Freelance Rate

You have a JD?!?!

If may ask, why are you hanging around with us IT folks?

Do you teach law?

Have to agree with Ted on this one, chatting about rates hardly
constitutes price fixing, but Billy did provide you a wonderful idea- an
anonymous pricing survey. Why don’t you post your own survey, in your
community, on a local or popular job board? Or, if you want to walk on
the sneaky side, post your own “job”, see who nibbles, what skills they
offer and what volume of response you receive and the possibility of
using them to outsource.

Law isn’t fun.

IT is really what I love to do, so I decided to do it. Turned down some
good $ in law jobs, but it’s good money for 80 hours a week of really
dry
paper-pushing. That’s not me! I’d seriously jump off a cliff.

On 6/26/06, Ted K. [email protected] wrote:

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title7/ant00007.htm

While seeing the actual law is useful, it’s still open to
interpretation. JD or not, I hope you won’t mind if I don’t take your
advice over every other source I’ve found on this:

http://www.morebusiness.com/running_your_business/legal/d935705578.brc
http://www.limov.com/journal/?jm=1&e=1061

That second link is particularly interesting because the person has
done a lot of research, including talking to an attorney.

And if you think the discussions are a waste of time, that’s fine, you don’t
have to participate. I think they are potentially very helpful to someone
just hanging out his own shingle. It’s tempting to sell yourself short if
you are new to consulting.

Agreed, but discussing how you price yourself would be much more
useful. What criteria you use to set your prices, when you offer
discounts, what overhead costs to plan for. Talking actual dollar
amounts is just silly because the market varies too much.

Of course, this whole thing is highly off-topic for this list. Now if
someone would write a quick pricing calculator and/or survey app…


Billy M.
Smart Goat Web Design
http://www.smartgoat.com

Ted K. wrote:

Law isn’t fun.

IT is really what I love to do, so I decided to do it. Turned down some
good $ in law jobs, but it’s good money for 80 hours a week of really
dry
paper-pushing. That’s not me! I’d seriously jump off a cliff.

Law isn’t fun? Now that’s flame bait!

I’m a lawyer, and I find my job very interesting. Clients come up with
some interesting situations for me to work on. On the other hand, I
program for fun but I can imagine a life in IT that is dreary. I
suppose it depends upon one’s circumstances.

Joerg,

There is no “I charge xx amount” answer for this question that will make
you successful or fall within some pre-concieved norm.

The question shouldn’t be “How much am I worth?” It should be instead,
“How much is what I’m doing for my client worth?”

In some cases your client will be a small business that only needs a
very basic web application. The more you understand their bottom line
and get a feel for what role this application will play in their
operation the easier you can see how it might fit into their budget.

Similary, you may be approached by a much larger company asking for
something more complex where you would have to potentially hire
contracted services from a local graphic designer and potentially
another programmer to help you out. Those factors will figure in first
and foremost. Then you can evaluate, in the same ways as the small
business, what the application is worth to the company.

So…don’t say, “I’m Joerg and I cost 65 dollars per hour.” You’ll want
to say, “I’m Joerg. I can offer you a full solution that will impact
your business. This project will cost … to complete. That is based
on the level of complexity of the project, my hourly rate of XX dollars
per hour, and an initial estimate of time to complete.”

If you go this route just be very certain you’re working for time &
materials and that you’ve made it clear your initial price was an
estimate based on full cooperation, a set scope of work, and current
external project requirements (like contracting graphic design, etc.).

Sorry, but this topic frequently makes my blood pressure rise just a
little
bit. Seems to come up every so often on many different lists.

A little research goes a long way:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_fixing
http://apa.pmai.org/readall/antitrustlaw.html
http://webdesign-l.com/policies/#subectMatter

Hmm.

The Wikipedia article (not my idea of a great source) pretty clearly
indicates that this discussion wouldn’t be price fixing. It’s footnotes
are
pathetic - they rely heavily on the “Art Publishers Association”
materials,
and those contain virtually nothing outside of speculation and
guesswork.

The APA article isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on; it’s speculation
and
guesswork, with the legal heft of my cat’s breakfast.

The third article doesn’t seem to mention price fixing at all.

