What Should I Pay For Instructional Design Services?

Instructional design services often don't make a big fuss over pricing -- after all, our clients expected to be more profitable in the long run as employee skills improve and efficiency increase.  But many training departments need to justify their expenses, so they're eyeing their instructional design contractors closely and starting to shop around.


Like every consulting industry, there are instructional designers that work for major corporations and charge top dollar, and there are those who serve nonprofits and work for relatively little.  Below are a few key ID services from a variety of instructional designers who offered to share their prices on a public page:  Keep in mind that these are only estimates and that final costs may vary widely.

Video Production:

$1,000 to $3,000 per finished minute for a professional quality video -- or as little as $200 per finished minute for a cheap video such as the kind taken on a Flip camera or similar device and are much less professional.

PPT Deck Slide Production:

$15 to $50 per slide. Stock Photos: Generally from StockXCHNG, iStockPhoto, or Flickr -- $11 to $27 per photo, depending on the research required and the cost of the photo license.

Audio Production:

$25 to $125 per finished minute, or more if a variety of unique sound effects are requested.

Instructional Designer Work Time: $28 - $125 per hour depending on specialization and skill set needed.  An eLearning designer, for example, generally charges in the realm of $40/hour, as does an organizational specialist -- but a consultant asked to provide training materials for high-level management may ask double the rate.


As an adjunct to that, you need to know about how many hours go into various training activities.  Here are some pretty typical examples:

  • 1 hour instructor-led training requires about 20 to 45 hours of total ID work depending on topic complexity.
  • 1 hour-long e-learning exercise can take anywhere from 33 hours to convert a pre-existing PowerPoint presentation to 220 for interactive content built from scratch.
  • 1 hour-long simulation program designed to be highly interactive and replicate difficult working conditions may take up to 750 hours to create.
  • Written 'student materials' can take about four hours per page to create and polish.  Job aids may take significantly longer – two or three times.
  • Even when the training program is finished, instructors need at least 2.5 hours per hour of material to prepare to effectively deliver.  For webinars, the materials much match the delivery tool and the instructor must be well versed in its use.


Obviously, these elements are multiplicative -- in order to determine an approximate cost of a given item, you need to multiply the hours of work that go into creating it by the cost-per-hour of the instructional designer's time.  So, one hour of very basic instructor-led training costs about $1,360 (34*$40).


Again, the above figures are all estimates.  Note though, there may be a correlation between higher price and higher quality – the less expensive contractor may produce a product of lesser quality which may result in reduced outcomes.


Dave FinleyAbout The Author, Dave Finley

“I have a passion for making people successful! Training for me is all about getting the right knowledge and support in place in time for people to either develop or improve the skills that drive success. Design is a matter of bringing the learner what is needed when it is needed on time and within budget!”

Need some help? If you would like a price quote for your instructional design needs, give us a call at 1-800-807-8030.


Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Detection Software