Freelance
Rates Explorer

Explore rates from 500,000+ freelancers worldwide.

How much should you charge as a freelancer?

Deciding what you should charge for a project is not always easy, especially when starting out as a freelancer. However, a few factors can affect your rates: your experience, your skills, the demand for those skills on the market.

In order for you to increase your freelance rates, you should always try to learn high valued skills. Those ones can help you land some sweet deals and turn you into an expert in the industry.

How to deal with clients saying that your freelance rates are too high?

We all had that issue when a client wants a luxury car but only can afford a basic one. First of all, you should be confident with what you charge, if a client is pushing your rates back by saying you're too expensive, you can show them different online resources such as this freelance rates explorer.

Be careful when picking your clients, the cheapest ones aren't always the easiest ones. Many freelancers will tell you that their most difficult clients were the ones paying the least. Remember, when picking your clients go for quality over quantity, it will also help you with building your freelance portfolio.

Should you be charging at a per hour rate or per project one when freelancing?

This is a tricky question when looking at freelance rates. Many freelancers prefer to charge per project as the better they become the less amount of time it takes them to finish a same task. As your are becoming more experienced and efficient, you should not be charging less than when you started. This is why a per freelance project rate could be preferred when signing a development contract with that new client.

What factors could impact your freelance rates?

As explained earlier different factors impact your freelance rates: skills, experience, demand for those skills.

What freelance annual income are you trying to get?

Determining what your annual income should be can help you calculate your hourly freelance rate. When doing this calculation, make sure to factor in your vacation time but also the non-billable hours such as creating freelance proposals, making invoices for your projects and finding new freelance projects.

How can I increase my business profit using tax deductibles?

There are many potential tax deductions (as a self employed professional) that can help you at tax time. Some of these freelance tax deductions may seem small, but they can add up quickly, making them worthwhile to track. After all, each time you write off an expense, you lower your self employed taxable income (calculate how much self employment tax you have to pay). That means less tax paid, helping replace the money you spent on your business and putting it back in your pocket.

Discover more about Bonsai's rates explorer

We have released this tool to visualize web design business owner, life coaches, accountants, lawyers, architects, freelance designer and developer rates by experience level, skill, and geography. We’ll discuss how the tool was made, how to use it, some interesting findings, and its implications for the freelance industry.

Why did we build a freelance rates explorer?

Simply put, knowledge is power. New and experienced freelancers alike find a hard time defining the right prices for their services. Once they’ve decided on a rate, justifying it to a client who has little experience working with freelancers can be challenging.

There are many sites like Glassdoor that offer salary data comparisons for full time employees. However, there isn't a site like this dedicated to provide insights on freelancers rates. We had this data, so we built the Rate Explorer to make it easy for freelancers to compare their rates in the largest publicly available rates database on the internet.

How the freelance rate explorer was made

Bonsai’s core product is a free work contract creator for freelance designers and developers. To create a contract, freelancers must describe their work and enter terms like payment details and deadlines. Users have created over 30,000 freelance contracts for work ranging from iOS development to Wordpress web design contracts, to graphic design contracts. A freelance contract template is the perfect way to get started

This data is already quite structured, so aggregating and analyzing it was straightforward. The only complicated step was mapping the free text description of work to skill set tags (e.g., front end development, iOS development, UI/UX design, etc).

To do this, we wrote a small script to programmatically identify these skills in the job description and tag them. We also hired freelancers to spot check and review these tags to ensure accuracy. We completed this data together with clients and freelancers surveys which helped us precise our figures and findings.

Bonsai only supports contracts in the US, UK, and Canada for now, so there’s no visualization for freelancers in other countries yet. However, we allowed users to enter their own rates for any type of work and in other countries so we can enrich the tool with additional locations or skills in the future.

How to use the freelance rate explorer

Pricing can be a complicated subject, and many factors should go into pricing your work. These can include the demand for your services at that time, your short and long term career goals, your relationship with the client, and the non-monetary value you get from working with the client (e.g., adding a big name to your portfolio, networking, etc).

The Freelance Rate Explorer should be used as a directional indicator to help you position yourself against the community. Beyond that, you should take into account all the other factors particular to your relationship with the client and project.

Interesting findings

There are a few general points that held true across the data:

Developers earn about 30% more than designers across experience levels and geographies

This happens to be true even for highest charging designers (ie Product Designers) when compared to lowest charging developers (Front-end / Android)

Design rates (in particular graphic design) hardly reach $60 per hour for all locations and experience levels

While developers can see their rates increase quickly with their gaining experience (typically after 3 years), most experienced designers grow rates at a slower pace. The most common explanation we’ve heard for this is local or international competition at lower rates, including from part time designers. The lower barrier to entry for design types, plus the smaller project sizes, leads to lower rates.

Freelancers in the US west and east cost earn more than those in the midwest and south by around 10%

This could be due to higher competition and / or costs of living in those areas, but coastal regions generally had higher rates than the south and midwest. This was surprising to us, giving how much design and development work can be done remotely, but it’s a reminder of how important local relationships can be in finding work (and determining your rate!).

The most significant shifts in rates happen between 1-3 years and 3-5 years

For all skills and locations, the most significant jump in compensation per experience level comes between the 1-3 and 3-5 year categories. Having spoken with our users, this can be most often attributed to them developing essential business skills (project management, negotiation...), developing their knowledge about their market and their clients, building a strong portfolio and leveraging their network.

Next steps

We’re continuing to add data and features to the Rate Explorer. Our contracts data for the US feeds directly into it. As soon as we have sufficient data for other geographies and skill types, we will open those visualizations.

We also created a dedicated page for marketing consultants & freelance marketers to find more information about rates. Please visit the following page to find out more: marketing consultant rates. Also, make sure to check our guide on how to get into consulting and how to bill for consulting services.

You can help by adding your rate and sharing with others to do the same. The more data we have, the more valuable the tool becomes for everyone!

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“I upped my rates and won more clients

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