This is my third post in this series regarding project pricing vs. hourly pricing for a service provider. I went over the two, and then got into some instances where project pricing could work better (like a wedding photographer offering packages, etc.)
But in general terms, when you have a situation where you are deciding between the two, I feel hourly is better. The reason is simple – hourly paints you as a true professional.
When you work hourly, you are saying “I am excellent at what I do, and to buy an hour of my time, it will cost you xyz”.
I know there are two common arguments against hourly pricing. Let me address them both.
The first anti-hourly argument is “It’s too much like a job”. The second anti-hourly argument is “people will be scared of your price”.
These both are countered by the same answer – if either of the above apply to you, then you aren’t good (or confident) enough to command a high enough rate to justify hourly rates. Trust me, charging a true professional rate NEVER feels like a “job”. And the clients you want – the ones who have money and require excellent work – well, they aren’t put off by high rates. In fact, they are attracted to them. But they also have to feel, either from your website, reputation, or portfolio (and sometimes all three) that you are worth the money. Are you?
Now, the first case I mention (not being good enough) will work itself out shortly. If you can’t run with the big dogs, you will be back in a job soon enough. I know that sounds arrogant and terrible and all that malarkey, but it’s also true. This is business, and the truth hurts.
In the second case (not being confident enough)… that part I get. Trust me, when I started doing this about 15 years ago, I shuddered at the thought of even charging $50 an hour (note: my rates today are three times that.) You might just be starting out, and need the confidence that comes with a few successful projects and happy clients. And maybe more than a few – it took me years (years!) before I was confident enough to charge a better rate. But today, I have to beat people away, even at my $150 an hour rate. People will pay for excellent work (the only kind I produce.)
I have a few more thoughts on this topic that I’ll write about from time to time, like just how much work is crammed into an hour, do I charge for every little thing (yea, kinda), and such. But that’s for another time.
That was a tough winter – enjoy the thaw, folks.