I'm rather new to this. I am making a website for someone. It's going to be done through WordPress (so not very complicated). When invoicing them should I include just the time spent making the website in WordPress or the time spent in meetings (i.e. explaining things to them) as well?

Also I can make some lo-fi prototype. I would invoice the client if I did it or we did it together in a meeting. Is that fair?

Things involving DNS and domain registration I intend to invoice for. What about maintenance things like updating plugins through the CMS before the final site is delivered?

4 Answers 4


Generally, clients buy a freelancer's time. Using that logic, all time spent on client work is invoiced, regardless of the work.

I never heard of clients wanting different rates for work on prototype versus the actual product - and since both will consume 100% of the freelancers time, it seems reasonable that they cost the same.

A reasonable angle could be having less than 100% compensation for tasks that don't consume all the freelancer's time; e.g. traveling for the client or being on-call. Having said that, the freelancer should then be permitted to do unrelated work during that time. Or - if compensated fully during travel - the freelancer must perform client work.

As a freelancer, your risk is allowing the client to place more work under a lower rate - so it needs to be quite clear to both parties which areas are discounted and which are not, as this obviously has the potential to be contentious and destructive for the relationship.

  • While this is generically good advice, I think the final sentence leaves a bit to be desired. If he negotiates, then what are the tasks he should be including?
    – Valorum
    May 12, 2021 at 19:33
  • @Valorum - fair enough point. I have added to the answer; perhaps it's still too non-specific?
    – morsor
    May 15, 2021 at 12:04
  • Definitely an improvement. I don't think that "everything" is necessarily billable. Small changes I would think could be made for little or no charge.
    – Valorum
    May 15, 2021 at 12:22

There is more than one way to bill clients for creating websites. Many freelancers view it as a product, and thus charge a flat rate for what they believe the full value of their time + expertise is worth. Hourly billing for creating a new website is probably less common. I work both ways, but prefer to work under a flat rate for new websites so that both parties understand the full scope of work and what's included. I find it's particularly important for difficult clients. For more long-term clients with whom I already have a longstanding relationship, I'm more likely to charge hourly because they won't be surprised by their monthly invoice.

Also important is a contract specifying your hourly rate in case there are additions beyond the initial scope of work.

For example, my website project contracts include:

  1. What platform I'm building on & what theme/template I'm using
  2. How many pages are included & what they are
  3. What features the site will have (calendar, forms, e-commerce, etc)
  4. How many designs & design revisions they'll get (ie your prototypes or wireframes and live dev sites)
  5. How much meeting time is included
  6. How much post-launch support and training time is included
  7. My hourly rate for anything beyond the scope outlined in the contract, including changes to an approved design, extra content, more meeting time, etc.

On a current project, the client has requested several items not in the contract. I reminded them that those items would be billed at the hourly rate and added to the final invoice.

And finally, one big benefit to a flat rate is that you can get 50% as a deposit, so you don't end up working for nothing if they ghost without paying.


If you're billing your client hourly, then you should bill for all of the time you spend working on their project. That includes phone calls, meetings, other communication, testing, prototyping, etc., etc.


I would not invoice for time spent updating plugins before being delivered. 1. It shouldnt even take that long to do and 2. the project was not delivered yet.

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