Someone else brought up the HTML Writer’s Guild policy. That one makes
my
cat’s breakfast look like a professionally prepared legal document; it’s
precisely the sort of pseudo-legal drivel that should make 100% of its
readers assume that the Guild doesn’t have the faintest idea what
they’re
talking about. A quote from the article:

“According to either Marshall Kragen or Lewis Rose (both practicing
lawyers), several brokers in DC were successfully prosecuted for simply
discussing an increase of fees at a dinner meeting.”

The National Enquirer would be embarrassed to print something sourced
like
that. Better to say “My brother-in-law’s wife’s daughter is a lawyer,
and
she says it’s legal, except in Georgia.” After you’ve finished rolling
around the floor laughing your guts out, feel free to ignore the rest of
the
article. There’s no information there at all.

Look for actual, honest-to-Ghod legal work on this one. Most of the
stuff
you find Googling is worse than useless.

  • James M.

I wonder what DHH’s freelance rate is…

BTW, I don’t find this discussion useless. And it’d be next to
impossible to price fix with the vast amount of freelancers out there,
world-wide.

Joe

Screw talking about it, let’s go all the way!

Let’s price fix

I say $100 an hour or no Rails work. If we all agree to this it will
work but if any one of you undercuts us, there will be hell to pay.

Who’s with me?!?

United we stand.

Pricefixing is nothing to worry about, we couldn’t pull it off even if
we wanted to…

The question shouldn’t be “How much am I worth?” It should be instead,
“How much is what I’m doing for my client worth?”

Exactly. Where is the budget coming from, what are their goals and how
do they relate to those of the company? Is your project an experiment? A
threat to another team? Smaller companies will expect more, the money is
more personal. Larger companies won’t want to tell you much, though they
cut checks much easier and generally have a framework for consultants in
place.

Other helpful tidbits:

-Give yourself some wiggle room, “Based on the initial requirements,
similar projects in the past were in the range of x to y”. You can
always change the game later, ie when the scope and requirements change.
Just “x” limits you a bit, especially if their req has “y” in the rate
col and x>y.

-Always introduce yourself to accounting or whoever will cut your check.
If you need to invoice, ask them what format they prefer, timing etc. If
some day there are seven invoices and only money to pay three, the nice
guy usually gets the check.

-Admins can make or break you, they often have better relationships with
management than directors/managers/project leads etc. Never mistake
their title for their role.

-Greg

Tim C. wrote:

Screw talking about it, let’s go all the way!

Let’s price fix

I say $100 an hour or no Rails work. If we all agree to this it will
work but if any one of you undercuts us, there will be hell to pay.

Who’s with me?!?

United we stand.

Pricefixing is nothing to worry about, we couldn’t pull it off even if
we wanted to…

I will do Rails work for $99/hour.

Joe

Ted K.'s post was really useful - thanks!

While seeing the actual law is useful, it’s still open to
interpretation. JD or not, I hope you won’t mind if I don’t take your
advice over every other source I’ve found on this:

You’re comparing a really, really good source to a bunch of random
stuff
you found in Google, though.

It’s not the actual text of the law, it’s what the United States
Department
of Justice thinks the law says.

Thousands of random Google junk links versus the DOJ? I think we can
all
sleep soundly, knowing that any legal documents served to us on this one
will be delived by flying saucers.

Found another interesting one while looking for the airline price fixing
info:

http://www.ftc.gov/speeches/other/confbd4.htm

“If the industry structure is not conducive to coordination, perhaps
because
entry is easy or because a firm could cut prices in secret and steal
business from rivals, a court must recognize that it would be irrational
for
the firms to engage in the forbidden process which the courts term an
agreement, risking prosecution with no hope of gaining market
power.(16)”

  • James M.

On Jun 26, 2006, at 9:06 PM, Greg Dba wrote:

-Always introduce yourself to accounting or whoever will cut your
check.
If you need to invoice, ask them what format they prefer, timing
etc. If
some day there are seven invoices and only money to pay three, the
nice
guy usually gets the check.

What? Were you born yesterday? Nice guys get their check last. The
outfit that bitches the loudest gets paid first. I have never
witnessed the converse happening (anecdotes * n = data).

-Admins can make or break you, they often have better relationships
with
management than directors/managers/project leads etc. Never mistake
their title for their role.

