites, and so on, but the majority of it is spent on finding new clients and projects.
How Much Do Self-Employed WordPress Developers Earn in the United States?
The majority of self-employed WordPress developers I speak with charge around $35 per hour (on average). If they were completely billable, they would earn more than $72,000 per year! However, most self-employed WordPress consultants in the United States earn only $30,000 to $35,000 per year. This is because they can only bill out about 1,000 hours per year. What makes matters worse is that many of the people I speak with work longer than 8-hour days. So, on average, most self-employed WordPress developers bill for only 35–50% of their time.
Three Issues Restricting the Earnings of Self-Employed WordPress Developers
The truth is that now more than ever, self-employed WordPress consultants have the potential to earn well into the six figures while running their own web design business. This is why we have a growing list of consultants in our DoubleStack Five Figure Family who are winning clients worth more than $10,000 each. WordPress developers who earn more than $100,000 per year have made three fundamental changes to their businesses, affecting their mindset, business structure, and the outcomes they provide to their clients.
Creating a Value-Oriented Mindset
The first and most important shift to make is to cultivate a high-value mindset. If you’re a WordPress consultant working with a business in your area, you must understand and believe that there is no better way for your client to invest their marketing budget than with you. The truth is that if your client wants to build and run a profitable business, they will need to invest in some kind of marketing. With all of the tools, plugins, and platforms available today, there is no better bang for your buck than having your client partner with you to pursue an online marketing strategy for their business.
- What else are they going to do that is better?
- Do you buy radio commercials?
- Should I put something in the classified ads?
Once you understand this truth, it is clear that you have the best and most powerful thing your clients require, even if they can only afford to hire you for a few hours per week. It’s the best thing they could possibly do for their company because it produces results for the least amount of money upfront.
Creating a high-value mindset necessitates the adoption of two new beliefs about yourself and your business. To begin, as we have already demonstrated, you must understand and believe that there is no better option than for your customers to hire you to help them grow their business. Second, you must recognize that great design is required for more than just websites.
You need to start embracing other online marketing concepts like creating landing pages, email marketing campaigns, branding social media channels, designing lead magnets to grow email lists, and so on. In other words, today’s web designers do more than just create websites. They must also be able to drive business-oriented results for their clients.
Putting in Place a High-Value, Long-Term Business Structure
The second shift is to abandon one-and-done projects. You will never be able to scale up to a 6-figure business unless you develop recurring revenue streams through long-term client relationships. The pattern that DoubleStack employs is to divide a project into two phases. The initial build-out of the client’s online presence is the first phase. This includes their website, copywriting for their site, sourcing the necessary photography and graphics, branding, consistently designing their social media channels, and so on. To put it another way, it’s a lot of work. Be prepared to work on this for 4 to 6 weeks and charge accordingly. This means you’ll charge between $3,000 and $10,000 for the work required to finish the build-out phase.
Then you move on to the second phase of the project, where you will continue to work with the client for 10 to 40 hours per month. The average hourly rate for double stackers is $85 per hour. This means you’ll have several monthly retainer packages that include technical services that your clients require on a monthly basis, such as hosting, plugin updates, backups, and general site maintenance. However, the core of the retainer is based on the marketing and business development work you will do for your clients. Your monthly packages will range in price from $850 per month (for approximately 10 hours of work per month) to around $3,500 per month (for roughly 40 hours per month of work).
Remember that your smallest package of $850 per month for approximately 10 hours of your time results in you earning more than $10,000 ($10,200 to be exact) per year. In terms of your weekly workload, this will only take you 2.5 hours per week. Assuming you have five clients on board in this manner. You’re now generating over $50,000 per year in recurring revenue, and it only takes 2.5 hours per day, five days a week, to complete.
Assuming you have ten clients. You’re now earning over $100,000 per year while working only 5 hours per day. This also assumes that all ten of your clients are on your most basic package. You’ll be guiding your customers up the value chain in the real world. You will be producing results for your clients. This will increase their revenue, allowing them to hire you for more work. So you don’t even need ten customers. In general, you only need 6 or 7 clients to make a six-figure income.
This works so well because you’ve eliminated the most expensive and time-consuming aspect of your business: finding new clients. Rather than wasting unbillable hours chasing down new clients, you continue to work with the ones you already have. This is better for you because it allows you to bill for a greater portion of your time. It’s also better for your clients because you’ll be there to continue delivering the results they require. Everyone comes out ahead.
Developing Marketing Materials with a Focus on Outcomes
The third shift is to alter the nature of what you provide. It is no longer just a website, social media management, branding, and so on. You continue to use those skills, but the emphasis shifts to the results of doing those things successfully. In other words, you are now doing two things at the same time. First and foremost, you provide business consulting and leadership. Then you have the technical skills to put what you’re suggesting into action.
So, when it comes to marketing your company, you don’t make a website that looks like an online resume listing all of your technical skills and services. Instead, you list the outcomes that your clients want. One of the major things we work on together in the DoubleStack program is developing your marketing around this new outcome-oriented framework.
We’ll look at who you want to work with as well as what you can offer them. We also work together to improve your skillset so that you feel comfortable and confident using a variety of online marketing tools and platforms. We then design your marketing around all of that so that the clients who see your new marketing message will be looking for a powerful, multi-skilled solution from you.
The bottom line is as follows: Change how you define yourself, and you’ll notice a shift in who you attract.
Many WordPress developers are dissatisfied and exhausted from working far too many hours without generating anywhere near the income levels they desire. WordPress consultants who have identified and adapted to the differences in today’s new economy are building fantastic six-figure businesses. Today’s web design market is crowded with low-budget developers and ever-improving DIY website builders such as Wix and Squarespace.
So if you’re out there trying to sell websites like it’s 2005, you’re going to have a difficult time making the money you need to stay afloat. If you adapt and embrace a high-value mindset, incorporate long-term client relationships into your business structure, and develop an outcome-oriented marketing strategy. You’ll only need 5–10 clients to earn a six-figure annual income as a WordPress consultant in the United States.