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Re: The rate debate

Community Guru
Robert James R Member Since: Apr 17, 2015
41 of 73

I get Kathryn's POV and also understand the point others made when it came to clarifications on Kathryn's statements.

 

With all that was said, however, this could all be summed up by what Kathryn originally wrote: 

 

"What I choose to charge should not matter to anyone else, as it is the rate I choose to cover my time."

 

While I do try to impose my hourly rate on every client, certain jobs just don't qualify it and if I have a lot of time to kill, I'd go for the low paying ones that are still way above the relatively low rates here on the platform. I'd rather be paid decently and consistenly by an average-paying client than have gaping holes in my work schedule and hope a well-paying client comes to save me tomorrow, the next day, or the next week. And in my country, hope is a cigarette brand, not a strategy. 

 

Yes, I've experienced large gaps before since the niche I float in is highly specialized and clients looking for my type of skillset (and with the right budget) are rare.

 

I imagine if I imposed my current rate with my "average" clients, they wouldn't have me and I'll have at least 15 unpaid hours per week. And don't give me that "you could've used that time to apply for a better client" crap because I still apply despite filling my work schedule so I know I didn't miss anything.

 

With my current clients, I'm glad to have filled my weekly schedule combining both Upwork and private clients so screw me.

 

EDIT: I also like the fact that those who wrote their comments have great grammar! Definitely a sight for sore eyes after editing word salads and SEO-focused "articles"

 

I specially like the way Kathryn writes, she seems authoritative yet respectful at the same time. 

Community Guru
Daniel C Member Since: Nov 21, 2010
42 of 73

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Community Guru
Jennifer D Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
43 of 73

I've been following this thread quite closely. As a client I also encourage good freelancers with low rates to raise their rates. From what so many people say in these forums regularly, us clients apparently only look for the lowest rates (*eyeroll*), so why would I be encouraging people to raise their rates? It's because I agree with many of the posters in this thread - low rates create an impression of low quality and good clients are willing to pay reasonable rates (among other reasons).

 

I feel this thread has got to a point now where there's kind of two groups: one group wants to give what they think is useful advice, and the other group doesn't want to take that advice because they have their own reasons for doing things their own way (and think everyone else does too), so they think the advice is unfounded. Both groups think they are right and don't understand why the other group doesn't get their point.

 

(I'm not criticising, just observing. As you can see from my first paragraph, I belong to one group too.)

Community Guru
Robert James R Member Since: Apr 17, 2015
44 of 73

@Jennifer D wrote:

 

I feel this thread has got to a point now where there's kind of two groups: one group wants to give what they think is useful advice, and the other group doesn't want to take that advice because they have their own reasons for doing things their own way (and think everyone else does too), so they think the advice is unfounded. Both groups think they are right and don't understand why the other group doesn't get their point.

 

(I'm not criticising, just observing. As you can see from my first paragraph, I belong to one group too.)


I'm pro advice specially from the vets in this group but it's how some start shoving it down people's throats that bother me. I think the appropriate term would be Rate-ShamingI came up with the term because some of the advice given in the past have an underlying humiliating factor and want the advice-asker to not only see it from the POV of the advice-giver but also feel guilty for not doing it their way in the first place.

 

The odd part is some of the advice impart with something like a "To each his or her own" line, right after belittling the person whose rates seem too low for what they can do, as if the line can hide the insult in their statement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Guru
Daniel C Member Since: Nov 21, 2010
45 of 73

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Community Guru
Kathryn B Member Since: Jul 22, 2015
46 of 73

Robert - Well said.  Having a low rate or being new is not at all something to be ashamed of.  We all were at one point.  

 

Daniel - THAT!  Thank you.  I honestly just hope this gave everyone a chance to look at things from another point of view.  And I really hope some of the vets would pick up the mentoring suggestions and run with them.  

 

Jennifer D - I honestly hope it's not just two groups, but one big group who can try to see how other's view it without prejudice.  Communities work together to improve things or they fall as a whole.  If there is an issue, it's all of our jobs to mention it and see if we can work together to fix it.  It's not charity, nor foolishness to put one's time into understanding others and help them see a better way.  I hope everyone can see that.

 

Reinier - My meaning for team is community.  Teams work together to make their "home" great.  If we have freelancers afraid to even ask questions on the forum for fear of being shamed, how are we working together to improve anything?  What others think does matter when it comes to a platform we all use for income.  If the platform falls apart, it's our own fault.  

