The Mud Blog

Freelance rates: what do freelancers charge?

As a growing design agency we often need to call on the help of talented local freelancers to help us deliver projects. It is important as a business that when we work with freelancers that they represent good value and that they share our passion for quality design, but also that they enjoy working with us and feel suitably remunerated for their work. Which begs the question what is a good day rate for freelancers working on the web?

Back in 2011 this was a question I struggled with as a freelancer. I started a survey polling freelance rates in an attempt to get a snapshot of what freelancers were charging across the UK. The response to the freelance rates survey was fantastic and on the back of the data I was able to create a tool to help people work out what kind of rates they should be charging compared to others with similar skills and experience.

The survey is now in its third year and with time I've tried to gather more information about the working practices an lifestyle of freelancers on the web.

This year, rather than dump all the results into a single blog post I want instead to focus on a series of posts looking at different aspects of the survey. I’m also excited that data doyen Brian Suda has kindly offered his services to help interpret and present the results from the survey. We will also be relaunching the freelance rates tool with a new look and feel and updated data.

So today I want to provide a brief snapshot from the responses and look at some of the more general patterns that have emerged in this years survey.  Over the coming weeks we will look at some of these in more detail and look more at the working practices and lifestyle of freelancers working on the web in the UK.

The Big Picture

Overall responses were up on previous years with 475 respondents compared to 442 last year and 404 the year before. Again some folk entered hourly rates rather than daily rates so consistent with previous years any rates logged below £100 were not used.
The good news is that in general day rates have risen slightly - from £280 last year to £300.

Day-rate by Age

There was generally an increase in rates across age groups although rates for those in their thirties were unchanged and the lower and upper ages featured a fall in rates (although the small number of responses for 15-19 year old should be noted).

Age Count Min (£) Max (£) Average (£) 2011 (£) +/- (£) 2012 (£) +/- (£)
15-19 6 100 300 225 140 +85 280 -55
20-24 50 100 680 250 250 0 225 +25
25-29 137 100 1000 280 280 0 250 +30
30-34 124 100 1000 300 290 +10 300 0
35-39 70 100 750 300 317.50 -17.50 300 0
40-44 40 112.50 700 325 320 +20 325 -25
45+ 24 150 625 300 425 -100 355 -30

Day-rate by Skillset

There was an overall rise in rates across the skills recorded – particularly back-end development and design – although there was a small decline for front-end developers.

Skillset Count Min (£) Max (£) Average (£) 2011 (£) +/- (£) 2012 (£) +/- (£)
Back-end development 72 200 1000 322.50 280 +42.50 300 +22.50
Mixture of all three 168 100 825 280 300 0 280 +20
Front-end development 109 100 550 265 280 -15 275 -10
Design 103 100 1000 300 300 0 262.50 +37.50

Day-rate by Years Experience

The general trend was for rates to be stable or rising for those with over 4 years experience, whilst rates fell for those with the most and least experience (less than 4 years and over 15 years experience).

Years Count Min (£) Max (£) Average (£) 2011 (£) +/- (£) 2012 (£) +/- (£)
0-1 14 100 300 135 200 -65 160 -25
2-3 61 100 500 225 200 +25 245 -20
4-5 79 160 750 275 250 +25 262.50 +12.50
6-7 86 100 1000 290 300 -10 255 +35
8-9 53 120 1000 300 275 +25 280 +20
10-11 58 100 825 300 300 0 300 0
12-13 37 150 700 300 320 -20 300 0
14-15 36 175 700 437.50 350 +87.50 350 +87.50
16-17 15 150 650 320 372.50 -52.50 340 -20
18+ 11 100 750 375 475 -100 387.50 -12.50

Day-rate by Location

Across the UK rates rose slightly with particularly significant(?) rises in Northern Ireland and southern England. Scotland, London and Yorkshire however experienced a slight fall in day rate.

Location Count Min (£) Max (£) Average (£) 2011 (£) +/- (£) 2012 (£) +/- (£)
East Midlands 21 100 750 300 300 0 275 +25
East of England 22 100 400 300 250 +50 300 0
London 88 100 700 325 350 -25 337.50 -12.50
North East 12 120 420 240 275 -35 245 -5
North West 50 100 750 267.50 250 +17.50 261.25 +6.25
Northern Ireland 9 100 500 280 270 +10 262.50 +17.50
Scotland 31 150 500 280 280 0 290 -10
South East 75 100 500 300 300 0 280 +20
South West 78 100 1000 300 258 +42 250 +50
Wales 21 100 450 252 275 -23 250 +2
West Midlands 19 100 750 300 337.50 -37.50 290 +10
Yorkshire & The Humber 4 150 400 280 250 +30 287.50 -7.50

Day-rate by Gender

It was good to see a rise in the number of responses from females although these are still a low proportion of overall responses. Male rates have fallen whilst female rates have risen (but still low numbers).

Gender Count Min Max Average (£) 2012 +/-
Male 404 100 1000 250 280 -30
Female 45 120 650 300 250 +50
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