Should You Charge Per Hour Or Per Project?

Everyone wants strong client relations. One of the predicators for this is having a clear, agreeable price tag on your services; whether you’re a solo freelancer, or a project manager with a talent pool to dip into, how you handle those rates is intrinsic to making everyone happy, including yourself.

The overriding question will be: how should I charge people? Will it make sense to have an hourly rate for every prospect, or go on a full-project basis, merely counting the cost of the end result? Let’s help you decide.

Option A – the ‘per hour’ basis

Freelancers and their ilk must pace their work like any other job. Whether it’s a two-hour stint, or a ten-hour marathon, you want fair compensation for the minutes you’re pouring into something.

It’s easy to see, therefore, why hourly rates are attractive: they give you a compensatory safety net if a project runs for longer than you imagined. A lot of freelancers choose hourly pricing when they start up – it’s nice to know that you can make a living with good time control. It encourages self-awareness at the dawn of your new career.

If you want to make hourly rates a breeze, you can employ a free project management tool outlining your price model. Skwish, for example, gives you and the client a shared account, detailing rates and estimated times for completion. You can also (covertly) receive freelancer quotes if you’re heading a remote team, giving the client a final sum that you’re both comfortable with.

However, bear in mind that clients don’t really care how long a project takes to complete. They are after the finished piece; thusly, you might only spend a couple of hours on an assignment and get results that go above and beyond what you’d normally achieve. Yet you can only bill for the time you’ve expended, as opposed to the effort you’ve put in. Those aren’t mutually exclusive…

Option B – the ‘per project’ rule

As we mentioned, hourly rates can hamstring you as your profile builds and better clients (with a lot of cash in the bank) come calling. When you’re confident enough in your abilities, basing prices on a per-project model will symbolise that step up to the big time. You’ll be able to work less hours for the same fees, if you can deliver fantastic results swiftly and consistently.

There is a drawback though – how certain are your predictions for the effort, resources and commitment it’ll take to accomplish something? What if there’s a surprise in store? An assignment can run way over the mark if you’re overly confident about a speedy delivery. And, like any sense of foresight, this risk can be hard to gauge.

But when you are certain about the appropriate quote, you can again use Skwish to detail everything a client needs to know. Just type in the fixed cost, the name of the assignment, and pass any extra charges onto whoever deals with them. Our online tutorial lays out how to do this, if you’re unsure about the steps!

Don’t deliberate for too long – actually, one of the benefits of a project management tool is that you can switch between each strategy, flexing your business brain as you see fit. Sign up to Skwish today and rid your rates of uncertainty.

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