While a lot of people or gurus today preach charging high from day 1, that’s not exactly the path I took. While a lot of gurus or internet experts preach value pricing over hourly, I’m not a purest in that regard either.
This is my story (putting it all out there!).. from a fledgling developer back in 2012 charging $15/hour to where I am today averaging over a $100 per hour… landing web development and design projects for $5000+. I dig into the why I started super low (hint, experience, knowledge, relationships) to how that developed and I raised my value and pricing over time.
I don’t know if this is a blueprint for you to follow, but my hope is sharing my story helps someone uncertain about pricing have an ah-ha moment that improves their situation.
- INTRO: In this episode we’re going to talk about the journey I took personally when I first got started as a web developer.. knowing almost nothing and fearing charging too much because.. I knew nothing.
- I hear a lot of advice out there to charge more to make more — twitter example, “just double your prices”.
- But I don’t think that’s good advice for someone starting out.. or for someone that has to put food on the table.
- But it has validity as you start gaining experience and growing your business.
- In the beginning… Start low to get that work.
- When I first started out it wasn’t about the money.. it was about building experience, relationships and confidence
- I started charging $15-25 per hour.. elance (now part of upwork)
- I did have knowledge having been on the web for a decade, building my own sites. . marketing etc.. but very little coding or web dev knowledge.
- I just wanted to be competitive to get that work.
- I picked up ‘word of mouth’ website builds.. but still charged very little.
- In the middle… That lead to a contract job with a company.. for a year.
- Which lead to a 3 year employment.
- In that time.. I learned a LOT…
- I worked with a team to create products
- I built a team to build more themes..
- Launched a WordPress marketplace..
- … worked with really smart people. People that had been in the software industry or worked with fortune 500 companies for decades.
- … I worked with a guru PHP programmer and learned a LOT from him.
- Today… Left that company and ultimately went out on my own.
- But I didn’t come out as a $25 / hour guy.. logic dictates and know a heck of a lot more than I did 3-4 years earlier.
- No, I vowed I wouldn’t do anything for under $40.. but ultimately my goal was to make more than a $100 per hour AND do project work that would go way beyond that.
- Guess what? I got that $40 work right away. Day 1.
- Within 6 months I started to get large projects.. $3-4-5000+ …
- I started focusing on getting $60 work..
- Up’d my prices with existing clients…
- THEN I started asking for $80.. AND am getting it with several companies!
- Next step for me is $120 per. hour.. I know I’ll get it.
- BUT .. understand my project/value based work is way beyond that. On some projects it’ll work out to $100s per hour.
- CONCLUSION… In the beginning.. try to do work without worrying about the pay. It may not be possible. This will help you build relationships…
- It will help you build a portfolio that you can leverage to get more work…
- And gain real experience…
- As you gain experience and over time start seeking clients with new numbers in mind.
- Focus on value based work.. that doesn’t mean you can’t do hourly!! I think some people think it’s one or the other. I like to employ a hybrid.
Sample the first 30 seconds below..
..or jump right to Spotify and listen to the full episode!