Where did all my time go!
After nearly 10 years of working on web design projects for a huge variety of clients globally, it struck me in about year two that I have no real idea of where my time is going or what my hourly rate per job is.
Of course each job is unique, but all things going well and normal you can start to work out what your hourly rate as a freelance web designer actually is.
How long is a piece of string?
Well my typical website (10 page and under) will usually cost me 35-40 hours, yes time is a commodity to a freelancer and anyone who works.
Why so long? Well I hope you can see that I go that extra mile, this is in terms of design, quality of work in general and the extra mile I go with SEO, and usability and typically I factor in all communication which of course is my time and not just writing a reply.
A typical client may send me 25-50 emails in the course of a project and talk to me on Skype or phone for 1-3 hours.
A recent client who was excellent at communicating exchanged over 170 emails with me within a week.
Result: A quality completed web design project.
This is a lot of time, but you know this is why my clients are all very happy, clear honest communication and expectations.
The work I do (thinking usually) to ensure a message reply makes sense or the new images look right that I now need to tweak, source, edit, upload, SEO, the little and big jobs I do on a website project are many and the list goes on when you use me as your freelance web designer as I go the extra mile on every job I do.
So the time just goes by and this is why at £50 an hour which I am easily worth and an average of 40 hours per typical job, I charge a minimum of £1999 per website. It feels a fair price and one I may need to revise up not down in all honesty.
Of course you can get cheaper but you get exactly that, cheap.
I really value clients who value me and so my costs reflect the quality I want to provide to you my client, if you are cheap, no worries, go for it.
But I am also a person who still looks for value when buying, I get your need, but the saying ‘I am not rich enough to buy cheap’ makes complete sense to me on anything worth buying.
And surely your website is worth a real investment of your time and resources and money, or is your business cheap too?
It begs the question and it will show if you go cheap, it always does somehow.
Anyway here are some cool tools to stay focussed and work out where your time goes as a freelancer.
1) Tomato Timer – A wicked little tool that runs in the background and allows you to work intensely on a project for 25 minutes which is this is a productivity technique called Pomodoro where you take a five minute break after each 25 minutes with a longer 10-20 minute break after a few (3-4) 25 minute work periods.
The point is many rewards and intense work helps productivity and mental agility and this app helps you do that simply, though I wish I could change the period for long break to what I wanted, 10 minute seems stingy.
This is a proven method of working effectively and great for freelancers who juggle so many things.
2) Rescue Time – Again a cool tool that allows you to work out what exactly you have been doing on your computer and will help you see where you are losing time that you may not be aware of.