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lenaellis
Member

Poll: Hourly Vs. Fixed Price which do you prefer?

Hey everyone!

 

We wanted to check in with our users to find out which job type they prefer hourly or fixed price, and why? 

If you prefer fixed-price, what would encourage you to work hourly?

If you work hourly, what would encourage you to work fixed-price jobs?

 

Thanks!

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57 REPLIES 57
petra_r
Member

I like both equally!

 

I mix hourly and fixed rate project, with the hourly ones generally being more long term and the fixed rate ones more one offs.

 

Personally I find that I am more productive on hourly contracts than fixed rate ones, as I don't allow myself to be distracted.

 

Because of that I find that hourly contracts are a more profitable way to use my time.

 

Generally I go with client preference though.

Fixed price.

 

And a number of my fixed price projects have been long term.

 

> If you prefer fixed-price, what would encourage you to work hourly?

 

Either being so broke I had no choice but to seek hourly work, it being a request from a client with whom I've already established a relationship and they have a good reason for the choice, or the project being so absolutely amazing I'd drag myself over glass to do it.

 

If people feel they have to watch me while I work, they can come here and make me coffee while they do it.

versailles
Member

 

> which job type they prefer hourly or fixed price, and why? 

 

Fixed for translation & writing, hourly for editing & proofreading.

 

Translation works fine when charged per word. Rates may vary depending on the subject, but it works better on fixed prices.

 

For writing, I can estimate the workload, plus I don't feel using hourly for writing.

 

Editing & proofreading works better on hourly because the amount of work needed depends on the quality of the text and this is not something that I know how to estimate in advance.

 

> If you prefer fixed-price, what would encourage you to work hourly?

> If you work hourly, what would encourage you to work fixed-price jobs?

 

Nothing, both are adapted to different kinds of work and there is no need to use one instead of the other.

 

Wow, wow, wait a minute here! What are you guys up to again? No shenanigans I hope.

 

Listen, just leave it as it is. Don't try to fix stuff that is not broken.

 

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless

Fixed price only.

 

I shudder at the thought of the time tracker peering over my shoulder all the time. As another poster said, if someone wants to watch me work, they should make themselves useful while they do it.

I do both.

 

But I prefer hourly contracts, of course.

 

I earn a lot more money doing hourly contracts.

 

It is difficult to bill for all the time spent working on a fixed-price contract, such as when clients have questions or request changes.

 

So even though I provide quotes for fixed-price contracts calculated at twice what I think the project would cost with an hourly contract, I still earn much more money doing hourly contract work.

 

I am very restrictive and selective about what kind of tasks I will do with a fixed-price contract. It needs to be very specific, well-defined, and I need all the input data and specifications before I accept such a contract.

Rene, haha don't worry! We're not going to make anyone go with one or another, just curious why folks prefer one or the other, and if there are any big issues about either one that we can help with.

vdubeau
Member

Ditto what Preston said.

"Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
Buckaroo Banzai
vieniav
Member

I prefer hourly jobs over fixed-price ones. I think it all narrows down to how well you can estimate the workload before you accept the contract.

 

As a developer, I find it extreme hard to reasonably estimate the hours needed on development jobs, where clients' requirements often changes and gets more complicated as the project evolves. Sometimes it can well take me a net worth of up to 10 hours BEFORE I accept a fixed price job offer, just to discuss the scope of work with the client and to clearly understand the bigger picture and what exactly they want. Some clients just don't know what they want and you have go through it with them to pin down the logic of the app to be developed. With an hourly contract, I can dive into the work earlier and it is easier to estimate the workload once you have done (and are paid for) some part of it. In other words, with a fixed-price job, I have to go through all the smallest details and logic of the app in advance, and account for them when I give the client a quote. Quote too high, you wouldn't get the job as the client woudn't understand why it would take too much time and money. Quote too low? You know that pain.

 

It will not be that bad once you have done a few jobs with that client and you understand them enough to know that if they estimate something to take 2 hours, it will take 10 hours in reality, and quote accordingly.

kat303
Member

It actually depends on the type of job. For a job that you know is not going to have any rewrites or revisions, or a specifically set number of hours then it would be fixed rate.

 

IF the job is going to take a lot of revisions, edits and changes then hourly so you'll get paid for he number of hours those revision etc will take up.

I prefer fixed-price jobs, though hourly jobs are a bit more consistent in pay dates.  If you want to promote hourly, you'd likely be best to promote them on the client end I think.  Convince them that they are better off posting an hourly contract and then we'll have no choice if they all switch to that format.

~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~

Convince them that they are better off posting an hourly contract and then we'll have no choice if they all switch to that format.

 

Yes we will. We can choose to work elsewhere.



Convince them that they are better off posting an hourly contract and then we'll have no choice if they all switch to that format.


