Why we don't sell hours (Do you?)(medium.com)

over 4 years ago from Keni Teh

  • Tom WoodTom Wood, over 4 years ago

    I suppose the biggest caveat to this is that it requires projects with a 1+ week duration. A lot of our work is smaller, and as such can be completed in an hour or two. We'd be back to billing 0.10 of a week for 4 hours of work, for example.

    I quite like the day/half-day workflow employed by many freelancers. I think that makes sense, and it also gives the designer greater freedom and flexibility to do "good" work.

    Hourly billing is by it's nature quite restrictive, as you're aware that you want to ensure the client is only paying for the hours you're actually working. It's open to both over-servicing, and under quoting as it requires accuracy from all parties.

    3 points
    • Sarper Erel, over 4 years ago

      But still, why not charge by project or work but time? Charging by time feels like:

      1. punishing yourself for being good at what you are doing and quicker

      2. overcharging customer if you are slow

      3. making the conversation about "how many hours they can buy?" rather than "what do they want/need?"

      4. it exposes you to end up in a conversation like "why a logo took 3h42m to make not 2h30m?"

      It doesn't mean that you still can't consider how long time would a project take (plus or minus) and reflect that on your price.

      1 point
      • jj moijj moi, over 4 years ago

        Not that I'm all for hourly rate but just to answer your points:

        1. It'd be the opposite. You could charge more than other designers because you do it better and faster.

        2. If you can find clients to hire you at the rate you are happy, awesome.

        3. You'll going to have the conversation either way. It'd just change to how do you come up with the price tag for this project.

        4. You can explain that in less than 5 minutes. It's part of educating the clients.

        2 points
        • Zach HubbardZach Hubbard, over 4 years ago

          With #1, couldn't you just charge more on a per-project basis? You're talented, your work is worth $5,000 for X, while designer #2 is worth $1,000 for X. Plus, again it doesn't hurt you if you complete the work sooner.

          0 points
          • jj moijj moi, over 4 years ago

            What I'm saying is, in the end, fixed & hourly rate are the same thing. see #3

            I personally break the project scope into line items and attach working hours to each line. The total fee is fixed or time then? it's the same.

            0 points
      • James Young, over 4 years ago

        I'm not sure I understand #3.

        What do they want/need is surely the question asked at the beginning of the conversation then you still need to estimate how long it will take.

        If someone says they need "a way to help their users better filter products when searching their eCommerce site" how do you estimate how long it takes - I've never had a client sign off on something without at least an estimate of how long something is likely to take.

        It's not like anyone can reasonably say a job will take exactly 3h42m but you can at least ballpark something based on experience and your skill to give a client a rough idea of what to budget.

        The other way we often try to work is to establish what their budget is first - oddly, in web it often seems like asking for a budget is a shady thing and clients think they should keep it secret. We try to reverse this and when we have an idea of budget and project requirements, we'll deliver as many features as possible within that scope.

        0 points