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David John

Pricing Your Services

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Happy New Year!

 

Hopefully this is the correct place to put this question.  For those of you who freelance or do contract work, what is the best way to determine how much to charge clients/customers?  The initial time investment and research was very high, but now that I have completed my project, I can essentially "re-use" the code, making tweaks here and there.  Any advice would be appreciated.

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Many factors should go into your pricing:

  • The current market for comparable work
  • Your abilities
  • Your experience/portfolio
  • Your interest in the job
  • How desperately you need the work

The first sets a baseline and the others increase or decrease that number accordingly. The most important thing, to me, is to not focus on the money. The money is just one thing you get from a project, you also get experience, a portfolio, and a client (which can turn into marketing and more clients). Earning money will help you now; those other things will help you even more so going forward.

 

Not that making money isn't important (and necessary), but if you focus only, or even primarily, on the money, you'll be frustrated. If you "underbid" a job, that's only a serious problem if you could have been doing better work instead. Otherwise, you still got experience and code you can reuse, as you've discovered. 

 

But, to be more concrete, say the going rate for LAMP web development is $80/hour (I have no idea if that's close to right). If you have less experience and fewer skills, maybe you cut that by a quarter: $60/hour. You're not that interested in a particular job, so it'd make it $70/hour, but you desperately need work right now, so it becomes $50/hour. Or even $40. 

 

When I stopped working for clients in 2013, I had some jobs I was less interested in that I charged $125-$150/hour for. And I had some jobs I wanted to do, for the right clients and cause, and I only charged $60-$75. 

 

Balance the amount you charge against all the other things involved!

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