 I bid on hourly jobs all the time. I just include my fixed price terms in the body of the proposal.

jcullinan
Member

Hourly ONLY.

 

For design work, there is no way to tell how many revisions a client will want. Limiting the number of revisions up front is one way to deal, but if they want just one more little thing changed after that, it's an additional negotiation instead of just clocking back in and getting paid for the time. Scope creep is always an issue with design work, and while I'm VERY good at estimating how long the initial phase will take me, it's up to the client after that.

 

The tracker is very inobtrusive once you get used to the idea that you can't multi-task with non-work related stuff while on the clock (duh). And in design work, the client really enjoys seeing the evolution of their piece through my screenshots - it gives them a good sense of how it all comes together.

 

With the way Upwork is configured, working hourly is also the only way to guarantee that I'll get paid for all the hours I track. Fixed price is a scam in this regard, even with escrow. Too many loopholes and ways for clients to skinny out of paying up. No thanks. I will NEVER work fixed price.

Thanks everyone! This is great feedback and it does make sense that certain job categories would warrant a contract type over another. For those users who work on hourly contracts, is there anything you would change about the timetracker or aspects of the hourly work process?

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@Lena E wrote:

 For those users who work on hourly contracts, is there anything you would change about the timetracker or aspects of the hourly work process?


The security hold, especially with long term clients...

Hourly - strong preference.

 


Doing CPA services, there is no fair way to estimate time in response to a fixed price job. 

 

I have taken several in which the Client's data was such that it took 2-3X times what I contemplated.

 

Consequently, if I bid on a fixed price job, I put in a cushion and usually lose because of my high bid.

 

I have no issues with time tracker except one - a reminder if no activity in last several minute or two.  I have forgotten to put it in "Off" if I get a call while working.  Then I have to spend effort reducing the billed time.

Joseph M. C. ,P.C., CPA/ABV

Hi Joseph C - while we don't have that exact reminder currently, if you don't know about it, we do have a reminder you can turn on while time tracking that asks if you're still working.  If you go to Settings -> Reminders, you can turn it on to ask you if you're still working on a specified activity or memo every x minutes. You can still use it even if you haven't entered in an activity or memo.

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 11.18.03 AM.png

Fixed price only. Or hourly manual (have to completely trust the client for this). That tracker simply paralyzes me - end of.

The tracker only counts increments from 10 minute marks around the hour, so if I log in at 2:05 and log out at 2:45 I might get paid for 30, 40 or 50 minutes depending on when the screenshots hit. I'd like to be able to start working when I want instead of having to wait until the clock hits a zero, and the same with turning it off.

 

I also hate the keystrokes thing. Not a good measure of work activity if one is doing research, for example, and has to read a long article and take paper notes on it.

tlsanders
Member

I strongly prefer fixed price jobs. Outside of Upwork, I am willing to work hourly if the client feels strongly about it, but I don't think I would ever work hourly through Upwork unless the way time tracking and payment worked changed radically. I'm not able to use the time tracker, since much of my work involves research, paper notes, etc. and am not willing to leave all payment to chance simply because my work doesn't involve constant keystrokes.

Hy!

 I worked for my first client about 4 hours. And it is showing 'You got 5$ bonus'. My hourly rate was 5$. So what now? will i get 25$(including bonus). Or bonus is my total amount if not when i will get 25$. Does upwork deducts money counting clicks?

    Thank You

Hi Inam,

 

Yes, the $5 bonus is an additional amount your client submitted. You will be receiving $25 in total. To learn more about how the weekly billing cycle works, please check out this help article. Thanks!

~ Joanne
Upwork
gnakeur
Member

I prefer hourly jobs. 

Couple of days before client asked me for an estimate. I initially thought about 3 hours, but I asked the client to change to hourly as I was not sure and it is often hard to estimate in my category. I spent about 12 hours on this project...

 

But I do a lot of fixed priced contracts. Some clients just prefer fixed prices(including me), some jons are quite straightforward.

 

And it so nice to look at report tab as you work on an hourly job!

Both.

 

Assessment writing is fixed rate.

 

For writing, I prefer hourly contracts because they curb scope creep. However, I negotiate based on the client's preference. I always present them with the two options, and lately, they've been setting up hourly contracts.

 

The only reason I am NOT fond of hourly is due to the reason Petra stated above. 

lysis10
Member

I do both. I don't really care that much. I tell people how much I will charge them anyway, which I know defeats hourly but hourly is kinda nice cuz they can just say "can you get this done" and I give them a time frame instead of them creating a milestone without asking

csjarmitage
Member

I only work hourly and, to throw an additional wrench in the works, I only use manual time. Because I trust my clients and have been working with them for a while, I feel like the risk level is acceptable.

