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How Much Does a Custom WordPress Theme Cost?

After writing our article on how much does it cost to build a WordPress site, several readers asked us to expand on the custom website cost section. If you’re wondering how much does a custom WordPress theme cost, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we will share how much does a custom WordPress theme cost as well as few tips on how you can save money and avoid overpaying.

Cost of a Custom WordPress Theme

What is a Custom WordPress Theme?

A custom WordPress theme has a unique design, layout, and set of features that are made specifically for your business needs.

Since there are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes available, a custom WordPress theme helps your company / brand stand out.

The benefit of getting a custom WordPress theme is that you’re not limited by the constraints of a pre-existing template or layout. You have full freedom to customize your website and get any specific functionality built within your theme.

Factors that Affect the Cost of a Custom WordPress Theme

Since each custom WordPress theme is built specifically for the individual client, the cost of the project varies based on the requirements. Below are some of the factors that will impact the cost of your custom WordPress theme:

Individual Freelancer vs Agency

To create a custom WordPress theme, you will need someone who can design (designer) and code your theme (developer).

Depending on your needs, you may be able to find an individual who can do both design and develop the site, but remember it’s hard find a person who’s excellent at both design and code.

When you go with a full-service agency, it’s a one-stop shop because they have designers and developers in their team. This is also the reason why sometimes agencies can be more expensive.

Alternatively, you can hire an individual freelance designer and developer separately and mange the project yourself.

Experience and Expertise

Design and development is a creative process, so the project cost vary based on expertise, experience in the field, and creativity.

Well reputed WordPress development agencies may cost more than an individual developer or freelancer. However, a well known WordPress developer can sometimes charge even more than an agency.

Features, Functionality, and Expectations

Adding more features and functionality to your custom theme will increase the development time and cost. Normally, clients have higher expectations than their budget allows.

High quality work with custom features will take more time and hence it will cost more.

Change orders and Revisions

If you change the scope of your custom WordPress theme project in the middle of the process, then this can significantly increase your cost. While minor changes are ok, often freelancers and agencies will charge change-order fees for major change requests.

Hosting, Maintenance and Support

A custom WordPress theme does not include WordPress hosting, website maintenance or offering support after delivery of the project.

Some agencies and freelancers might offer these services at an additional cost.

How much a Custom WordPress Theme Actually Costs?

Cost estimates for a custom WordPress theme

Because there are several factors that affect the cost, it is extremely difficult to explain how much a custom WordPress theme cost in fixed numbers.

A typical custom WordPress theme for business or personal website theme could cost between $1,500 – $5,000.

A custom WordPress theme with additional built-in features or companion plugins can cost anywhere between $6,000 – $10,000.

If you have a complex enterprise level project, then is not uncommon for the prices to go above $30,000.

How to Avoid Overpaying for a Custom WordPress Theme?

Controlling cost of your custom WordPress theme project

With over a decade of experience in the WordPress industry, we have few tips that you can use to avoid overpaying for a custom WordPress theme.

Have a Clear Scope of the Project

When you’re building a house, you typically have a list of features that you want such as 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, living room, etc.

You need to make a similar list for your website and list down all the things that you would like to have such as:

  • Editable home page with a testimonial slider and services list
  • Contact page with a contact form and a Google map with ability to find directions
  • Gallery area to showcase the work
  • Blog section with Social media share buttons

Having a detailed list makes it easier for someone to give you an accurate quote. It also helps limit revisions / change-order fees.

Find Live Website Examples for Inspiration when Possible

Going along with a detailed scope, having a list of inspirations really help with the design process.

You can have a list of websites and list out what you like about each of them.

This gives the designer a clear idea of what you’re looking for thus reduces the revisions and overall cost.

Use Premium Plugins vs Custom Built Functionality

Most reputable WordPress professionals will always choose a premium WordPress plugin vs build it out from scratch because it’s more efficient and saves cost.

However as a customer, we always recommend that you also do your research. Often the developer that you choose may have other suggestions, and it’s important that you understand why they decide to choose one plugin over another.

