Charging different rates for different services?


As a freelancer I am putting together a strong online portfolio/website to offer my services.

I am putting the usual things in (blog/about/portfolio etc.) but I was thinking of creating a few pages (maybe password protected) that outline a lot of the questions people ask first when looking to hire you, so that I don't have to waste time typing it all out again (including my policies).

As a part of this, I was thinking of making a 'rates' page that outlined my rates.

  • Firstly, is this an outright bad idea? Will I potentially scare away potential clients or alternatively, sell myself short by putting a number down?
  • I want to offer myself primarily as a programmer and web developer, but I do a lot of frontend/templating and also general web consulting. I generally charge different rates for these different services. Again, is it a bad idea to show potential clients that my rates vary (leaving them to say "how can you charge your time differently?")

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asked Oct 14 '11 at 05:32
Timmy O'mahony
118 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Thought 1. You could prepare some boilerplate text to give people if it seems appropriate, and save on typing, without making it public. – Jack V. 12 years ago
  • Thought 2. The other posts seem to describe what's usual for the market, so you should probably listen to them. However, as a mostly-outsider, I'd comment to remember that if you hope to get any business from niche markets or other people who might be hiring someone like you for the first time, many of their response to not seeing rates will be "I've no idea how to negotiate this without looking stupid so I'll go somewhere else". That doesn't need a fixed rate, but a ballpark figure for different sorts of jobs would help. (If the upside seems more than the downside of people taking advantage.) – Jack V. 12 years ago

1 Answer


Generally, freelancer services are not like a menu or catalog of products. You should be negotiating your rates on a case-by-case basis, based on your actual costs, financial needs, and what the client is willing to pay.

If you put down a static number, you may be saving some time on communication with clients who can't afford you, but you also don't get the chance to haggle; if you advertise $150/hr as your going rate, but can get away with a sharply discounted rate on a long contract because it's a lot of steady work, you may lose clients that never even talk to you because they can't afford $150/hr for the 6 months they think something will take, when really you'd accept half that or less because you know where your next meal is coming from.

Instead, I would simply advertise "competitive rates" and that can be a negotiating point.

answered Oct 14 '11 at 07:42
Keith S
161 points

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