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What's a fair hourly payment for a freelance software developer?

Trying to figure out how much is it fair to pay a freelance developer per hour.
The developer has about 5 years of relevant full stack experience, a strong record of building products and good credentials. Job is either remote or in SF or NYC.

The only relevant discussion I found here is the helpfulhttp://members.founderdating.com/discuss/1121/Best-sites-for-finding-out-appropriate-rates-to-pay-contractors-comparables. However, it's been more than 2 years since these answers were written and I wonder how much do you / would you pay today?

15 Replies

 Rob Mallery
5
2
Rob Mallery Advisor
VP of Talent at Originate
Unfortunately, your post doesn't have the necessary detail to give a reasonable guess. The rate could be anywhere from $60-$175/hr and it would all be based on how strong an engineer he/she is. What's the stack? How long will the contract last? Are they performing other duties, or just engineering. Bottom line is that you shouldn't ask what a fair rate is, you should make sure you have a good person and then ask that person what they're looking for... then negotiate so that it's something that makes sense for both parties. Sent from my iPhone
Lotfi Belkhir
0
1
Lotfi Belkhir Entrepreneur • Advisor
Associate Professor & Chair of Eco-Entrepreneurship at McMaster University
This is also highly dependent on the region you are. On the US east coast, a senior software engineer fetches anywhere from $60-90 per hour, whereas in the San Francisco Bay Area you're looking a double that.
Siarhei Harbachou
0
1
Siarhei Harbachou Entrepreneur
Looking around
If you are located in US, then probably you can earn more than 60$/hour, indeed if work for local client.
For remote freelancers- 40$/h is often unreachable peak.
Usual remote freelancer cost starts from 8 till 35 per hour, depending on level of competency.
I know this topic because constantly work with remote workers. I am technical manager, help startups to work with freelancers.

Full-stack in everything is impossible, that's why I assume your specialization is in some area. And this specific area demand impacts the cost of the freelancer as well. The rule is: wider area->less rates.

Tanya Bourque
0
1
Tanya Bourque Entrepreneur • Advisor
Chief Executive Officer & Founder at OppCount & OpExpert~ Chief Talent Strategist~
I do contract recruiting for full stack developers. Not selling just saying. I'm seeing rates anywhere from $50-$100 per hour. It depends on the specific skill.Since you are doing remote, you may want to consider Odesk.com or getafreelancer.com. However, with these sites most of the candidates are from out of country. There are a lot of places to find them if you need to.Angel.co is a great place to post freelancer work.
Philip John Basile
2
2
Philip John Basile Entrepreneur
Coder: Unreal Engine, C++, HTML, CSS, SASS, JavaScript, ReactJS, AngularJS. Portrait & Studio Photographer. Owner: @Basilecom, @PKPhotoStudio
85-125hr. Depending on experience.
Joe Albano, PhD
0
4
Joe Albano, PhD Advisor
Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.
Pay for results, not effort.
K. Alan Robbins
1
1
K. Alan Robbins Entrepreneur
Head Moose at Moose WorldWide Digital
Hello
This is what my company does - provide remote developers as well as act as a solution provider. Here is the current state of the Market:

The India guys will tell you $8-$12 an hour for a "senior" PHP guy and then it's 100 hours for a WordPress theme customization web site and you get juniors. They don't all do this, of course, but be advised that hourly rates mean nothing without an estimate of effort.

In Eastern Europe (Which in our experience is where the best developers for the U.S. market can be found) "You Drive" rate for an English speaking developer with 5 years honest experience ranges between $30 and $50 depending on the skill set. PHP runs $30 to $40, .net runs $40-$50. If you have a U.S. based project manager you pay between $50 and $70. If you've never done offshore, you need a US based project manager.

If you buy full time guys, .vs. fractional resources, the price is lower.

The websites that claim to give you accurate pricing give you inflated prices.

Freelancer rates are all across the board, as is the quality/experience. We hear a lot of horror stories about freelancers that get 2/3 of the way through a project and vanish off the face of the earth.

I hope this helps guide you in your efforts. I've been doing this for 30+ years and happily give away free advice if you want to discuss further, we've helped many startups.

Alan


Larry Tichauer, PE
2
1
Larry Tichauer, PE Entrepreneur
Focused results driven creative thinker with a very diverse background able to propose novel solutions to new problems
Get a bullet proof software requirements spec and pay by the job never by the hour.
Graeme Lewis
1
1
Graeme Lewis Entrepreneur
Busy with something...
I agree withLarry Tichauer
Evan Dorn
4
1
Evan Dorn Entrepreneur
Diverse Technologist and Leader
When I was last freelancing (which is not right now), my rate was $175/hr, with discounts for bulk purchases and long engagements.

In reply to Larry's comment, I personally would not accept work paid "by the job" rather than time-based. The reason is that in 25 years I've not yet met even one client who can provide a truly clear requirements spec for a fixed scope and stick to it. I'm not sure it's even possible: few people can imagine everything they want out of a system before it's built, and software projects need to be agile and respond to a rapidly changing landscape anyway.

When attempting "by the job" pricing, scope inevitably creeps. In my experience the client usually isn't even aware that they're asking for more than what's contractually agreed. This always results in arguments over whether a feature request is included in the contract or not, and those arguments are catastrophic for the client/contractor relationship.
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