You probably haven’t heard many people support charging an hourly rate or read many blog posts encouraging hourly rates.
But we’re not many people. We’re in the business of helping you work less and earn more.
You’ve probably gotten a lot of pricing advice over the years, and we can only assume that it all sounds easy to execute until you’re out on the high seas by yourself.
And we’ll bet our back-sides that you’ve heard this before:
“You should NEVER charge an hourly rate”.
Yup, back in our freelancing and consulting days we heard that one too.
Ever take a “True and False” test back in your younger days? Remember how some of those True and False questions seemed like they could be both? Well the trick to figuring out the answer is that you should be wary of absolute words, like “never”. Most things in life, like pricing, aren’t absolute.
We’re not saying that pricing techniques other than charging an hourly rate are wrong.
- Per project pricing
- daily, weekly, or monthly rates
- value based pricing
All of those are good and fine (and may totally work for you!). But you can’t pull a fixed amount out of no where. Even experts drinking the hourly rate haterade will tell you that your prices should still be based on an hourly rate. gasp
The reason why is because the Laws of Financial Physics still apply. “What’s that”, you say? It’s the idea that says, you have to cover you costs but it’s not going to be easy. Let us explain.
THE LAWS OF FINANCIAL PHYSICS
- A client is a non-renewable resource, and even the best clients eventually disappear.
- Even if you do your best, work a project may still not be profitable for the client (factors beyond your control) and there is no magic quote that will make a project more profitable.
- You can't completely control any client or project.
So, even though quoting a fixed price upfront is great, you need to be a stone cold hard ass to control all of those factors.
Hour rates help you better control the scope of the project when your client wants to make “just a few quick changes” or when your client phones you up throughout the day to ask questions or just chat about the project.
If your client is disruptive or constantly changes their mind about the scope of the project, you could work for hours an still not get anything done.
But you can’t tell your client to stop calling you or tell them, “Sorry but that’s not what we agreed upon.” Not very good etiquette for getting rehired.
What you can do is charge an hourly rate and remind your client of your hourly rate when they want to chat your ear off or make huge changes to the scope of the project. Chances are, by that time, they’re not going to care what you charge as long as you listen to them.
Wrangling in a client or project that is reminiscent of a run-away freight train is not an easy task if you’re not a hard ass and if you’re not used to saying “no” (and we mean a lot).
Hourly rates are your friend, not your enemy.