How to Freelance For Mobile Developers Lesson 3 - What Do I Charge?


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How to Freelance for Mobile Developers - Lesson 3 covers one of the most important aspects of freelance work. What do I charge? Learn about the different ways to charge clients and some of the pitfalls you can fall into if you're not careful or strategic about your pricing.

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How to Freelance For Mobile Developers Lesson 3 - What Do I Charge?

  1. 1. How to Freelance for Mobile Developers Lesson 3 of 6 What do I Charge?
  2. 2. Different Strategies● There are many different strategies for charging clients as a mobile freelance developer, which include:● Fixed Price● Hourly, daily,weekly, monthly rates● A percentage cut in the business or profits from the application● Bidding● Retainer
  3. 3. Who is your client?● If you want to work on really high end projects that earn large dollar amounts, then youll most likely be looking at larger corporate clients.● I have worked on several projects funded by individuals and while they can be a lot of fun, they will usually be limited in size and scope because individuals dont have the budgets that corporations do.● Be respectful that everyone has a budget. There may be projects that are too big or too small for you to take on.
  4. 4. Fixed Price● The idea behind a fixed price project is that you are given enough detail on the project to make an educated guess on how long it will take you to complete the entire project.● The major problem with this is that more often then not, you will underestimate and may end up working quite a few extra hours for free.● If you go this route make sure to paid your time estimate by as much as 30-50% depending on how many unknown factors are involved to protect yourself from losing your shirt.● With time your estimates will get better, but there is always a risk of undercharging.
  5. 5. Some Ideas on Project Costs● Any significant mobile project is going to take at least 100+ hours to create something of value.● I have worked on project that took hundreds of hours to complete.● If you really thing you can knock off something great in a weekend, youre sadly mistaken.● I tend to find that value added native Apps that take 2-3+ months to complete start at around $20,000+ and go up from there, based on North American pricing.● Some high end Apps can easily push $100,000+.● If you are only working on small projects, or working on parts of projects, these numbers may be lower. The main point is the real Apps cost real money.
  6. 6. Hourly,Daily,Weekly, Monthly?● Charging by the hour works out best for the freelancer because you get to bill for every hour you actually work.● However, charging by the hour tends to be a little scary for clients when they have no idea how many hours the project will take.● I tend to find that clients react better to range estimates on a project than to just hearing my hourly rate. So I tell then the project will most likely fall between $this and $this, but dont flash my hourly rate around unless they ask.● You may also have a rate that you charge per day, week or month, which gives you and your client options.
  7. 7. Whats a Reasonable Hourly Rate?● This depends on a number of factors.● How experienced are you? The more experience you have, the more you can charge.● What are you working on? The more specialized and difficult the work the more you can charge.● Your skill level, if you are just starting out, your rate will be lower than when you become a Jedi.● Where are you located? Depending on what part of the world you are from different rates will apply.● In North America I think a reasonable starting rate for a competent mobile developer with some experience should be at least $50/hr and go up from there with skill and experience.
  8. 8. Dont Think like an Employee● Remember, you are not an employee your a freelancer now and the wages that apply in the working world wont work for you.● Youll pretty much always need to be charging more than the hourly rate you were making in your job.● Remember, as a freelancer you pay all the expenses and you most likely wont be working 40 hour weeks 52 weeks a year. You need to build up a reserve for slow times.
  9. 9. Competing on Price● If you plan is to be the cheapest developer out there, you are going to regret it.● The problem with competing on price is that there will always be someone cheaper than you and that you need to be able to make a profit from your freelancing endeavours to make is sustainable.● If the only reason a company is choosing you over another developer is price, how much loyalty do you think that client will have in the future?● If your client tells you that that they have a cousin who will work for $15/hr who can build their App, then wish them luck and be willing to walk away.
  10. 10. The Percentage Scam● I am approached all the time by people offering me half of the profits of their goldmine idea wanting me to do the programming while they “take care of the business side of things.● Essentially this is code for “I want you to take all the risk, and if it works out maybe you wont loose your shirt”. Let me ask you this, if you had an idea for a million dollar app that was certain to succeed, why would you be willing to part with half your company?● Are you willing to risk working several weeks or months for free, with no guarantee of getting paid anything? Dont get taken for a ride.
  11. 11. Retainers● When you start any new project, you should typically ask for at least 20 to 50 percent of the cost of the project to be paid up front and ofter are non-refundable.● You apply the retainer to the cost of the project, so its not an extra fee.● Clients the protest a retainer are going to be a problem, so better you find out earlier than later.● Retainers are a safety mechanism for you the freelancer to ensure your client has money, that they are serious about the project and it gives you positive cash flow at the start of a project.● You can also use retainers at the end of a project for maintenance and support, which all Apps need. In this context, retainers work on a declining balance, much like a lawyer.
  12. 12. Bidding● Im not a big fan of this approach.● The main reason is that bidding usually means fixed price contracts that more often then not go to the lower or lowest bidders.● Make sure its really worth your while.● Bids on freelance job sites can be a waste of time if you actually want to get paid what your worth.● Bids on things like government contracts may be ok, but require a lot of time and effort to but together so make sure its worth it.● Low-balling bids is not a good idea, so if your going to do it, bid a fair price and see what happens.
  13. 13. Tips for Increasing your Rate● Go deep. The vast majority of mobile developers will most likely reach a point of competence and level out. Only a small percentage will dig really deep and really developer true expertise in any give area. The deeper your knowledge and experience, the higher rate you can command.● Specialize. Being a jack of all trades, master of none may work for some, but Ive never found it to be a good long term strategy. Find an area that you can dominate and really focus on. Find your niche and you may find your profit. Think Neurosurgeon not General Practitioner● Reputation. The more well known and recognized you become, the more in demand you will become. The better your rep is the higher your rate can go.
  14. 14. Ive Got a Client and Know my Rate, Now What?● In upcoming episodes well be discussing:● Creating contracts/service agreements● Retainers● Strategies for dealing with challenging clients
  15. 15. ● If you are interested in learning more about how to develop mobile Apps, visit and get instant access to over 30 free videos today!● Follow me on twitter at @appbuildertv