Why UX/UI Design Services in San Francisco Are So Expensive

by Josh Biggs in Digital Marketing on 21st November 2021

San Francisco is the place with some of the most expensive professional UX/UI design agencies worldwide. The yearly salary of a young UX/UI specialist in India is around $15,227. In the meanwhile, a San Francisco professional can count on $104,843 and more. This is a drastic contrast, but can we say that it is motivated? Can an exclusive design studio in San Francisco guarantee you a better quality of service? 

Let us evaluate some of the reasons that make San Francisco designing studios so expensive and determine whether it makes sense to pay more.

A few interesting numbers

Let us look at some interesting statistics that describe the financial aspect of living in San Francisco:

  • The average salary in the city equals $97,000 per year.
  • A software engineer, one of the most common professions in San Francisco, makes $120,000 annually.
  • The salary of a senior software engineer can rise to $148,000 per year.
  • A UX designer makes on average from $61,134 to $131,358 per year.
  • It is estimated that to live comfortably, you will need no less than $12,000 per month.

You can find more information about the living expenses compared to the average in the USA by this link.

Reasons why San Francisco UX/UI designers are so expensive

Certain factors influence the prices of UX/UI in San Francisco. Some of them are directly connected to the world of design, while others affect the prices implicitly.

  • The proximity of Silicon Valley. San Francisco is home to some of the leading world IT companies, including UX/UI design and software development, AI and robotics, blockchain, and cybersecurity. Google, Oracle, Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Adobe, Amazon – are all located. The USA has always welcomed talented professionals to the country, and Silicon Valley is some of the most attractive destinations for them. This is the place where their talents are truly appreciated, including financial remuneration. If you work with a design firm in San Francisco, you can be sure that they hire the best of the best. The competition to get a position in any more or less famous agency is enormous. There are no random people there.
  • Quality of living. Since so many people living in the San Francisco area are owners and top managers of international corporations, highly qualified programmers, designers, and financial experts, the prices for everything from food to accommodation are incredibly high. To live comfortably in San Francisco, being single and renting a flat, you will need at least $120,000. In many countries globally, this is a tremendous amount of money, but in San Francisco, this is a minimum livable wage. Therefore, companies charge more for their services simply because life in this city is costly.
  • Renting office space, social security, and other services. Many people wish to work in San Francisco because companies provide some of the best bonuses you can imagine. They rent or buy office space in the most stunning buildings with a great view, cover lunches, fitness, and health insurance. Nonetheless, all these expenses make San Francisco design consultancies charge more just to stay afloat.

Overall, high prices in San Francisco UX/UI design services can easily be explained. On the one hand, Silicon Valley is a place that attracts talented designers with high qualifications to work on original projects. On the other hand, living costs in this area are elevated, motivating the companies to set higher prices.

San Francisco is the area with the highest concentration of genius designers in the world. If your project is unique and the high-quality execution is vital to its success, you will benefit from working with a San Francisco design firm. You can outsource your project to a remote team in India, China, or Eastern Europe for standardized tasks. But all the risks, in this case, will be on you.


Many people are shocked when they learn how much life costs in San Francisco. Of course, the fact that life is so expensive in the Bay Area affects the local prices. However, the main reason why San Francisco UX/UI design firms charge more than their competitors from other countries is that they have in their teams some of the most talented designers in the world. 

Categories: Digital Marketing