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Which rate to charge for a first project?

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Active Member
Richard H Member Since: Oct 10, 2014
1 of 6
Hi guys, I am new to Odesk and think this is potentially a great website. One poster responded to one of my posts and suggested that my hourly rate is too low. The reason for my relatively modest rate is because I have no history on Odesk. For reference, I have a college degree and am looking for programming related jobs. For now, I've set my hourly rate to $5.56 per hour, which factoring in the 10% leaves me with $5 per hour. I have every intention of making as much money as possible on Odesk, but right now I have no feedback. I thought that the most important priority right now is establishing a reputation as a great worker. In hopes of landing a job, I am offering a low rate. As I said earlier, I am a new member, so I'm not sure what are the best practices. I would greatly appreciate any advice for this. Thank you for your time.
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Suzanne N Member Since: Aug 15, 2012
2 of 6
Richard, Don't set your rates that low you will get stuck in that rate if you do. If you really want to land your first job raise your rate to a competitive rate. Look through some of the other freelancers doing what you do (Not the low end ones) and set your price accordingly. You can always purpose a lower rate to a job if you feel you really want to do it, but once you set a lower rate and especially that low, you are cheating yourself if you have the skills you state you do. Setting a lower rate just sets you up to only be offered jobs at lower rates. If you are concerned about no feedback set your rate a bit lower but not at the rate you have now. You will never get out of the rut if you set it now.
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Richard H Member Since: Oct 10, 2014
3 of 6
[quote=Suzanne N.]Richard, Don't set your rates that low you will get stuck in that rate if you do. If you really want to land your first job raise your rate to a competitive rate. Look through some of the other freelancers doing what you do (Not the low end ones) and set your price accordingly. You can always purpose a lower rate to a job if you feel you really want to do it, but once you set a lower rate and especially that low, you are cheating yourself if you have the skills you state you do. Setting a lower rate just sets you up to only be offered jobs at lower rates. If you are concerned about no feedback set your rate a bit lower but not at the rate you have now. You will never get out of the rut if you set it now.[/quote] I appreciate you getting back to me so quickly. It looks like this is great advice. I was worried about setting a rate too high and scaring off clients. I was planning on starting out low and then building up to a high rate. Thanks to your advice, I will set a more average rate. I searched for 'Ruby' under Freelancers and found that the median is around $20/hour. That salary would be more than enough for me. I think, I'll set my rate around that figure and see how it goes. If it's too high, I'll lower it slightly. I really must thank you for your advice though. You likely saved me from pricing myself too low though. Once again thank you.
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Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
4 of 6
Hi Richard just to back up what Suzanne said. I often make the analogy of a pond with different kinds of life in it. You should aim for swimming free just under the surface. When you start you may be a bit below the surface, but make sure you can see the light shining through, so you can work your way up towards it. If you start off in the mud, you may either get stuck in the mud, or be so blinded by the cloudy wash from it that you can't see the surface, and end up trapped at the bottom. Back off the analogy now, setting lowball rates is a self-fulfilling prophecy for two reasons: a) lower-paying clients will grab you and try to keep you (in the mud...), and b) higher-paying clients will avoid you because they assume you can't be all that good if that's all you charge. It's quite common practice to build up a rate in gradual increments as you build up good history and feedback, until you get to where you want. So you're making the right decisions - stick with it now and be patient for that first job - it does take a while, so hang on in there, and good luck.
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Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
5 of 6
The problem when you are displaying such a low rate is that the clients may think you are unskilled. Honestly if I had to hire a developer, the hourly rate would be a filter. I would exclude those with unusual low rates and I would go for those showing rates which match with the industry's average.
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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
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Community Guru
Gillian Michele N Member Since: Mar 15, 2012
6 of 6
Hi Richard, When I first started here, I set a lower rate and then in time increased it. But don't entertain ridiculously low paid roles and sell yourself short. Some clients want something for nothing. In my early career, one of the clients saw that I didn't have any completed jobs, so he asked me for a reference from one of my previous employers. There's a possibility that could happen but I don't know if it happens often. All the best with finding work.
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