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how much should I ask for this ecommerce project? (percentage)

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Hi! This is my first post. I'm a web designer and currently looking and experimenting some communities to try to find the right place to meet people in my same profession.

This question motivated me to create an account here and ask, I think this is the right place :)

So one friend asked me to make an e commerce website for her. Since she's just starting and she's not exactly rich I'm thinking about joining her, and instead of asking a fixed rate, I want to see if it's possible to get paid by % of sales.

In your opinion what can be an honest % to ask considering:

  • I'll build and dev a semi-custom website (probably we'll get a theme/template, but it will be super customized by me on her preferences). I know her, it will look unique and totally custom on the frontend.
  • She will probably design the layout in illustrator or similar
  • it's probably a website that will require me 50 hours to be built, tested, and made 100% responsive.
  • I will help her with SEO too
  • I will keep everything up to date, and offer website support to her in the long term (not to customers), and probably I could make a new design every year.

Did you ever worked in this way? How much would you ask? Consider that the business starts from scratch. There isn't a customer base at the moment.

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Welcome to the forums


There's nothing wrong with a % commission based approach but get a proper contact drawn up even though you "know" the client.


Considering you're estimating 50 hours work, and based at a low freelancer average of say £50/hour, that would equate to £2500 for the project - don't forget that would probably include software licences, domain registration, hosting, SSL certificate as ongoing costs. While that's not a huge sum for an ecommerce site it may be about right for basic site.


You may want to consider how long it would take you to recoup your fees based on a % of sales, if there's no customer base that could take many years assuming they did actually sell anything in enough volume.


The other alternative which may be better for a new venture is to use a hosted platform like Shopify where you simplly pay a monthly fee.

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Sounds like your client is getting a very good deal - new custom site, bespoke design, ongoing seo, ongoing support etc.


You'll also need to factor in "soft time" for emails, telephones calls, training etc.


Whilst there isn't anything immediately wrong about taking a percentage cut I have see first hand some of the issues it can cause:


  • What happens if it takes to several years to make your time back i.e. just break even
  • When does the arrangement stop?
  • How will clients report sales figures to you
  • Will the site in question take priority over other projects?

Basically, ensure you have a watertight contract (something you'll need to invest yet more time your end) to cover everything.


Personally, if I was forced to enter into this type of arrangement I'd start with a good base like Magento 2.

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