How much you should pay a Hawaii web designer

Finding the perfect Hawaii website designer for your business is hard enough. Here's my basic guide on pricing and how you should evaluate your small business' needs when it comes to budgeting for your website.

Things you need to consider when choosing a Hawaii web designer

Web designers are everywhere in the world and Hawaii is no different. There are some great web designers here in the islands, but choosing one (and paying them) can be daunting especially as a small business in Hawaii. Not to worry, from my perspective as a Hawaii web designer, here's what you need to evaluate about you and your business so you can make the right decision.


Money is probably the biggest factor for any small business in Hawaii. It's expensive to live here and salaries don't come close to what's standard on the mainland. However, hiring a (good) web designer gives you more than just a website. You get a website that looks good, works how you want it to work, and peace of mind (this is huge).

When I talk to small business owners in Hawaii I hear things like "I've spent hundreds of hours on this and am ready to give up." By paying someone who knows what they're doing, you get to go to bed early, enjoy your weekends, or spend more time on your business (which you're an expert at). You're paying to not stay up every night working on your DIY website trying to make it look better or fix a tech issue you don't understand.

Assuming the Hawaii website designer you choose is experienced, here's a very basic price range for you to refer to:

Less than $3,000: A budget website. Website designers in this price range tend to have a quick system to churn websites out fast so they can get to work on the next client's. You probably won't have any room for customization, but you'll get a basic website fast. This is a good way to go if you just need a simple website and don't plan to do any marketing anytime soon. I'd recommend this type of website for local startups that are just getting their toes wet such as food truck entrepreneurs.

With a basic website online that houses your Home, About, Menu, and Contact pages, you can connect your website to platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp. However, you should consider that if you want your local business to grow, you'll eventually pay for a website that has email marketing set up for you (next tier).

Between $3,000 and $10,000: You'll be paying for a thoughtfully designed website, experience, and customer service. This involves the website designer really getting to know your brand and target audience. At this rate, your website should include things like great SEO (search engine optimization - aka how you rank on Google search results), excellent copywriting, an email marketing platform, and a follow-up service where you're taught how to use your website. Expect your website designer to ask you questions about your brand, audience, future business plans because they'll need to incorporate this into their design.

This is a great choice for small businesses in Hawaii that are niche or are service-oriented with clients. As an example: consultants, freelancers, and coaches will really benefit from this type of website because their brand is all about them and they specialize in one particular niche to make their clients happy. With a website that works and markets well, small businesses don't have to waste time figuring out their DIY website and can instead invest their valuable time into their next client.

$10,000 and above: A website for this price and above should require heavy customization and/or long hours. Maybe you need a unique ordering system or you're a large company and you require hundreds of pages and sumdomains. That's going to take a lot of hours to build and the price will reflect the time spent into the project.

Generally, small businesses in Hawaii aren't going to go this route. But if you're a unique business that requires a website that needs to behave in a certain way, then expect the price to go up.

Other budget concerns

The prices above are purely general. Keep in mind that there are other factors that will affect the price. For example, if you are starting a food truck business and want a basic website, you may discover 2 types of website designers in Hawaii:

  • A Hawaii website designer who only does basic websites from any industry ($2,000)
  • A Hawaii website designer who only does food truck websites ($4,000)

The $2,000 option will give you a basic website, but the website designer might not be familiar with food truck industry, terms, menu design, or your target audience's behavior.

However, the $4,000 option will most likely deliver a website that feels like a food truck website, has a clean and intuitive menu (i.e. not just a hard-to-read PDF - a pet peeve of mine), and understands how food truck customers behave online (thus potentially increasing your customers).

Niche web designers have higher prices for good reason

The $4,000 Hawaii website designer I mentioned is what I call a niche web designer. These web designers focus on only a certain type of client, in this case: food truck clients. They charge a higher price because of their intimate knowledge and experience within that industry. If you mention you need UberEats to be linked to your ordering system, this niche web designer will immediately understand what you're talking about and how to implement that. However, you might have to explain this concept to the $2,000 Hawaii website designer and they might end up Googling "how to link up UberEats to a website design" while they build their website.

This is something you need to consider when deciding on your budget for your website. Will you have a general web designer or a niche web designer? There are pros and cons for both and you'll have to decide what is important for your local business to have.

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