The Mud Blog

2014 Freelance Rates results: what people charge

It’s been a few months since we opened up last year’s survey to look at Freelance rates working in the web industry. This is the fourth year running the survey and each year the survey has expanded to find out more about what freelancers in the UK charge, how they work and ultimately how their work affects them. Many people work freelance as a lifestyle choice so am particularly interested in if this leads to a healthy work/life balance.

In this first of three blog posts we will look at what people charge and how this varies across various factors.

This post is supported by a fantastic interactive data-visualisation from Peter Cook looking at the responses.

Additionally we have updated the freelance rates calculator to help people know how they rates compare to others with similar skills and experience.

Methodology

As with previous years, average values are taken from the Median value across our responses. Note that this year for the first time we asked people for their hourly rates as well as day rates but for the purpose of consistency this analysis will only consider day rates.

Day rates by Location

Overall rates across the UK were consistent with last year with some variability across the UK. For the first time since our survey started, average rates have not seen an increase staying at £290/day. Unsurprisingly, freelancers in London and the South East commanded the highest rates whilst Yorkshire, the North East and Northern Ireland the lowest. Interestingly the regions with the highest rates had also generally seen the largest rises in day rates whilst those with lower rates had seen the largest fall. London, for example has seen a 7.69% rise in day rates whilst somewhat sadly Northern Ireland has seen a 28.5% fall in day rates.

Region Count Min Max Average 2013 +/- 2012 +/- 2011 +/-
East Midlands 16 42 800 307.5 300 7.5 275 32.5 300 7.5
East of England 26 80 550 300 300 0 300 0 250 50
London 137 40 1200 350 325 25 337.50 12.5 350 0
North East 18 80 500 215 240 –25 245 –30 275 –60
North West 41 38 570 300 267.50 32.5 261.25 38.75 250 50
Northern Ireland 9 75 480 200 280 –80 262.50 –62.5 270 –70
Scotland 46 50 600 310 280 30 290 20 280 30
South East 102 75 750 320 300 20 280 40 300 20
South West 89 50 750 280 300 –20 250 30 258 22
Wales 21 50 700 262.5 252 10.5 250 12.5 275 –12.5
West Midlands 32 80 1200 280 300 –20 290 –10 337.50 –57.5
Yorkshire & The Humber 26 50 800 255 280 –25 287.50 –32.5 250 5

Day rates by Age

It is no surprise that on average the older the person the higher the day rate. However there is a much greater disparity in what freelancers are earning, with younger freelancers (24 and under) rates going down considerably whilst older freelancers (35 and over) rates have gone up.

Age Count Average 2013 +/- 2012 +/- 2011 +/-
15–19 13 150 225 –75 280 –130 140 10
20–24 64 240 250 –10 250 –10 225 15
25–29 154 280 280 0 280 0 250 30
30–34 133 300 300 0 290 10 300 0
35–39 102 325 300 25 317.50 7.5 300 25
40–44 64 367.5 325 42.5 320 47.5 325 42.5
45+ 28 337.5 300 37.5 325 12.5 425 –87.5

Day rates by skill set

Day rates for developers and generalists (those working across a mixture of disciplines) tend to have gone up but the day rate for designers has gone down on average by £35/day. Back-end developer have the highest day rates whilst designers have the lowest.

Skill Count Average 2013 +/- 2012 +/- 2011 +/-
Design 268 265 300 –35 262 3 300 –35
Back-end dev 210 342.5 322.50 20 300 42.5 280 62.5
Front-end dev 373 300 265 35 275 25 280 20
Mixture 276 290 280 10 280 10 300 –10

Day rate by years experience

Unsurprisingly, rates increase with years experience ranging from £140/day with a year or less experience to £362.5/day for those with 18 or more years experience. With a couple of exceptions rates are generally going up.

Years Experience Count Average 2013 +/- 2012 +/- 2011 +/-
0–1 28 140 135 5 160 –20 200 –60
2–3 78 200 225 –25 245 –45 200 0
4–5 86 250 275 –25 262.50 –12.5 250 0
6–7 98 300 290 10 255 45 300 0
8–9 61 350 300 50 280 70 275 75
10–11 76 350 300 50 300 50 300 50
12–13 36 349 300 49 300 49 320 29
14–15 55 375 437.50 –62.5 350 25 250 125
16–17 28 360 320 40 340 20 372.50 –12.5
18+ 15 362.5 375 –12.5 387.50 –25 475 –112.5

How we bill

If we look at how people charge for work then we can see that there is a pretty even split between those that bill per day, those that bill per hour and those that bill per project.

Billing Count %
By the day 171 30.59
By the project 136 24.33
By the hour 123 22.00
Varies per project 85 15.21
By the month 25 4.47
By the week 19 3.40

Deposits and Contracts

Worryingly, the majority of respondents (43%) still don’t ask for a deposit before starting work on a project whilst 33% ask for 25-50% of project value up front. 38% of respondents don’t use a contract.

Deposit Count %
None 239 42.83
25–50% of project value 185 33.15
10–25% of project value 70 12.54
50%+ of project value 37 6.63
0–10% of project value 16 2.87
Yes, a fixed amount 11 1.97
Contract? Count %
Yes 344 61.65
No 214 38.35

Project Value

40% of Freelancers had an average project value of less than £2000, 28% between £2000 and £5000 whilst 30% had an average project value over £5000.

Project Value Count %
£0–1000 111 20.2
£1001–2000 113 20.5
£2001–3000 74 13.5
£3001–4000 45 8.2
£4001–5000 39 7.1
£5000–10,000 84 15.3
£10,000+ 84 15.3

The data from the survey is freely available as a CSV. This data is available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. If you want to build your own data-visualisation or tools based on this data you are free to do so but please link to the source and provide a link in the comments below.

Remember to check out Peter Cook's brilliant interactive data-visualisation, and our updated freelance rates calculator.

And join us next week where we will look at how Freelancers work in our industry.

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