A couple of years ago, I was on the hunt for a php coder to handle a project for me. I know just enough php to be dangerous, and I was in way over my head.
So I reached out to a few people I know to get a feel for cost. As you might expect, prices were all over the place. I heard everything from $50 to $150 per hour. I probably could have found lower-priced options were I willing to hit the job boards at places such as eLance and ODesk, but I wanted to work with someone I knew, or at least had heard of.
I ended up working with a guy who charged about $100 per hour, and he was great. Got the job done in record time, and it actually ended up costing me less than I had budgeted.
But why didn’t I just go with the $50/hour quote, if I was on a budget?
Because I know the value of a good php programmer. I know what it takes to be able to decipher lines and lines of code and make it work right. I know that there are serious security issues to watch out for. And I know that people who are experienced, knowledgeable, and worth hiring don’t sell themselves short.
That $50 quote told me one thing about that programmer: Either he didn’t have the skills to do the job, or he didn’t think he had the skills. And either way, I didn’t trust him to do it right.
What Do Your Rates Say?
Does your hourly or project rate say “I’m a professional and I know my stuff”? Or does it say “Please oh please hire me because I need the work and I’m too scared to charge what I’m really worth”?
To be fair, there is a time and a place to charge less.
When I was first starting out, I worked for $20 per hour. It was more than I was making at my day job, and I was thrilled to get it. But I didn’t stay there for long. Over the past 5 years I’ve increased my rates from $20 to $75, and I have clients who pay that without blinking an eye.
You can, too.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say here that not all my clients pay that kind of rate. I have clients who pay a lot less, because I’ve worked with them a long time, I love them and their projects, and I truly enjoy working with them. For that I’m willing to accept a bit less. You may be as well, and that’s perfectly ok.
But if you want to be seen as a pro to prospective clients, you have to act like one. And that starts with charging what you’re worth.
Now I want to hear your story. In the comments below, answer this: When is the last time you raised your rates? What was the outcome?