 

I'm on the phone approximately 50% of my work day and the tracker isn't built for that sort of work. 

 

I'll echo Petra and say that I would really appreciate it if the security hold could be shortened for client/freelancer relationships that have been in place for a while. 

I very seldom do fixed rate jobs.  Paralegal jobs are much more compatible with hourly work.  

 

The time tracker doesn't bother me a bit because in most law firms everyone tracks their time, sometimes manually and sometimes with a tracker.  This includes attorneys, of course.  I don't like manual tracking as I've found over the years that I actually lose time with manual tracking.

 

I doubt that I've ever had a client who actually looked at my screenshots.

mohamedghamad
Member

I prefer hourly jobs but I usually pick fixed price ones. Allow me to elaborate.

Ideally, I think of hourly jobs to be the default logical option and to be my base reference for a certain job. Getting paid for the exact time you spend while working seems fair for all parties.

 

Keeping that in mind, fixed price jobs should be an equivalent amount of money for an estimated number of hours before that job become completed. I would call it a very strict maximum number of hours per week/job, so if I misjudged the time required then it's my fault and I am okay with it. Clients like this.

However, the said fixed price may sometimes fluctuate.
It may become less than that of my reference if I am seeking to secure a relatively long job. In that case, I am sacrificing a small amount of money for the sake of commitment. This usually happens when I don't want to continuously look for new job opportunities without any success in landing even one of them.

The main problem with hourly jobs is that most of the time I spend during a job is wasted in learning how to actually do it. Don't get me wrong but this fact applies to some of the web scraping jobs I have recently completed. I had to lookup too many things before I could write a functional code that can be used with the job's website.

This view of mine is affected by the fact that I work part time and is also affected by the job category I look for.

 

I am glad both contract options are available anyway.

mtngigi
Member


@Lena E wrote:

Hey everyone!

 

We wanted to check in with our users to find out which job type they prefer hourly or fixed price, and why? 

If you prefer fixed-price, what would encourage you to work hourly?

If you work hourly, what would encourage you to work fixed-price jobs?

 

Thanks!


Thanks for asking this question, Lena. What will Upwork do with the information?

 

After working a few hourly jobs in my early days on Elance, I said enough. First client kept asking "what are you doing, what are you working on", why can't I see anything? I'm drawing โ€ฆ on a pad, with a pencil โ€ฆ remember pencils โ€ฆ remember pads?


I didn't know I was going to be spied on. When that thingy taking screen shots came up, like Nichola, I froze. Hated every minute of it. Keystrokes, shmestrokes โ€ฆ it sucks having someone look over my shoulder. The freedom of freelancing means no more punching a time clock. Been there, done that โ€ฆ don't need to buy the t-shirt.


Much preliminary work cannot be measured by keystrokes. When I'm working on more than one project at a time and have multiple windows open, I don't want clients to see each other's projects.

 

As Preston suggests, I'm selective about what I include in my bids. I have always gotten paid - always. There has never been a time I've worried about not being paid, because I work with clients I can trust (yes, you can lol at that if you want). I've never been scammed. Have I had clients who have given me pause, of course โ€ฆ who hasn't? But I have always been paid.

 

Flat rate does not mean you have to limit anything, it just means you (and the client) have to be sensible and set expectations up front. It's not that difficult.

 

Keep the "free" in freelancing is my mantra.

iaabraham
Member


@Rene K wrote:

Wow, wow, wait a minute here! What are you guys up to again? No shenanigans I hope.

 

Listen, just leave it as it is. Don't try to fix stuff that is not broken. 


That was my immediate thought too. But here's my input.

 

Most of my jobs have been hourly and that's the kind of contract I prefer. Two reasons I'm on Upwork include the convenient way of tracking my working hours (using the the tracker) and the fact that Upwork provides payment protection on hourly payments. (And kudos to Upwork, which recently came through for me when a long-term client went AWOL and didn't pay me for the work I did).

 

A couple of areas of improvement regarding hourly contracts:

 

- Please shorten the in-review period + security hold time that it takes to get our money.

- Please reconsider sufficient activity levels as a criterion for the payment guarantee. This just doesn't work when, for example, you're proofreading a text that has very few mistakes and therefore needs very few keystrokes.

 

 

I like having the occasional fixed-price job but I hate it when scope-creep clients take advantage of this kind of contract, which happens way too often with me. I also wish there were some sort of guarantee for milestones because I've had a client withraw his payment method after already funding the milestone...

ashcul90
Member

I only work fixed price jobs for a few reasons.

 

-The idea of screenshots creeps me out.

-Like other freelancers have said, much of my time is spent researching and taking paper notes. I also like outlining my ideas on paper first, so actual typing/keystrokes is a small percentage of my work.

