Freelancing is quite an in thing nowadays. Many people want to be their own boss, work on their own terms and make living out of freelancing for any service they are good at. Are you one of them? Read on, this could be useful for you.
I have found that many of my friends who want to start freelancing come up with one common question: "How to charge/quote client for project/work?". And surely there is no to-the-point answer for that question as charges depend completely on the requirement of the project. You need to figure out how many functionalities are there, how many features are there, what will be the estimated time to develop, test, making the project live, etc. And based upon all those factors one can quote about the charges for the project. Surely that is not easy when you are just starting with freelancing.
To offer some help I have prepared explanation for newbie freelancers in 2 easy steps:
1. Time estimation
For any project you need to provide time and cost estimation both. Only cost estimation won't work as client will ask you for timeline too. So time estimation is the first part.
For that, you need to gather all the information that is required to estimate the efforts it will take for you to complete the project. Communicate with client back and forth. Ask questions. Get answers. If there is confusion, ask questions again until you are clear with all the aspects of the project. Once the requirement is fully clear break it down in milestones or small points. Now, estimate time for each milestone/points you made. It is assumed that you have proper knowledge about the skill you are going to offer so you have rough idea about how much time it will take you to do particular task. That will give you rough time estimation about the project. Add extra 10 or 20% time to it as buffer, I am sure you will thank yourself for that later.
I have observed that is normal to underestimate the time when you are just starting up. But as you work on couple of projects you will start getting how much time it will actually take to complete a particular project/task. So do not worry if you quote less when you are beginning. It's just a learning curve!
2. Cost estimation
Now, we have time estimation of the project, move to cost estimation.
Remember the golden rule: You need to value yourself, don't let other value you.
Don't worry about how much other people will charge. Don't worry whether you are over-charging or under-charging. Following the method I explain, I suppose you should be fine with what you charge. The reason is, you are charging what you think you are worth. If you are under estimated the time then you might be under-charged but as I said earlier, take is as a learning experience.
For cost estimation, first decide value of yourself. How much are you worth? If you are doing a job then what do you expect should be your salary per month as per industry standard? Here, you need to be practical and realistic. Don't value yourself based upon what you think you can do. Rather, value yourself based upon what you have done till now and what is your experience. Look around and see what other people with same experience and skills are getting paid.
Say suppose, you have X years of programming experience and you think you should be paid INR 50,000 Rs if you are doing a full time job. So, your skills are worth 50,000 Rs per month. In a month you work approximately 4 weeks. 40 hours a week. That makes around 160 hours a month.
Divide 50,000 by 160 which gives 312.5. So your hourly work is worth around 300-350 rs. That is what you should charge to client.
In first step we figured the time estimation. Check how many hours you have estimated for the project and multiply it by 325. That is your quote for client!
You won't have regret whether you are under-charging or over-charging because you are charging what you think you are worth. If client is not ready to pay as per your quote then you should let him go.
That is the method I suggest to my friends. Let me know if you have any suggestion/feedback for this method or you have another method.