Customize Premium Themes vs Build from Scratch

One of the ways to significantly reduce cost while still getting a “custom” look and feel is to find an existing theme that has 90% of what you want.

While this cheats the custom theme concept, it can significantly reduce the overall cost.

Powerful drag and drop WordPress page builders like BeaverBuilder and Divi has given birth to an entirely new industry of “Website Assemblers”.

Professional website assemblers use existing WordPress plugins in combination with a drag & drop page builder to build you a custom-looking WordPress site at a much more affordable price.

How to Find the Right Developer or Agency for a Custom WordPress Theme

Finding developer for your custom WordPress theme

Due to its ease of use and low barrier of entry, there is a wide-range of people and companies offering custom WordPress theme services.

Finding a developer or agency with right experience and skill set can be a bit difficult. Specially because a lot of “website assemblers” also call themselves developers.

Here are some places where you can find experienced developers for your custom WordPress theme project.

Genesis DevelopersStudioPress, creators of the famous Genesis theme framework has a developers showcase where you can find experienced WordPress developers to work on your custom theme.

WPEngine Consultants – Managed WordPress hosting company, WPEngine, also has a dedicated page that lists experienced WordPress developers and agencies.

WPHired – This is a job board where you can post your WordPress jobs. Developers can then apply for the job, and you can discuss your project with them. You’ll have to look for developers with relevant experience and skills.

WordPress Jobs – Another WordPress specific job board where you can post jobs and interview developers.

Upwork – An online freelancing website where you can post your job and interview developers from all over the world. This would allow you to find developers with lower rates. It is an enormous community with designers and developers of varying skills and expertise.


A custom WordPress theme can make your website stand out with its unique design and custom features. However, not all beginners and small businesses can afford that right away.

If you are just starting out, then you can use a premium multipurpose theme and build your website at a fraction of a price.

Most modern themes have enough customization options that you can use to make them unique. Check out our showcase section where we regularly publish collection of themes for different industries and niches

However if you can afford a custom WordPress theme, then it is definitely worth the investment. Unique branding, custom design, and tailor made functionality will help you grow your business faster and give you an edge over your competitors.

We hope this article helped you understand how much does a custom WordPress theme cost and how you can avoid overpaying. You may also want to see our list of most notable big name brands using WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

13 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. This is a really nice article I much enjoyed reading it. Thank you so much providing interesting questions and answers about WordPress themes.

  2. I have read your article, it is very great article. Thanks! Really nice post. Thanks for sharing this information.

  3. hi guys i know this comment is not related this post but i wanna know how can i make quick navigation for long post and connect with H TAG so when a person click the url it will jump to content place

  4. Very helpful and informative.
    We used a small design/build company after seeing some of their work and getting recommendations.
    I am glad I did because it is a mine field out there.

  5. Premium themes we buy has constant updates. If we build a theme from scratch what about the theme updates and is it necessary to update a custom theme and if yes how to do it??

  6. Hi,
    Thanks for the informative posts. Actually what would be the cost of a custom genesis child theme with e-commerce, membership and forum functionality. What about the services offered in fiverr??

    • Hi Renganayagi,

      As we mentioned the cost will increase as you add more features to your theme. It also varies based on factors we mentioned above. You can interview developers on any platform including Fiverr. However, as a general rule you should always be very careful and do the due diligence before hiring someone.


  7. We ALWAYS create a custom theme for every site but we base it on the WordPress twentytwelve theme as a child theme. The logic behind this is: WordPress will continue to update twentytwelve to keep it current. That in our opinion creates longevity. Its our plan to update to a newer parent theme and we look forward enthusiastically to each new release. Unfortunately we haven’t seen anything nearly as functional but we live in hope.

  8. Nice tutorial, very detailed matched to what I actually needed. But I never realised custom theme costs up to that rate. I always put my budget on something not above $500. As a matter of fact, I have had an agreement with an individual developer who promised to accept that range of payment. Just wondering if he’s actually going to deliver what I expected.

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