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Setting a Reasonable Rate

Active Member
Danielle S Member Since: Aug 10, 2015
1 of 12

I have tried to look at the other freelancers bidding on jobs and profiles in my field to get an idea of what to charge. With a great deal of training and education I feel I am worth my current rate ($15), but I will send proposals for jobs that don't require the same expertise for a bit less, but still comfortable for me. 

I see a great deal of freelancers with wages at far beneath minimum wage. With this kind of personnel available, do people generally hire more expensive and quality workers, or go with the lowest bidder? 

Has anyone here had moderate success with charging a a rate comperable to what you would make in the field in an office, with consideration given to your skills?

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 12

I live in a cheaper part of the US (not cheap cheap but intermediate), and the going rate for a full time intermediate to experienced dev is about $40-$50/hour. I charge $55 and I even get "OMG SO EXPENSIVE" from other devs in my area. lol Well, that's because I hit them with writing and not dev work. One time, a guy said to me "You are asking more than what the engineers are making" lol

 

Anyway, I think there is a sweet spot for charging. It depends on your skill level and expertise. It also depends on your proposal and sales ability. It took me years to figure it out (call me slow lol).

 

The only way you can charge higher is to:

 

1) Have something unique and valuable to offer that competitors can't

2) Killer proposal that connects with the customer

3) Communicate ideas well in the customer's language

4) A good portfolio and samples 

 

I did not look at your profile, but it's difficult to charge higher when someone can do it for cheaper and at the same quality. What do you provide that you know most others can't?

 

Also, I believe it was Daniel who said it. Bid even while you have work going on. It's much much easier to tell someone that you won't work for cheap when you don't need it. 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
3 of 12

Hi Danielle, and WELCOME!

 

There are some terms you may want to erase from your vocabulary when working as a freelancer on a global, online platform.

 

One of them is "wage" - you are not on a wage, you are not an employee. Along with that also forget "minimum wage" - "Minimum wage" for where? There are freelancers on this site who live in countries where the minimum wage is $ 0.19 an hour and yes, the decimal point is in the right place.

 

This is not a place, or an office, so much of what applies in that world in your location does not apply here. "Here" is "The Internet" where prices are determined by a complex combination of supply, demand, niche skills, and perceived value.

 

Having said that, your rate is not excessively high, but you are in an extremely competitive field. If I were you I would put some empathis onto factors that distinguish you from people who will (and can) apply at a third of your rate and less, such as the fact that you are US based and a native English speaker. Find your USP (Unique Selling Point) and use it hard, on your profile and in every proposal you send out!

 

You may want to spruce up your overview a bit more It doesn't stand out that much. It's what decides whether a client contacts you or not so make the first paragraph, especially, really sell you and your skills. Lose the words "Data Entry!" That field is where the lowest bids meet the greediest clients. You'd be wasting your time and having the words in your overview will attract "clients" who prey on the unaware and newbies.

 

Add if you can do phone support which is where a native US voice and accent will be a super selling point and a factor that will justify a higher rate.

 

Personally I find that there are quite a few clients who will go for what they perceive "value for money" even if the chosen freelancer submitted one of the highest bids. Value is not synonymous with "cheap!"

 

I have also found that the clients who are prepared to pay higher rates are the clients who treat their (more expensive) freelancers with more respect, and are actually LESS demanding, not more so.

 

Keep applying, check clients' profiles carefully before applying, look at the average rate they paid, look at their previous and ongoing projects, work on your profile, keep taking tests, and don't give up.

 

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 12

re: "With this kind of personnel available, do people generally hire more expensive and quality workers, or go with the lowest bidder?"

 

Depends on the client.

 

A lot of my clients find me because they are specifically looking for the most expensive contractors available in my job niche.

 

They feel (rightly so) that this will save them money.

Active Member
Danielle S Member Since: Aug 10, 2015
5 of 12

Thank you Petra. Your advice is insightful and extremely helpful. I will make changes directly. 

I suppose it was a mistake to rely on my work experience instead of directly speaking to my skills in my overview. I'll work on that. 

While I understand that I am not working for a wage in this situation, I am also in a position where it isn't necessary for me to use skills that I have spend thousands of dollars and a decade learning in order to make $5/hr. It's simply not worth my time. I used the office scenario as a reference because when signing up for Upwork the site itself recommended that I set my rate keeping in mind the amount I'd be paid doing the same work in an office. I suppose instead I will simply keep myself at what I feel is fair and keep that in mind when sending proposals. 

Thanks again for all the helpful responses. I will make adjustments directly and hopefully do well. 

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
6 of 12

Danielle,

 

Yes.

 

Best,

Michael

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 12

Danielle,

I think you're on the right track.

 

Just remember: The client is interested in what you can do for her.


Period.

 

The client should never hear about how much money or time you spent to get an education. The client should never hear about your expenses or taxes or how much you pay your dog sitter.

 

What can you do for the client? How will the client benefit from hiring you.

 

"I have a Masters Degree" is not a benefit to the client.

 

"I will handle all of your incoming email in a way that will convert more demo requests to sales" IS a benefit to the client.

Community Guru
Joachim M Member Since: Mar 23, 2015
8 of 12

@Preston H wrote:

 

 The client should never hear about your expenses or taxes 


 Preston,

 

IMHO one exception. If I have to explain to a client why I'm charging/proposing a price on Upwork that is 19% higher than the price I charge or propose on Elance. These 19% are taxes (VAT) I have to pay for every single Dollar revenue on Upwork and I don't have to pay this tax using Elance. It's not my greed, it's Upwork's inability to set up processes tried and tested on Elance.

 

Joachim

Community Guru
Krisztina U Member Since: Aug 7, 2009
9 of 12

@Joachim M wrote:

 

IMHO one exception. If I have to explain to a client why I'm charging/proposing a price on Upwork that is 19% higher than the price I charge or propose on Elance. These 19% are taxes (VAT) I have to pay for every single Dollar revenue on Upwork and I don't have to pay this tax using Elance. It's not my greed, it's Upwork's inability to set up processes tried and tested on Elance.

Joachim


 Joachim you keep saying you have to add 19% to all Upwork revenue. Why?

Community Leader
Michael Z Member Since: Jul 19, 2015
10 of 12

There's various types of clients. One of them wants things done. The other wants things done the right way. You tell me which one you think is willing to pay more. 


Don't bother looking at what other freelancers offer and adjusting your rate to that. You need to find a rate you think is enough compensation for the work provided. As above posters have indicated, you need to be able to offer something others can't. Because if you cannot provide the client with a better service for more, they'll be hiring the cheapest person to do things for them. 

You need to ensure the client that they'll be getting the full value out of their money spent. If you can't ensure them of that, then someone else will.

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