The Mud Blog

Freelance rates survey: how do freelancers work?

In the last two posts we have focussed on what freelancers charge and the kind of projects they work on. However, in the last year I have become increasingly interested in how the way we work affects our mind and body.

As a result, in this year's survey I was keen to find out more about the lifestyle of freelance working.In this post then we look at the practices and routines of working freelance: what hours do freelancers work? how many days a week do they work? how regularly do freelancers exercise?

The Results

Unsurprisingly, the majority of freelancers worked from home. This is understandable given that it keeps costs down. I was surprised that only 7% of responses used a co-working space although this may reflect the relative infancy and rarity of this kind of workspace.

Where do you primarily work?

Where Count %
From Home 318 67.23%
Dedicated office 63 13.32%
Co-working space 33 6.98%
Coffee shop 3 0.63%
Other (eg on-site) 56 11.84%

The majority of freelancers keep to a five day week, although a quarter work more than this. This tallies with my experiences of freelance life where it can be common to feel that time not working was time not earning, although as somebody with two small children weekends were also very often the only opportunity I got to spend quality time with my family.

The majority of freelancers work a full day, with over fifty percent working over 8 hours a day.

On average, how many days a week do you normally work?

Days Count %
< 5 days/week 77 16.34%
5 days/week 270 57.32%
6 days/week 109 23.14%
7 days/week 15 3.18%

On average, how many hours a day do you normally work?

Hours Count %
< 4 hours 31 6.57%
5-7 hours 175 37.08%
8-10 hours 234 49.58%
> 10 hours 32 6.78%

85% of freelancers drink caffeinated drinks, and most in moderation it seems (1-5 cups a day) whilst almost half (44%) drink alcoholic drinks more than twice a week. It is good to see that the majority of freelancers (68%) exercise at least weekly with over half at least a couple of times a week and 15% daily.

How many caffeinated drinks a day you consume?

Drinks Count %
None 72 15.32%
1-2 drinks 152 32.34%
3-5 drinks 180 38.3%
5-10 drinks 60 12.76%
> 10 drinks 6 1.28%

How often do you have an alcoholic drink?

Often Count %
Never 44 9.32%
Monthly or less 84 17.8%
2-3 times/month 135 28.6%
2-3 times/week 150 31.78%
4 or more times/week 59 12.5%

How often do you exercise for more than thirty minutes?

Often Count %
Never 43 9.11%
Monthly or less 39 8.26%
Monthly 16 3.38%
A couple of times a month 55 11.65%
Weekly 56 11.86%
A couple of times a week 190 40.25%
Daily 73 15.47%

Overall it is good to see relatively health work practices across freelancers. With hindsight there are more questions I’d have liked to ask on this subject: do you have children? how many days holiday do you take a year? do you tend to work on public holidays?

Next week we will try to bring all the responses together and provide some tools to help you work out what to charge for your time.

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