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Should I go for Hourly Jobs?

Community Leader
Muhammad Zeeshan H Member Since: Dec 21, 2019
1 of 5

I am always working with clients who are paying fix price for a project. I have never experienced working on a hourly contract (that's why total hours worked are blank !). I am just curious about how it would the things be in a hourly contract. Which one is better choice from both (fixed or hourly)? Why? 

Expert opinion required here ! 

@Petra R @Preston H @Robin H @Tiffany S @Christine A @Upwork 
@Everyone Who Knows Well

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
2 of 5

I do both and actually don't care which, whatever the client prefers will work just fine for me.


If security is your main concern, then hourly contracts, using the tracker at all times, are "safer" but it takes a little longer to get paid.


That said, I've never not been paid for a fixed rate contract either (even in the old oDesk days, when there was no escrow and fixed rate was pretty much a gamble), or for manual time, so I am somewhat relaxed about the security and protection aspects.


It's simply personal preference, and I have little preference for one over the other, I just go with what suits the client better.


In the early days, when I would frequently underestimate how long something might take me (I didn't always check carefully enough), fixed rate contracts occasionally led to me doing more work for less money than I would have earned had I done it as an hourly contract, but I've since smartened up somewhat, and base my fixed rate bids on how long I estimate that it will take me plus 10% for possible slight scope creep, so I earn the same hourly rate or better than on my hourly contracts.

Ace Contributor
Susan W Member Since: Dec 30, 2019
3 of 5



I definitely can't give you the in-depth answer you're looking for, but I wanted to offer you my brief experience. It seems that many jobs will initially be per hour, but once you start talking to the client, they want to change it to a flat rate, to my detriment. I'm dealing with that right now. Again. In many ways it's understandable because at a flat rate, they're not going to have any financial surprises. But, it also seems that for research intensive writings, the flat rate isn't worth it. I just don't understand why they don't set it up to their liking to begin with, and leave it alone.


I hope you have better luck with per hour jobs than I have, so far! 

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
4 of 5

There isn't any one right answer; it depends on the client and the project. I used to insist on doing only fixed price projects because I find the time tracker to be really distracting, plus it doesn't measure "thinking time", only mouse clicks. But it was a disadvantage in that my profile said "0 hours worked" even though I'd done hundreds of jobs, and some clients filter for freelancers who've worked X number of hours. So I started doing some hourlies just to fix that issue, and it's certainly a better option for projects that are hard to scope (I sometimes start out with a fixed price project and then switch to hourly if the client starts requesting little "extras" and revisions).

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
5 of 5

I personally prefer fixed price jobs for a few reasons that don't apply to everyone: 

- I do a lot of work away from the computer (such as mapping things out on paper) that don't work well with the time tracker

- I often "work" while walking the dog, washing my dishes, etc. in the sense that I plan content, turn phrasing around in my head, etc. I obviously am not going to bill a client hourly for that time, but it is part of the value the client is receiving

- I like challenging myself to be more focused and efficient and thereby increase my effective hourly rate


I also find that clients like to know exactly how much a project will cost them (broken out from the list because I think this is pretty universal).


But, there are good reasons to use hourly contracts, especially if you are a newer freelancer: 


- The payment protection is much better, if you use the time tracker properly

- It ensures that you get paid for all of your time until you reach the point of being able to assess accurately up front how much investment a project will take

- It keeps clients from holding you hostage with endless revision requests (so can building the number of revisions into your fixed price contract, but many freelancers have trouble standing their ground on this issue)


I would not as a relatively new freelancer ever use manual time on an hourly contract, unless you have already established a solid history with that client and have strong reason to believe he/she will play fair.