 

Rene - I am slowly raising my rates as I make this more of a full-time job.  For now my time is limited to how little sleep I want to get or how the weather acts (rode in the snow today, was thrown a few times, and the weather will soon limit my outside income).  Overall I realize my rate, though fairly low, is nowhere near as low as others charge and I'm doing ok.  I'm also taking advice from others, reading outstanding material a very kind member offered to me, and making the most of my time.  I fully understand your view, but I can see where some freelancers may not have the nerve to boost their rates.  When you have to choose between boosting your rate and possibly having no work for a while and feeding your family, I cannot blame them for feeding their family.

 

As before, thank you all for keeping this going and if any of the vets here wants to take that mention of mentoring further and maybe create something out of it, KUDOS!  Many vets here give great advice.

~I am only here when I can tolerate having my eyes blasted, my privacy treated like a joke, and my temper pushed to it's limit. For all other times, please request alternate contact methods~
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Community Guru
Reinier B Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
47 of 73

@Kathryn B wrote:

Robert - Well said.  Having a low rate or being new is not at all something to be ashamed of.  We all were at one point.  

 


Reinier - My meaning for team is community.  Teams work together to make their "home" great.  If we have freelancers afraid to even ask questions on the forum for fear of being shamed, how are we working together to improve anything?  What others think does matter when it comes to a platform we all use for income.  If the platform falls apart, it's our own fault.  

 

 

Kathryn, having a sense of community is great, but it comes in at a distant second place after the needs of one's family, and that fuzzy feeling that comes with charging a client a hugely discounted rate. I also don't think the platform wil fall apart if all contractors refuse to work for starvation rates- it is far more likely to do so if more clients see well-intentioned gestures to help them (in the form of charging them reduced rates), as nothing more than a sign of desperation on the part of the contractor, and therefore as something to be shamelessly exploited. 

 

Helping people is great, and we all do it from time to time, but it should never make you look weak or desperate in the eyes of the client you are trying to help. Fortunatley though, the vast majority of clients are honest, upstanding folk who would not dream of taking advantage, but there is always the minority who would spoil everything for everyone, so I have sort of gone off the idea of helping clients. Nowadays I spend time tutoring students, and hopefully, some of my efforts will prevent at least some of them from posting jobs looking for people to do their assignments for them.

 

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
48 of 73

@Reinier B wrote:

 

Kathryn, having a sense of community is great, but it comes in at a distant second place after the needs of one's family, and that fuzzy feeling that comes with charging a client a hugely discounted rate. 

 I think there is a way of being in the world that sees those concerns as all of one piece.

 

Many years ago, when I was single parenting an elementary-school-aged child, I took a job with a start-up company at a lower rate than I might have been able to command elsewhere. I didn't do it just for their benefit, though I did have a strong appreciation for the way they did business; I also wanted to work with them. But, I made a compromise going in and then I put in whatever extra hours it took during the crazy growth phase. At one point, the President of the company offers to pay me overtime (it was a salaried job) for extra work I'm doing at home at night, but I don't pursue that.

 

Fast forward a year, and I encounter serious health problems. I'm unable to work for several weeks, and I'm raising a child on my own with no child support. They just keep paying me. It's never even discussed. Money appears in my bank account, my medical insurance continues, and as I start to get better I start working a little on my laptop on my bed, and eventually I go back to working full time, but do it from home half the time...I would likely not have survived that time, literally or financially, without that community mentality on both sides.

 

Ten years later, I still freelance for the President and CEO of that company, though they're in an entirely different business now. I charge them about 60% of my regular hourly rate and prioritize their projects, and I probably always will. 

Community Guru
Daniel C Member Since: Nov 21, 2010
49 of 73

 

edit: Meh... I'm complaining too much... Smiley LOL

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
50 of 73

Daniel, I was the opposite as you. I was already working in development after I programmed something that I then showed to employers as my "experience." Got lucky and the owner of a startup liked it and it was probably the best job ever. 

 

I went to college working full time too but took a major I was interested in and thought was cool. Then got fired and took out loans. It sucked. The only thing that kept me going was I refused to pay back loans with no degree. lol Another issue I had was working full time meant very few classes every semester, so it took me forever to graduate. Freelancing actually gave me the extra time so I could finally finish.

 

Have you thought of going back? Programming is one of the rare areas where you don't need a degree but it helps a lot. Many managers have a degree and lots of times an MBA, so they like to see it from their schleppers. lol. I even worked for a CIO who was a lawyer.

 

Operations, though, they don't care much about a degree but like certifications. Operations people are a lot cooler IME. Programmers can be **Edited for Community Guidelines**.

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