-With my 2-year-old running around and wreaking havoc, there's constant stopping and starting involved in my writing, which I feel would make the Time Tracker too much of a hassle. I'm sure my client would wonder why I seem to only work in 15-minute increments.

 

The only thing I don't like about fixed price jobs is that instead of seeing the number of jobs I've completed, clients only see that I have zero hours, which I'm sure has lost me some jobs here and there.

tj1972
Member

Both.

It depends of course, but most of the time I give both options in the proposal. 

You asked what can be changed - so, the answer is so called "security period". 

Honestly, I do not understand what "security" you do for that long on both fixed and hourly contracts?
Both sides, freelancer and client, have all relevant information made avaible (accounts valid, cards, paypal, etc.) - what else you need to make funds released promply?

As I remember, on Elance fixed was immidiate pay. (Only during last couple month, by the way when Odesk took over, it was made 2 or 3 days).

davidd1008
Member

As a writer, I generally work on a fixed price per word basis. So for that reason, I prefer the fixed rate jobs to hourly. 

 

I don't mind working hourly, it's just that it usually winds up being in favor of either myself or the client. Myself, if I have to do more research than anticipated or work on multiple revisions. The client if it's a subject I'm already well-versed in and can write pretty quickly. 

 

The one good thing about the hourly jobs is the automatic payment. Sometimes it can be a struggle to get a client to fund, approve, and release each milestone. Especially with long-term clients.

 

That's why when I've established a relationship with a client, I'll float the idea of moving to an hourly contract with manual time. That way each week I simply plug in a few hours and it automatically bills. 


@David D wrote:

As a writer, I generally work on a fixed price per word basis. So for that reason, I prefer the fixed rate jobs to hourly. 

 

I don't mind working hourly, it's just that it usually winds up being in favor of either myself or the client. Myself, if I have to do more research than anticipated or work on multiple revisions. The client if it's a subject I'm already well-versed in and can write pretty quickly. 

 

The one good thing about the hourly jobs is the automatic payment. Sometimes it can be a struggle to get a client to fund, approve, and release each milestone. Especially with long-term clients.

 

That's why when I've established a relationship with a client, I'll float the idea of moving to an hourly contract with manual time. That way each week I simply plug in a few hours and it automatically bills. 


 I get what you are saying, but why would it be neccessary to work on multiple revisions? What sort of writing do you do that requires multiple revisions? I'm only asking because I have never had to revise anything in the more than 7000 astronomy articles and  research papers, or advanced automotive diagnostic guides I have written over the past ten years. 

 

I just don't get it; if you know your subject, why do you have to revise anything multiple times?

@David

 

Why is it a struggle for you?

 

I am clear with every client that work begins and continues with each fully funded milestone. I've not had to wrangle long term clients to move forward with each milestone. I'm curious as to the factors differentiating our experiences?


@Kat C wrote:

@David

 

Why is it a struggle for you?

 

I am clear with every client that work begins and continues with each fully funded milestone. I've not had to wrangle long term clients to move forward with each milestone. I'm curious as to the factors differentiating our experiences?


 I have clients who get wrapped up in other things and don't get around to setting up the next milestone promptly. There's no "struggle"--I just do something else and when they get around to setting it up I tell them what kind of timeline is reasonable given my current commitments. But, they don't always act promptly.


@Tiffany S wrote:

@Kat C wrote:

@David

 

Why is it a struggle for you?

 

I am clear with every client that work begins and continues with each fully funded milestone. I've not had to wrangle long term clients to move forward with each milestone. I'm curious as to the factors differentiating our experiences?


 I have clients who get wrapped up in other things and don't get around to setting up the next milestone promptly. There's no "struggle"--I just do something else and when they get around to setting it up I tell them what kind of timeline is reasonable given my current commitments. But, they don't always act promptly.


This exact scenario just happened last month.

 

I'm ghostwriting for a client. Everything goes through the first two milestones. He did fully fund the third (and final milestone), then disappeared. Subsequently, he rematerialized in January. Unfortunately, the contract had been dormant for so long that Upwork closed it. He sent a new contract. 

 

No struggle. 

 

If he hadn't escrowed the next milestone, I would have just said, I'll start work as soon as you escrow the next milestone. 

 

If no response, well, I have other clients who have all their ducks in a row. So, I move on to my next deadline task. 

The nice thing about hourly is none of that release escrow bs. I really like that I get paid at a set time. I've gotten to a point though that all of my escrow clients release quick, so it's not a huge deal but then you get the new client that you wonder if you're gonna have to fight them. 

 

The strug is real.

Interesting...

 

I don't  struggle with the money end. Always good there.

 

It is the scope creep that has been a prior battle.

 

Not any more. Big lessons learned on that front.