But if you just walk into that office and say “I think I deserve a $5,000 raise in my annual salary” without explaining your reasoning for why you deserve that raise, you just might get laughed out of the room. In a similar way, you might encounter issues when attempting to increase your rate on the invoice templates you submit to freelance clients.
The problem is that you’re biased. In this situation, your boss has a point – of course you think you deserve a raise. Everyone wants more money. If you tell your boss that you believe you’re making less than the average person in your situation, you better have some data to back that claim up.
That’s exactly what Glassdoor does. If the data is in your favor, you can make a convincing, objective case for why you should get the raise.
But freelancers who work remotely and charge by the hour don’t have a tool similar to Glassdoor that they could use to improve their payment negotiating position with employers.
Also, freelancers face a significant disadvantage that salaried workers don’t have to deal with. Clients come and go, so freelancers are constantly scrambling to find new work in order to pay the bills and remain financially stable. They’re often afraid to set their rates high, because they don’t want to drive clients away.
If they only knew what the average worker in their field with their level of experience was making, they might be confident enough to set their rate where it truly should be. And if they had some way to present this information to clients, they would have a better chance of actually earning this rate as well.
Bonsai has built an online tool that provides freelancers with exactly this kind of information, along with an intuitive way to present this information.
All you have to do is go to our Freelance Rate Explorer and toggle through the options for job, expertise, experience, and location to see what people in your situation are making.
Our main service at Bonsai is creating contracts for freelance designers and developers. We’ve created thousands of freelance contracts, which has provided us with an incredible amount of detailed information about how much money different kinds of freelancers make. We took this data, bolstered it with user surveys, developed an attractive and easy-to-understand way to present this information, and voila! Rate Explorer was born.
We’ve come across a few particularly interesting insights while building Rate Explorer, including:
We found that most designers make less than $60 an hour. Also, developers make about 30% more than designers on average.
There are a few different reasons for why this is the case. For one, there are more designers in the job market than developers. That’s simple supply and demand. Also, developers are more important to most projects than designers.
That’s not to say that designers have little value – good design attracts customers and makes a company appear more professional, while poor design repels customers and makes a company look unprofessional. But at least you can build a product without a designer. Without a developer, you don’t even have a product.
With an onsite job, you’d expect location to be a huge factor in pay rates. In areas where the cost of living is higher, the salaries have to be higher as well to compensate.
Somewhat surprisingly, where a freelancer is located has an effect on how much that freelancer makes, even though their actual assignments can be based anywhere across the country or even around the world.
Freelancers on either US coast make more than freelancers in the Midwest and southern states by about 10%.
Rates for freelance designers rise rapidly in the first three years of their careers. After those first three years, the growth in these rates tends to slow down. Rates hit a wall because design projects are often short-term and feature low barriers to entry, which serves to bring rates down.
For both designers and developers, the period in their careers when they see the biggest jump in pay is between 3 to 5 years of experience.
Our research shows that there are two main factors that determine how much money a freelancer makes: their portfolios and their networks of previous clients/other industry contacts.
So, the question for freelancers looking to earn more money then becomes how are you supposed to establish a strong portfolio and build a big network?
Well, for one, you’ve got to work hard.
High-paying clients are going to want to know what your previous clients think of you before they hire you for one of their projects, so you need to make sure that these previous clients have good things to say.
With time, effort, and useful resources like Bonsai’s Rate Explorer, freelancers can create satisfying and lucrative careers for themselves.
Manage you freelance business with Bonsai starting today - sign up for your free trial!
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?