Following up from last week’s post covering what Freelancers charge, this week we want to look at what the Freelance Rates survey responses tell us about how freelancers work in the UK. Here, I wanted to get a clearer picture of working practices and particularly whether working freelance gave people the freedom and work/life balance that many freelancers aspire to.

Working life

The majority of respondents (67%) work from home whilst the majority of the remainder either work on-site with clients or at a dedicated office.

Work placeCount%
From home37867.86
Dedicated office10919.57
Co-working space295.21
Client office274.85
Coffee shop40.72

The clear majority of freelancers worked 5 days a week. However over a quarter worked 6 days a week. So much for the four day week! This pattern is shared when we look at number of hours worked a day. Over half of respondents worked between 8 and 10 hours a day with 10% of respondents working over 10 hours a day.

Days workedCount%
5 days a week30756.23
7 days a week295.31
Less than 5 days a week6411.72
6 days a week14626.74
Hours workedCount%
5–7 hours18433.52
8–10 hours29453.55
More than 10 hours519.29
Less than 4 hours203.64

Clients and Projects

Over 40% of freelancers only worked on 1 or 2 projects at any time with a quarter working on between 3 and 4 projects. The majority also had relatively short projects with over half lasting less than a month and 34% between 1 and 3 months long.

This gives a picture of focused work on smaller projects, as reflected in last week’s post where 40% of respondents worked on projects worth less than £2,000.

Who work with?Count%
directly with clients22440.00
in partnership with other freelancers12221.79
subcontracting for agencies28550.89
Concurrent projectsCount%
1–2 projects23541.96
4+ projects7413.21
2–4 projects15427.50
Only 1 project at a time9717.32
Length of projectCount%
< 1 month28550.35
1–3 months19534.45
3–6 months478.30
6–12 months264.59
> 12 months132.30

Business and Accounting

In terms of legal composition half of respondents worked as a sole-trader, with almost half trading as a Limited Company.

Trading asCount%
Limited Company25345.34
sole trader part of LLP with other freelancers10.18
Not a registered company10.18
Not yet registered10.18

When it comes to accounting, over a third are self-accounting whilst 28% use a local accountant and 21% use an online service (although the wording of this question is probably fairly ambiguous).

I’m self-accounting20336.38
I use a local accountant16028.67
I use an online service11921.33
I use a remote accountant7613.62

Once more the clear majority of respondents who use accounting software use Freeagent with 60% of freelancers. 10% used Xero with the remainder spread between Crunch, Freshbooks and Harvest.