I am guessing most of you freelancers out there have not asked yourself this question recently; but I think that it is important. When you have been employed for a number of years, or owned your own business for awhile you forget how far you have come.
If I take myself as an example, I can see how much I have grown as a developer since I started. The problem I have is that I am not sure my rate has increased at the same rate as my growth.
The following list is what I see as the most common factors for most businesses:
I would argue the following are usually overlooked:
These three separate the “great” developers from the “ninjas”. The problem for most employers is that they are the “intangibles” of a developer. You don’t know whether a person has them until you have worked with them for a couple projects.
This really is a loaded question. What most people will do is see what local companies similar to you are charging. Of course urban companies charge more than rural companies; and companies in New York can charge more than Winnipeg.
All of that aside I think it really boils down the following question:
How much quality work can you get done in an hour?
It is so simple and yet it makes sense. If I can do double the work of you in an hour, shouldn’t I get double the pay? This doesn’t always happen and other factors limit you, but your worth can be different from your rate.
A bit of a dumb question as you always want to improve at your trade, but I do ask myself this sometimes.
I haven’t told you what you are worth, but I hope I have given you some rulers to measure yourself by.
Respond with your thoughts in the comments on this, or anything regarding freelancing.
For early developers here there is an additional question:
“What do I have to be worth”
The “have to be” is your rent, car payments, groceries, and whether you are a swinging single or support a family (which is like paying for you plus an employee).
What you “have to be worth” is a good rule of thumb for your first rate. If you can’t charge that rate (ie your quality of work or current or lack of professionalism that enables you to demand that rate) – the sky is the limit from there!
Personally I’ve only been driven by what I have to make!
excellent points! You have to be aware of what your cost of living is, monthly expensives and the like to judge what rate you need to get.