2014 Freelance Rates results: what people charge

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Cole Henley
Technical Director

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.

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

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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.

RegionCountMinMaxAverage2013+/-2012+/-2011+/-
East Midlands1642800307.53007.527532.53007.5
East of England26805503003000300025050
London13740120035032525337.5012.53500
North East1880500215240–25245–30275–60
North West4138570300267.5032.5261.2538.7525050
Northern Ireland975480200280–80262.50–62.5270–70
Scotland4650600310280302902028030
South East10275750320300202804030020
South West8950750280300–202503025822
Wales2150700262.525210.525012.5275–12.5
West Midlands32801200280300–20290–10337.50–57.5
Yorkshire & The Humber2650800255280–25287.50–32.52505

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.

AgeCountAverage2013+/-2012+/-2011+/-
15–1913150225–75280–13014010
20–2464240250–10250–1022515
25–291542802800280025030
30–341333003000290103000
35–3910232530025317.507.530025
40–4464367.532542.532047.532542.5
45+28337.530037.532512.5425–87.5

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.

SkillCountAverage2013+/-2012+/-2011+/-
Design268265300–352623300–35
Back-end dev210342.5322.502030042.528062.5
Front-end dev373300265352752528020
Mixture2762902801028010300–10

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 ExperienceCountAverage2013+/-2012+/-2011+/-
0–1281401355160–20200–60
2–378200225–25245–452000
4–586250275–25262.50–12.52500
6–79830029010255453000
8–961350300502807027575
10–1176350300503005030050
12–1336349300493004932029
14–1555375437.50–62.535025250125
16–17283603204034020372.50–12.5
18+15362.5375–12.5387.50–25475–112.5

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.

BillingCount%
By the day17130.59
By the project13624.33
By the hour12322.00
Varies per project8515.21
By the month254.47
By the week193.40

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.

DepositCount%
None23942.83
25–50% of project value18533.15
10–25% of project value7012.54
50%+ of project value376.63
0–10% of project value162.87
Yes, a fixed amount111.97
Contract?Count%
Yes34461.65
No21438.35

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 ValueCount%
£0–100011120.2
£1001–200011320.5
£2001–30007413.5
£3001–4000458.2
£4001–5000397.1
£5000–10,0008415.3
£10,000+8415.3

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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