What should I ask for an hourly rate?

I would like some advice on how much to quote an hourly rate for
Rails work. Since I am anxious to do some Rails stuff I quote lower
rates for Rails work than other stuff and I have been quoting less
than $40/hour even though I think I am a good developer. The problem I
am having is that I do not have alot of web development experience on
my resume. I have 10 years of C++, some Java, and 3 years of Perl. I
have studied Javascript, HTML, and some CSS and played with all that.
I’ve worked on 2 or 3 actual websites and did some Rails/AJAX stuff,
but I am a good developer. If someone wanted to critque my resume I
can send a copy. I don’t check my yahoo mail that often and it’s full
of spam, if you send me email, perhaps make a note of it here so I
know to check it. I am thinking of going to the unemployment office
for free coaching on interviewing etc.

Thanks

On Jan 31, 2007, at 1:00 PM, surf wrote:

of spam, if you send me email, perhaps make a note of it here so I
know to check it. I am thinking of going to the unemployment office
for free coaching on interviewing etc.

Thanks

I can’t tell you what rate works for you, but I can give you some
general advice.

Figure out what you realistically need to make including taxes and
time between “billable” jobs and then add a profit margin. You’ll
very likely be surprised by the number, but DON’T sell yourself
cheap. Even if you’re “making a living” from a salaried position
doing something else (which I suspect is not the case as you
mention the unemployment office), quoting a low rate in order to get
the work is just increasing the likelihood of finding a client that’s
trying to get the work done “on the cheap.”

I’ve talked to many independent Rails developers and everyone agrees
that they probably aren’t charging enough since they’re fully
consumed at their current rates. No one was anywhere near as low as
$40/hr either.

If you haven’t already, you should look at the jobs/gigs lists below
and respond to every one that you can. Many are looking for
developers with HTML/CSS/JavaScript experience so you may be able to
leverage that against your novice Rails experience. If there’s a
users group near you, that’s also a great place to hear of
opportunities, but make it known that you’re looking. (Even a Java
or PHP group might have leads for you to pursue.)

http://jobs.rubynow.com/
http://gigs.37signals.com/
http://jobs.37signals.com/
http://pragmaticstudio.com/jobs/

-Rob

Rob B. http://agileconsultingllc.com
[email protected]

The rule of thumb for working out an hourly rate is to take your current
yearly salary, or the salary you would like to have, and divide it by
1000. Thus a annual salary of $93000 per year becomes an hourly rate of
93 dollars. This is supposed to take into account considerations of sick
leave, and time off between contracts, as well as some of the costs
involved in being a private contractor.

If you are running a business with staff costs and other overheads, then
you’ll need to factor those in to the equation.

On Feb 1, 11:16 am, John [email protected] wrote:


Posted viahttp://www.ruby-forum.com/.

While this is a valid method for most people, I found it to be a great
way to limit the amount you can earn - in this case to $93K.

If you are going to ask for an hourly rate make sure you ask enough,
otherwise you will be a slave for hire. Keep in mind, there is a
judgment of your abilities according to the rate you charge - the more
you charge the more experienced and professional you are. Low rates
attract people who want work done cheaply, but not professionally.

Another way is to try and gauge how much the work is worth to the
client and charge them accordingly. Sure this is sometimes a harder
sell, but every client has an idea of how much they want to spend on
this problem - the time taken to accept delivery is an evil they would
rather avoid.

If a job is worth $2,000 to the client then charge them that. If you
have the good fortune of getting it done in 2 days, then best of luck
to you. What’s more, if you develop libraries as you go you will be
better setup for the next project (and a Saint if you release them as
a plugin or gem). Sell them on how quickly you can develop a
solution, how well it will be tested and how easily changes can be
made. Be agile and responsive - your client will love you and keep
coming back.

askegg wrote:

On Feb 1, 11:16 am, John [email protected] wrote:


Posted viahttp://www.ruby-forum.com/.

While this is a valid method for most people, I found it to be a great
way to limit the amount you can earn - in this case to $93K.

That depends on how successful you are at getting work and retaining it.
For example if you were able to work an average 40 hour week for 48
weeks, you’d earn a tad over $178K.

If you are going to ask for an hourly rate make sure you ask enough,
otherwise you will be a slave for hire. Keep in mind, there is a
judgment of your abilities according to the rate you charge - the more
you charge the more experienced and professional you are. Low rates
attract people who want work done cheaply, but not professionally.

Definitely. Unless you are desperate for work, it’s not a good idea to
undercut yourself. There are plenty of others out there who will do that
for you.

The caveat here is that when someone is starting out they may need to
prime the pump a little with a slightly lower rate to build up a
reputation.

Another way is to try and gauge how much the work is worth to the
client and charge them accordingly. Sure this is sometimes a harder
sell, but every client has an idea of how much they want to spend on
this problem - the time taken to accept delivery is an evil they would
rather avoid.

If a job is worth $2,000 to the client then charge them that. If you
have the good fortune of getting it done in 2 days, then best of luck
to you.

That’s good advice. As you indicated, it’s not always easy to get this
info. They may be trying to save money, and not be as forthcoming with
all their expectations.

What’s more, if you develop libraries as you go you will be
better setup for the next project (and a Saint if you release them as
a plugin or gem). Sell them on how quickly you can develop a
solution, how well it will be tested and how easily changes can be
made. Be agile and responsive - your client will love you and keep
coming back.

True as well, but if there is a contract check the fine print for
ownership of the source. If the client wants to own the resulting
sourcecode, it can be a major legal hassle not just for the developer
but all of his clients who have software that uses the code. That’s a
sure way to trash your reputation.

Someone just starting out will need to test the waters while they are
doing so. The divide by 1000 method gives a decent method of estimating
what they should be ‘worth’ to a client until they have the skills to
estimate what a job is really worth.

Cheers

Good points. I should have done my sums - $178K is great in anyones
book :slight_smile:

@surf: It’s a scary and empowering thing to go out on your own with
nothing but some skill and an idea. I wish you all the best.

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