Stolen from a post of mine in the Side Hustle Nation FB page.

Do you use a developer license for the theme, or do you request that the client buy their own theme?

Developer license does two things:

  1. Lets you chose a theme that your are more likely to be experienced with and
  2. Allows you to off set some of your cost.

I take a contractor’s approach to my service based projects.

That means that everything that you can job cost, you do. Your license or subscriptions cost you money. You should find ways to off set those costs, and ultimately profit from them, by passing along those same services/licenses for a fee (or markup).

As a contractor it looks like this: I have a stable of subcontractors (licenses/subscriptions) that I am used to working with and who are used to working with me. That means there are certain efficiencies and advantages to be had by using “my guy”. My subs give me the quality of work that we’ve agreed meets our needs and usually a decent price consideration because I send them a certain volume of business.

Now, I don’t pass that price consideration along to my customer, why would I? No, my customer gets the full retail

rate for the subcontracted rate PLUS a markup – that’s the part I add on for my management of the entire process. Ultimately, I make a living on the markup AND the additional margins I’m able to negotiate with my subs. The same is true for licenses and other services.

If you are a web developer, you likely have a stable of software and services (Elance, Fiverr…) that you use in order to fulfill your clients’ needs. You should be marking up these services to account for your management time.

This is a point where a lot of freelancers get stuck in the hourly rate mindset – the sooner you can break that the better.

Let’s say you’ve purchased the rights to use a certain family of themes. That cost you what, $200? Every time you and your client decide to use one of the themes, you should charge them a standard theme price, say $45. How many installs does it take for you to break even? (4.5 for those without calculators). THEN, on the FIFTH install, your still charge $45 but now it’s pure gravy.

Now take it one step further. You should have a set fee to customize each new theme (within reason), let’s say $200 if they had a previous site that had content that just needed to be migrated. Since you’ve used this theme before and have a high comfort level with it, how long does that take? Two hours? OK, that’s $100/hr. The first time.

The next one won’t take you nearly as long, but you don’t change your rate. Before long, you’ve trained a VA on this particular theme family and pay them $15 to do a service that you’re charging $200 for. Welcome to contracting… I mean Web Development.