One of the most asked questions by starting freelance web developers is how much who should charge clients for your work. You want to take care of yourself and of course offer your work at a acceptable price. You can of course charge by the hour or offer a fixed price for a project.
Start by Determining what you want to earn
It may seem strange not to first look at what the client is willing to pay, but instead at what you want to earn. This is key to become a successful freelance web developer.
The reason you should do this is because if you are fully booked you should be making a good living and must be able to pay the bills, pension etc. If this is not the case, even in the best case scenario you won’t be doing very well.
Lets say you want an income of $50,000 a year as a freelancer. You may add another $10,000 for your pension, social securities etc. Also a profit would be nice. We are going to add a 10% profit a year, which is $5,000. Together you will have to make $65,000 a year.
In a year you should be able to make 1,000 hours. $65,000 / 1,000 = $65 dollar an hour.
Measure against the competition
You now know what you want earn. You now have to find your place in the market. What people are willing to pay a web developer relies mostly on three aspects. Try to take this into account when determining your hourly rate.
Experience If you have a great portfolio with interesting projects and have year s of experience you can ask more then a freelancer who is looking for his/her first project.
Type of work Within web development certain types of work are worth more then others. For example a frontend web designer tends to be paid less then a software architect.
Your location Your location is a great influence in how much you can charge. For example freelancers from the western part of Europe and freelancers from the USA have higher rates then for example the average freelancer from India.
This is not only the case when you offer services locally, but it also has great influence when offering your services online. You would expect the best quality work to be paid the best, but this is not true. Freelancers from countries who are paid less are often seen as “risky” and have to compete against the “trustworthy” freelancers from well paid countries.
Putting it together
Take the rate you want as a baseline and make an adjustments according to your experience, type of work and location. See how it goes from there.
For example most freelance web developers from Western Europe with some good experience charge between $40-$100 an hour.
When offering a fixed price for a project calculate the number of hours you will need to complete the project first. It is important to be very clear and strict with the client what is included and what is not. You don’t want to end up doing 80 hours of work and being paid only 40 for example.
Don’t try to heavily compete on price. Although you have to be reasonable, trying to be a bargain attracts a certain type of customers who only look at the price. I can assure you this is not the type of customer you want.
Try to find a good balance in what you what want to ask and what you can ask. Try not to end up on the low side, as most developers tend to do.