Okay, so you aren’t a total newbie. :slight_smile:

cr

Chuck R. wrote:

On Jun 26, 2006, at 9:06 PM, Greg Dba wrote:

-Always introduce yourself to accounting or whoever will cut your
check.
If you need to invoice, ask them what format they prefer, timing
etc. If
some day there are seven invoices and only money to pay three, the
nice
guy usually gets the check.

What? Were you born yesterday? Nice guys get their check last. The
outfit that bitches the loudest gets paid first. I have never
witnessed the converse happening (anecdotes * n = data).

-Admins can make or break you, they often have better relationships
with
management than directors/managers/project leads etc. Never mistake
their title for their role.

Okay, so you aren’t a total newbie. :slight_smile:

cr

Sorry Charly- you must have been one of the chumps that didn’t get paid-
heh heh. Nice doesn’t mean pushover. It’s common sense- if there isn’t
enough money to go around, all else being equal, the person they like
gets paid first. If they don’t know you from your contractor number,
well, good luck. I’ve gotten paid twice this way when others got
stiffed. Granted, that was in days past, when lots more companies went
belly up, but a pleasant conversation and a pound of Brasilian coffee
can go a long way. And if you do botch your invoice- your first check
may hang for a while, simply on procedural levels.

Now, if it’s no-pay instead of slow-pay, then I agree, no amount of
sweetalking is gonna help ya there, find the biggest stick you can and
swing wildly…

Good idea!

But…the rate is too low.

Hell, as long as we’re going to corner the market…

:slight_smile:


– Tom M.

On Jun 26, 2006, at 9:41 AM, Billy M. wrote:

Agreed, but discussing how you price yourself would be much more
useful. What criteria you use to set your prices, when you offer
discounts, what overhead costs to plan for. Talking actual dollar
amounts is just silly because the market varies too much.

All of these subjects for discussion (criteria, discounts, overhead)
are all absolutely worthless to discuss in a market economy, as the
only logical means for setting pricing is to set your pricing in a
way that optimizes your income, i.e. charge as much as you possibly
can.


– Tom M.

From my experience I have found this to be true.

30-50/hr - Entry level contractor with little to no client base, or
doesn’t
realize that they can charge more

50-75/hr - Have enough clients to turn down a job or two, but is still
very
eager to expand and grow

75-100/hr - Sustained client base, their service is in demand, and they
are
able to charge a premium.

100-150/hr - Expert consulting, which is beginning to separate
themselves
from other competitors with specialized experience, and a client list of
references to ensure success, and build instant trust before the
contract is
landed.

150-250/hr - This is the league of lawyers and high priced Chartered
Accountants. You have an extensive client list, very high caliber of
experience, and you offer a solution or services which a) can’t be done
by
anyone else, b) you are at the level of offering a team based solution,
mostly in the case of a firm, c) are able to do as much productivity
wise as
3x the 50/hr contractors.

250+ - Haven’t yet seen anyone at this level yet :wink: If there is someone
out
there that charges this, would be nice to know what separates you from
the
rest.

Nathaniel.

On 6/26/06 11:16 PM, “Tom M.” [email protected] wrote:

you are new to consulting.
can.

Nathaniel B. wrote:

250+ - Haven’t yet seen anyone at this level yet :wink: If there is someone
out
there that charges this, would be nice to know what separates you from
the
rest.

I’ve heard of law FIRMS charging as much as $500/hour.

Joe

I’ve heard of law FIRMS charging as much as $500/hour.

Joe

We have a lawyer that charges $700 per hour and he’s been worth every
cent. I hear David Boies and Larry Tribe get over $1000 per hour. In
the UK it’s more per hour than the US but they bill fewer hours per
project it seems.

Good work if you can get it. Pretty sure it’s not boring either.

2006/6/21, Joerg D. [email protected]:

Not sure where to address this question … but I guess this is a good
start. I am a freelance Rails developer - and have been developing Rails
apps professionally for about a year now. I just want to get an idea of
what you other freelancers charge yourselves out at. I have been
charging the equivalent of about $28/hour, but get a sense that I
could/should charge a whole lot more. I am about to embark on an 8 month
project - and need to get an idea whether I need to negotiate my
contract a little better.

Just found this:
http://www.blueflavor.com/ed/tips_tricks/pricing_a_project.php

Bye !

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