Charging for freelancing

In the past a number of people have asked me how I charge people for freelancing, both in terms of the amount and how I calculate it. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but should provide a rough guide of how I come up with prices.

Per project: If a project is fairly well-defined and has a short timespan—e.g. creating a simple website—I quote a price for the project. Whilst the price is based on a rough idea of the amount of time I will spend on the project, it has the benefit of letting the client know exactly how much the project will cost—assuming they stick to the specification—and gives me an incentive to finish it as quickly as possible.

Per day: For occasions when someone wants me for a set period of time, either to go through some ideas or get as many tasks done as possible within that time (a day is 9am-5pm, with 30 minutes for lunch). In the past I’ve done a day per week for clients, which has worked out well. I also offer a half day rate (9am-1pm or 1pm-5pm) which is slightly higher than half the daily rate.

Per hour: Generally I don’t bill by the hour, as it’s rare for anyone to ask me to take on a task which is less than half a day’s work, and unless I know the client beforehand the cost of billing (and the risk of not getting paid) makes hourly billing unattractive. However, I do offer the option of paying for a fixed number of hours per month, which I charge for regardless of whether the client provides enough work to fill those hours. The hourly rate is less than what my daily rate works out to, because I’m guaranteed a certain amount of income.

I don’t do as much freelancing as I used to—having a full-time job means I only have evenings and weekends free—but the structure above has served me well for the past eight years.