A Scientific Wild Ass Guess

A "Scientific Wild-Ass Guess" Concept

Just a few days ago, a potential new client asked me to give him a "SWAG" in lieu of a formal proposal. I had never heard that expression before. When he said it stood for a "Scientific Wild-Ass Guess", I LOL.

I liked the idea so much that I've put together this new blog so everyone can get an idea of what I need to think about when I'm putting together a proposal in order to estimate a website.

"How Much?"

...is what everyone wants to know.

A formal proposal can require hours of research before an accurate estimate can be provided.

Case in point: a noobie web designer asked me recently how much she should charge for a business that provided a service. Her potential client had requested an estimate to build their small business a new website. I gave some general tips, but I couldn't really help her out... because I spend hours on developing my formal proposals. Each client is unique... and so is each project.

BTW, I'm always open for learning new ways to do just about everything.

A Custom squarespace website for $1500?

My SWAG for designing, building and launching an above average 5 - 8 page website for a small business can often start at approximately $1500, depending on what you need.

Here's What I Need From You

  • A clear understanding of your goals before we start
  • All your graphics, photography, logos ready
  • We respond to each other's email within 24 hours (M-F)
  • When a conference call is required, we schedule it 24 hours in advance, M - F, business hours
  • You (hopefully) have the words for your site (also known as your content). But don't worry if you don't have everything ready. You can edit your words anytime.

Need help with writing, graphics, a logo, email campaigns, finding stock photography, adding pages, assistance with social media branding, javascripts, etc?

Tell me all about it.

I create custom squarespace tutorial videos


If you enjoyed the 2 custom training videos included with the base price of $1500, additional customized-to-your-requests training videos may be purchased.

(p.s. Squarespace also has training videos that help you get started.)

Formal Proposal

Formal Proposal



  • Review of your current website (if you have one)
  • If this is a new website, a conference call to discuss
  • Research of websites that are pleasing to you
  • Sue's expert recommendations on SEO
  • Social media suggestions and review
  • Targeted milestones and delivery dates
  • Site architecture
  • Wireframe
  • Fee structures
  • Individualized line items

How I Budget My Time

Budgeting my time

As a freelancer - with an active creative mind - I can always find things that will get in the way of doing the work I need to get done.

After years of attempting to accomplish everything for everyone (yep, I'm a people pleaser), working evenings, weekends and holidays, I finally got smart with my time. With careful planning, I now separate my work hours from my play time.

When I book a new project, my formal proposals have milestones built into the project. When a change or revision comes in, I will turn it around within 3 business days (that is, unless something dramatic has occurred.) Surprisingly, sticking to a traditional Monday - Friday, 9 - 5 work week has made me more productive, not less.

Stripe vs. Paypal on Squarespace

Stripe vs. Paypal

It was in 2004 that I first signed up for a Paypal merchant account. It was incredibly convenient for me to create a "buy now" button or use the virtual terminal for my clients to pay me for my services. As soon as my client paid me online, the funds were in my account, less the service charges.

Here's how Paypal charges

I recently started using the Commerce feature on Squarespace and I love it so much more than Paypal. For example, I'm having fun coming up with different designs for my buttons. Also, creating a payment link is far easier. With all costs considered, I'm coming out ahead using Squarespace's Commerce feature, and letting my Paypal merchant account go. I can still use Paypal to create buttons, but I don't need the merchant account since I can do all the same things, faster and better on Squarespace.

The down side of Stripe is it takes a few more days to get paid than the lovely immediately gratification of Paypal, but I can deal with that. I'm sticking with Stripe, for now. It works. It's efficient. It affordable. Nothing is really perfect all the time, but for this longtime freelancer, it serves me quite well.

Another reason to love Squarespace.