I've been told that this company has paid others $40/hr. This would be my first work at a professional level. They've already seen my portfolio, and love my work- and have had trouble finding someone they like.

Soooo... they like me, my work, etc. But I am very new at this, so I feel like I should offer $30/$35 to start. What do you all have to say about this?

  • Hi there! Welcome to GD.SE :) Did they offer you anything already, or they asked you to tell them how much you want?
    – Yisela
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 1:35
  • they asked me to tell them how much I would charge. I said I have to think about it (meaning ask everyone else what they think). I asked how much they have paid others before and was told $40/hr
    – user20204
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 2:07

3 Answers 3


I (personally) think you shouldn't decrease your expected rate (if 40 is something that works for you) because you don't have enough experience. Experience is important, don't get me wrong, but they will be paying for results, so to say. And it's your portfolio that shows what you are capable of.

I'd consider the following: How long do you think it would take you to improve so you should be making $40/h? Suppose it's 6 months, will you be comfortable asking them to increase your hourly rate at this point?

If they did a search and couldn't find other candidates, that must mean you are good at what you do. Your talent has a value, and even if you haven't worked that much in the industry you must have invested time in learning your tools.

If you feel it's not fair for you to be making as much as others with more experience make, here's an idea: If something takes you 1/3 longer than others, you could use your own time to finish those projects or train to supply those areas you are not that strong in. So if something takes you 3 hours, but you are sure you had difficulties because of your lack of experience, you could absorb that last hour and charge them for two. Consider this more of a 'moral workaround' that you could use the first couple of months :)

  • 1
    This is great advice. Don't negotiate down, instead try and give them a little more bang for their buck to sweeten the deal.
    – John
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 16:40
  • This answer is very uplifting :D
    – user8795
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 21:23

Go high and let them negotiate you down if they think you went too high. Especially if you know they're used to 40/hr I would tell them 45-60/hr and let them negotiate me down to 40 or get them to agree to more.


I'd recommend avoiding freelance work on hourly rates. Quote the job... but... make sure you are covered for all modifications and alterations, additions and any other kind of changes and extenuating circumstances -- at an hourly extra you like, that slides up with any urgency that sees you working extended stints or out of your comfortable working hours.

There's nothing wrong with having a client come over on the weekend to push something through. Particularly if they're paying double time to sit and annotate, comment and amend everything by proxy (through you) to their tastes.

And if they are coming over, make sure you brush up on your keyboard shortcuts. Put on a show, they'll love it.

EDIT: As JohnB suggests, be like this:


  • 2
    How you'll look once mastering all the keyboard shortcuts: i.sstatic.net/o9kyK.gif
    – JohnB
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 3:48
  • But why do you recommend a fixed price instead of hourly rates?
    – calua
    Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 11:18

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