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What's your actual hourly rate?

This blog post was originally published as a guest post on the 88miles blog.

So you’re happily freelancing or contracting – your clients love you, the work is flowing – It’s all good. In the weeks leading up to the end of your contract, you need to start looking for your next big thing. Doing that while still delivering great results to your current client is hard – you’ll have to spend time chasing new leads, meeting potential new clients and quoting.

Let’s say you’re on a 3 month contract charging $62.50 an hour.

$62.50 an hour * 8 hours * 5 days a week = $2,500 a week
4 weeks in a month = $10,000 a month. (There’s 4.3, but let’s keep it simple)
3 months = $30,000 for the project (or, 60 days)

If it takes you a week to land your next contract, how does that affect your hourly rate?

$30,000 / 65 days (the 60 from the project + the week off) = $57.69 an hour

What about a 4 week unplanned break due to gigs not lining up?

$30,000 / 80 days (the 60 from the project + the 4 weeks off) = $46.86 an hour

It drops down pretty quickly, doesn’t it? Surely there’s a way to stop that from happening?

The clients that use recruiters to hire freelancers choose to pay a little more to have hiring done for them, which is how we make our money. If you look at the picture long term, your rate is unaffected; it doesn’t cost you anything, but you do enjoy some of the other benefits:

  • Fortnightly pay – no need to chase invoices
  • Tax and superannuation payments – no surprises at the end of the financial year
  • Professional indemnity, public liability and workers comp insurance taken care of
  • General employment advice, including rate negotiations and extensions

If you’d prefer to get on with the work, and have someone else deal with time lining up contracts, get in contact with a recruiter, and see if they can help you out.