Hi Jim, my rate has varied from $75 up to $150/hour over the years. I know some people charge even more.
I think it’s really all about how many potential clients you have. If you only have one, then you need to price yourself low enough to get the job. If you have quite a few, then you can charge more and it’s okay that some turn you down.
Any time you get a new client, try charging $10-$20 an hour more then you did for the previous client.
personally, I would NOT charge less than $100/hour.
I look at the projects portions of these FCC challenges and think “well this took me 20-100 hours each project, how much should I charge for this application?” And it is always $100+/hr of coding/thinking/researching/solution(ing).
I read somewhere once a long time ago that one way you could get a baseline for your hourly rate is to first take into account your monthly expenses and then calculate how much you would need to make per hour to match those expenses.
So let’s say (for the sake of a easy to work with figure) you need $1000 per month for rent, food, entertainment, personal business expenses, etc…
That’s $250 needed to be earned per week, around $35.70 (rounded) per day for a 7 day week, or $50 per day for a 5 day week (meaning a typical 5 business day week of Monday through Friday).
If we go with the business week of $50 a day and break that down hourly for let’s say an 8 hour work day that comes out to about $6.25 an hour.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you charge 6 bucks an hour. Again, this is just a possible way to get a base for your rate. In the example above, you’re only doing one job a month. You might end up doing several a month simultaneously or projects that last longer then a month’s time. But you get the idea of matching an hourly rate to the amount of money you need for you budget.
On top of that you can factor in project scope (including client budget), your experience, how fast the project needs to be turned over, etc.
For me it really depends on the client, the project, and my time with both. Do I see myself working long hours? Or do I see it being a quick and straight forward job? I’ve done $15/hr jobs and I’ve done $50/hr ones. But I’m also still pretty new to the scene.
When are you getting paid?
Having done freelance work for 8+ years now, I tell you to watch out for those who want services for “street cred (portfolio work)”. And those who wish to pay at the end of a project (without a HEFTY deposit up front) but want goods/services up front or along the way (they will never pay you, EVER). Even the big boys will try to screw over the “local yokel”. I did work for NIKE, and got screwed, lost my a$$ with all the red tape and hoops they wanted me to jump through, even after the gig, for weeks I was getting hounded by their “team” for addendum’s and extra shit not included in the original deal. Even local companies (especially mom&pop shops) will cry “poverty” when it comes time to cough up the cash for goods/services rendered. I’ve never met so many poor f#@%ing rich people in my life and I AM POOR (living way below the federal poverty line).
Best video EVER from Mike Monteiro, Design Director, and co-founder of Mule Design Studio -
Just a small addition about the difficult clients:
I have only done freelance a couple of times and luckily for me with decent people: (All british, a coincidence: )
In any case, for the ones that try to get away with your work, I have worked in a digital agency and this is how we would do to make sure to make some money out of it:
First off, establish how much budget they have.
Second ask for a 50% payment upfront
This way, at least, if they run, you get half your cash.
Better than nothing.
Next: In your contract state absolutely EVERYTHING there will be in the website:
All the specs, debugging time, service.
If they go back to hound you: you have the contract signed by both party,
The most difficult issue here is to stick to it and not feel bad about sticking to the deal… some people can be very persuasive. But stick to your contract.
Everytime they ask for more stuff:
It’s not in the contract.
You want it?
New contract, you pay more. You don’t pay for it you don’t get it.
Even grandpas and grandmas shop owner need to accept it.
You too have to eat after all.
Hi, sorry but i don’t agree with this assessment at all. I have been a contractor for +10 years (IT, backEnd stuff) and luckily i have never been out of assignment, but that is not the norm (especially in WebDev i think)… you cant work for “sustenance” while freelancing because you don’t know when your next paycheck is going to be (and i am not even talking about the real possibility of the client not paying the agreed amount or simply not paying at all !!).
My suggestion is: keep doing what you are doing and ask around what rates dev’s charge. Find a couple that are around your level of skill set and have that as a “base” for your rate. Then do a good job and make sure the clients are happy with the outcome. To me, “recurring clients” have been the reason why i keep having projects.
Yeah, that’s business. I used to do translating work. I’ll never forget one guy that wanted to pay me dirt-cheap rates, around $0.01 per word. Fine, at first I took that, but then as he kept coming back to me, I gradually raised my rates to something a little more reasonable. He kept saying “hey, don’t worry, I’ll take care of you,” and I kept saying “I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to enter into a contract for 1 penny a word.” Finally one day he cancelled in the middle of a contract, complaining that I’d ruined his business–apparently his business model depended on finding a quality and dependable translator and exploiting him. I forwent the bill for that last contract–I knew I was never going to get it out of him anyways–and just considered myself fortunate that I’m not actually a slave, that I can in fact say “no, thank you.”
That’s totally fine! No reason to apologize Again, it was just one way to go about it that I found when searching how to calculate my own rate. Perhaps using a “at least one job a month” example wasn’t the right one, but I wanted to keep it simple to show the breakdown of money and rates.
I used it when just starting out, I figured out what I needed per month, added it to what I would personally like to be making per month, weighed it against my experience and the project scope and timeline. Then again my rate changes based on the client, the job, and the project. But I still have that base as my ground work.
In the end, it really comes down to what works for you. Personally I love the idea of creating a baseline rate using other devs on your level.
And absolutely, recurring clients and word of mouth from those clients are our bread and butter.
People who are pricing themselves that low are hurting the entire market by driving the cost of labor to below any reasonable market value and in no way can be earning a real/sustainable living unless they’re getting other subsidies (unemployment benefits, public assistance, etc).
The only people I can see gaining in that scenario is the buyers who are pricing the finished product and making a killing.
Obviously, I would love to earn $75-$150 an hour or more. What I don’t want is to hold out for unreasonably high rates and deprive myself of the ability to attract business at all, when I’d be doing just fine with $40 an hour, let’s say, as my skills continue to improve.
What you need to understand is the difference between CHARGING $75-$100 per hour, and EARNING $75-$100 per hour.
They are not the same. This is what most people don’t understand about freelancing. If you’re CHARGING $100 per hour, you’re likely only EARNING $30-$40 per hour after overhead, administrative tasks, and taxes.
Freelancing is just another word for running your own small business. Revenue != Income.
Of course. But from the customer’s viewpoint, if I’m charging $100 an hour (for example), he’s got to be convinced to pay me $100 for each hour of my time. It makes no difference to him how much of that goes to taxes, overhead, or anything else. So I’m wondering how likely it is that I can actually convince him to pay sums in this range as a junior-level freelancer.
You are aware that there are broad ranges, right? You are aware that both sides, provider and customer, must agree on a price, right? It’s not actually enough for the provider to say “that’s the price”–he’s also got to find a client that will say “okay, I’ll write that check.” His ability to do so largely depends on what most other providers of a similar level of skill will demand for a job of similar complexity and difficulty–which means that he doesn’t just get to make it up. You know all this, right?