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How much do freelance web developers make?

Guest Post

Jun 1, 2022 7:47:00 AM

If you are thinking about jumping into the freelance life, you might be wondering about the salary. Can you really support yourself working as a freelance developer? And how do you get started figuring out your rates? 

Coming up with the right price can be a challenging task for many freelancers, and when it comes to web development, there are a few factors to weigh up to help you settle on a price that’s right for you, your client, and the project in question.  

Keep reading to learn how much freelance web developers make, the factors that affect this, and how to set a fair rate for your work. 

How much do freelance web developers make?

There are a range of elements to consider when pricing yourself for a freelance project or role. Let’s dive straight into the most common factors affecting a web developer’s rate:

Project-specific details

The scope of the project plays a pivotal role in web development pricing. You’d be pretty unlikely to charge the same amount for designing a website from scratch as opposed to just updating a simple WordPress site because the former requires more time, effort, and skills for you to complete.

As a freelancer, it’s vital to understand the complexity of a project and its specifics before you undertake it. 

Each project demands different types of skills, has different timelines for completion, and requires a specific level of experience. These factors should help you decide whether you’re charging on an hourly basis or a flat rate.

Speaking of charging a flat rate, it is important to include the costs for potential revisions and scope creeps—when customers add more specifications to the project than was originally agreed upon. The last thing you likely want to do is frustrate your clients by requesting more money and time to complete the job.

Specific skills and level of expertise 

The wealth of experience that you bring to a project can significantly influence the amount of money you take home. 

If you are an experienced developer, chances are that you have dabbled with multiple projects of varying sizes and mastered key web development skills such as troubleshooting, problem-solving, and a range of programming languages.

As a result, clients will usually be more confident in your ability to take on complex projects, satisfy the necessary requirements, and deliver the work on time. Since an experienced web developer is also able to demonstrate a portfolio of previous work, clients are often more willing to compensate you well.

Niche and area of specialization

Just as important as the type of websites you design is the niche you specialize in. 

For instance, the personal finance niche is likely to consist of clients who are professionals, small businesses, and big corporations. These clients may not only want freelancers who offer traditional web development services but would expect someone who could complement them with other digital marketing services such as content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing. 

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that web development is an umbrella term for many job titles. Therefore, depending on your area of specialization, you could bargain for higher pay from your clients. 

For instance, if you’re a full-stack web developer you could command a higher salary package than just a front-end or back-end developer. As a full-stack developer, you can handle both the front-end and back-end technologies that otherwise might be done by two separate individuals. 

How much should I charge as a freelance web developer?

Understand your value

Firstly, it’s important to know the value you can provide to your clients so you can set a reasonable price for your services. 

You’ll need to take into account the knowledge you’ve learned, technical skills you’ve developed, and experience in past projects so that you can anchor your price point against the value that you’re providing to the client. 

For instance, if you are proficient in three core back-end web development frameworks you will be able to charge more than a freelancer with the same level of proficiency in just one language. The rarity and complexity of your skills will play a role in your pricing strategy. 

You’ll find that web developers in general tend to cluster in three main groups: junior, mid-level, and senior. A quick research online and holistically evaluating your own profile will help you benchmark your own experience against the industry standard.

Calculate billable hours and expenses

Once you have determined which category you fall into, you can set a reasonable annual salary goal.

Using this benchmark, you can work backward to calculate your hourly rate. However, before you do this you’ll need to also incorporate expenses in your price. Unlike a full-time employee, your client will not take into account overhead costs such as equipment, training, health insurance, software licenses, or utilities….the list is endless! Therefore, aim to anticipate these costs ahead of time as much as possible, so that you can incorporate them into the final price you offer a client. 

If you’re charging on an hourly basis, make sure you’re clear on which tasks are and aren’t billable. For instance, as a web developer you may spend hours debugging and fixing code that the client was not responsible for, partaking in meetings, hopping on calls to give updates or clarify problems, or checking emails, many of which may not end up on a client’s invoice. 

Determine your rate

Finally, by making use of all the data you’ve collected regarding the project, the amount of time it is likely to take you, and average freelance web development costs for a given niche (or location, if you’re not working remotely), you can then determine your rate. 

Whether you settle on an hourly or project rate, it may be helpful to have a range in mind to allow room for negotiation with your client where necessary. 

Plus, you may want to consider writing into your contract any expectations around reviews or revisions of your work based on client feedback, and whether these are fully included, included up to a certain level, or billed separately.  

Optimize your freelance web development rates with Gun

Pricing yourself can be tough—there’s tension between underpricing yourself and disqualifying yourself with a sky-high rate. Online hiring platforms like Gun.io can help optimize your freelance web development rates and find the sweet spot that will help you sell your skills.

Gun.io, a freelancing platform built by engineers for engineers, is the first modern-day guild built for independent software professionals. In addition to having the flexibility to set your rates, the platform allows you to compete with your results as opposed to just your rate. 

With access to a pool of clients who are looking for committed developers to work on projects of all shapes and sizes, you won’t ever have to worry about a shortage of job openings at any time. 

What’s more, since we take care of invoicing, contract agreements, finding leads, and negotiation rates on behalf of you, you don’t have to fret about unbillable hours since you could pour 100% of your focus into adding value to your client. 

Find your next short or long-term client with Gun.io

Your rates determine the type of clients you attract, the quality of work you can put out, and more. 

However, learning how to price your services can take some time. Lucky for you, Gun.io can not only help you set your freelance rate but can also help you land your next client. 

Sign up today on Gun.io and take your freelancing journey to the next level.

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