Freelance Rates Survey, 2012

Well it’s been a long time coming but I finally managed to carve out some time to go through the responses to my survey on Freelance rates earlier in the year, following a similar survey carried out last year

There were 442 responses in total, up on responses from last year although 6 responses were rejected as it either was not possible to differentiate between hourly or day rate, or the rate was left blank.

Methodology

After last year’s survey I added some new questions to help discover more information on how freelance web folk work, as well as gender to see if there were any biases present. I also tried to tighten the responses as much as possible to use drop-down options rather than free text which would help with comparisons between different groups of data.

Despite asking for folk to submit their day-rate there were lots of folk who added their hourly rate so as a rule I multiplied anything that was explicitly hour-rate by 7.5. Where a range was specified the average was used (eg a rate of £200-400 was treated as £300).

As previously, I used Median to calculate averages as this would limit the impact of extreme outliers (looking at you Andy Clarke!).

I have summarised below the results for day-rates broken down by Age, Skill-set, Years Experience, Location and Gender – outlining total number of responses, minimum, maximum and average (median) as well as showing comparison (where available) with last years response.

Results

Day-rate by Age

Group Count Min (£) Max (£) Average (£) 2011 (£) +/- (£)
15-19 6 130 300 280 140 +140
20-24 51 100 700 225 250 -25
25-29 137 100 665 250 280 -30
30-34 117 100 750 300 290 +10
35-39 63 120 800 300 317.50 -17.50
40-44 39 160 700 325 320 +5
45+ 18 208 1200 355 425 -70

Day-rate by Skillset

Group Count Min (£) Max (£) Average (£) 2011 (£) +/- (£)
Back-end development 99 100 700 300 280 +20
Mixture of all three 127 100 700 280 300 -20
Front-end development 119 100 750 275 280 -5
Design 87 120 1200 262.50 300 -37.50

Day-rate by Years Experience

Group Count Min (£) Max (£) Average (£) 2011 (£) +/- (£)
0-1 9 100 500 160 200 -40
2-3 46 100 450 245 200 +45
4-5 95 100 665 262.50 250 +12.50
6-7 66 100 700 255 300 -45
8-9 43 150 600 280 275 +5
10-11 62 150 560 300 300 0
12-13 60 120 750 300 320 -20
14-15 25 150 1200 350 350 0
16-17 17 220 800 340 372.50 -32.50
18+ 8 300 700 387.50 475 -87.50

Day-rate by Location

Group Count Min (£) Max (£) Average (£) 2011 (£) +/- (£)
East Midlands 22 100 700 275 300 -25
East of England 11 200 487.50 300 250 +50
London 73 100 700 337.50 350 -12.50
North East 14 120 600 245 275 -30
North West 44 100 500 261.25 250 +11.25
Northern Ireland 8 150 360 262.50 270 -7.50
Scotland 52 100 700 290 280 +10
South East 73 110 750 280 300 -20
South West 61 120 665 250 258 -8
Wales 30 120 1200 250 275 -25
West Midlands 20 120 475 290 337.50 -47.50
Yorkshire & The Humber 26 100 425 287.50 250 +37.50

Day-rate by Gender

Group Count Min (£) Max (£) Average (£)
Male 399 100 1200 280
Female 30 120 500 250

Demographics and Work practices

How old are you?

15-19 2%
20-24 12%
25-29 32%
30-34 27%
35-39 15%
40-44 9%
45+ 4%

What is your gender?

Male 93%
Female 7%

Do you normally require a deposit before starting work on a project?

No deposit 47%
Fixed fee 2%
0-10% of project value 3%
10-25% of project value 16%
25-50% of project value 26%
50% of project value 6%

Do you normally use a contract?

Yes 56%
No 44%

What is the average value of projects you work on?

£0-1000 23%
£1001-2000 25%
£2001-3000 19%
£3001-4000 7%
£4001-5000 4%
£5000+ 23%

Do you primarily work …

Directly with clients 83%
Subcontracting for agencies 50%
In partnership with other freelancers 34%

Findings

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the economic downturn is that generally day rates have fallen since last year’s survey, with some areas experiencing a rise (for example, the North West, Yorkshire, East of England and Scotland). As you would expect London commands the highest rates, whilst the North East, South West and Wales command the lowers rates.

There isn’t a significant difference between skill-set although back-end development tends to command the highest rates, and as one might expect rates generally increase with both age and years of experience. For gender, males tend to command a higher salary than women.

In terms of demographics there was a significant bias towards men (93% of respondents) but a pretty even spread across ages, the majority falling between 25-34.

For work practices it was quite surprising how few participants work without a deposit and without a contract for work. Also the majority of respondents worked on projects less than £3000, with 48% on projects less than £2000.

Tool

Using the data I have rebuilt the FRAQ tool I cobbled together last year to reflect these updated rates and criteria. This can be seen at http://fraq.info. The source data for the survey has been posted up on Github at https://gist.github.com/4214846 under a Creative Commons Attribution license. You are free to use this data for whatever purposes you see fit as long as you provide attribution to this article.

Comments

Please add your thoughts …

You can use Textile

Just wanted to point out that some of the +/- values need to be inverted – e.g.
“0-1 9 100 500 160 200 +40” (should be -40).

Thanks for sharing the data :)

Thanks for this Cole.

It would be great to see a bell curve or similar to see the distribution of day rates, and thus to get a feel for how extreme those outliers are.

Thank you very much Cole,
As someone who is at the very upper limit of your age range, I am delighted to find such a good day rate for a jack-of-all-trades like myself.
My rates are going up. Splendid!

Thanks for taking the time to pull this together Cole, it’s really interesting and useful data – I’ve already referred a number of people to the results from last year when the topic of rates has come up, so it’s great to see the figures updated, and more responses too.

Thanks again :)

If anyone wants to do some fun things with the data, I took a moment to convert the CSV into JSON, which you can get via:

http://freelanceratesapi.herokuapp.com/all

Cheers!

Jack.

You say you calculated the median value, but in the results you title it as “average”. Why? The median and average values are different things.

Sorry Zirak – by median I mean middle value in a range. Maths is clearly not my forté!

Thanks for this Cole, it has really helped me prove a point to some people and the prices they charge. Particularly interesting is the location variations in prices.

I often work without a deposit and contract. I live in switzerland and most of my clients are abroad. Enforcing a contract across country borders is incredibly difficult. In theory in some juristictions you can take clients to small claims, but the lawyer fees will eat most of what you could possibly gain.

In my country, average day rate for front-end developer with 5 year experience is £30

Welcome to cooperate :)