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Ask HN: How much do you make at a remote job?
105 points by throwaway0822 308 days ago | hide | past | web | 126 comments | favorite
Inspired by threads about Amazon [1] and Google [2], I thought that we would all benefit from some more information about the pay of remote jobs.

Some companies seem to highly adjust for location, for example, Buffer is paying $93k for a developer in Hong Kong, $77k in Buenos Aires, and $144k in San Francisco, for the same job.

This raises questions about determining 'fair' salary outside the major cities, where the cost of living is well known and understood, and sources such as Numbeo and similar sometimes miss essential issues.

So, dear reader, what's your job, where are you based, on what's your salary?

The more information we have available, the better off we are! :)

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11312984

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11314449

I've been working remotely for 8 years. I work mostly for 3 different clients (so not only one company) and I charge by the day.

In total, I earned $210k (before tax) last year. I'm more of a digital nomad (part of the attraction of having a remote job) than really based in a specific but mostly alternate between countries in Europe and Asia renting an apartment for 2-3 months at a time.

Most important thing when working remotely is discipline and communication. Since you're not with the customers in their office, you need to really produce results and make sure they see those results.

That lifestyle is very appealing to me. How did you get to that point in your career? (It seems pretty far off for a recent grad who just started a job - but pretty awesome)

What kind of work do you do?

Long ago, when I first went remote, I made a point of quoting half my on-site rate when working from the beach in the cheap, comfortable part of the world. It payed for my beer and let me keep my toes in the sand. Life was good.

Then one day I decided to not cut my rate in half when bringing on a new client. Nobody but me seemed to notice, so now I don't do that anymore. Life got decidedly gooder.

So the answer to the posed question is that one should always bill out at their butt-in-seat Bay Area rate. For me, that was... Well, let's just say it was never less than double your highest number above.

The thing they're buying is you. Never cut your rate based on your location.

Specifically what sort of work did you do that you were able to get those rates?

Web stuff. Front-end mostly of late, but full stack as well.

I can point to real products in the wild demonstrating that I can deliver a shipping app from the idea stage with no hand holding, and I can put together an entire sentence over the phone. But beyond that, there's nothing special that I do that other developers can't, except ask to be paid a market rate.

And to head off the inevitable comment about contracting being unsustainable and feast-or-famine, I recently ended a 5 year, full time remote gig at that aforementioned Bay Area rate. It's certainly doable, for a regular dev off the street. You just need to be able to prove that you're good at what you do.

Interesting. When it comes to rates though, my interpretation of your wording is a floor of 288k/yr (at least double what was mentioned in the post right?). From what I have seen you have to do specialty work to command rates that high.

in my experience a lot of (def not all of it) it comes down to how you market yourself, how you look / present yourself, your confidence, and how you present your past accomplishments.

communication and response time is also pretty huge. Employers love people that get right back to them with details, or at least a response to let them know they are working on it.

I myself am a contractor, but I also hire other contractors under me, so I know a little bit about the hiring of contractors process. Most of the time I start with something small, and work them into the larger jobs. For instance, I'll start them with debugging problem areas of our website / app. If they do well and fit with our remote team, I will give them more and more. Money doesn't matter nearly as much as being able to get the job done so if someone quotes $100/hour vs $75/hour its not even a consideration.

for instance, getting a really nice high def headshot on a website with actual samples of your apps, designs, or projects can really go a long way. (as opposed to an email with written descriptions of what you've done). Active Github pages are great, but its also nice to make a "demo page" of all of your end products.

lastly, it is great to see passion. this might be an active Twitter profile, a blog where you write a monthly post on what you are working on, or even an active Instagram where you take cool pics of your products and interact with others. it isn't mandatory but it definitely sticks out, big time.

I don't make nearly as much as many of the people in here, but I do live a comfortable life where I can travel and have some nice things, and I've been doing so for the last 10 years.

There's a lot of existence disproof to that statement. Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. have thousands of developers doing better than that, most of which wouldn't be described as specialists.

When it comes to disproof of course this is the case, as a single person my perception is limited. It also helps to be a bit more specific, because that level of salary is the minority for just the cash component. But once you include bonuses, perks, etc more people do get compensation like that.

Lead Developer, Canada, $210,000 CAD/year working for a US based company

My general advice would be to ignore companies that play the "Market Card" against you. Change the conversation to be about the value that you generate. If they won't budge, find somewhere else. Companies that make people victims of the market of where they live are generally going to be awful places to work anyway.

My general response to companies (or agencies) offering "market rate" compensation has been along the lines of "I don't do market rate. I do 10x market rate. Find someone else."

Did you go through a staffing company for this one?

Nope. I would never use a staffing company. They just want to close deals so they will almost always sell you short to get the deal done. Plus they always charge fees which the company associates with you and not the staffing company.

If you can scrounge up the money the best is to go to a conference in a "major" software country. Try and meet as many people there as possible. Will it cost a couple thousand dollars? Yup. Will a good paying job replace that money in a few weeks? Oh yes.

If you can't do that, a lot of people seem to post that they are looking for developer help on Twitter. Do some crafty searching to try and find these people. Otherwise you'll have to use remote job boards which aren't bad but aren't great.

In my experience there are two types of companies looking for remote developers. One is looking to increase value by paying less and the other is aware that hiring is hard and having access to a wide pool of talent is where the value is at.

I'm based in a low living cost region outside of US, making $155k by working as a UI engineer for a growing US startup.

$155k base plus a number of stock options (value of ~60k when I first joined under a year ago, now ~144k) vested over a period 4 years.

I spend ~$24k per year, live comfortably. Love my job!


Which part of the world do you live in (Europe (I'd assume Eastern or Southern), Asia, South America, Africa), if you don't mind sharing?

Thats the dream! How did you land the job?

> Some companies seem to highly adjust for location, for example, Buffer is paying $93k for a developer in Hong Kong, $77k in Buenos Aires, and $144k in San Francisco, for the same job.

On a side note, how would they know if I lied? What would happen if I had a SanFran address, bank account, and everything but I lived in the middle of no where?

Also, is it legal to discriminately pay people different amounts based on where they live? I can't see a valid way to say, for most positions, that the people are more or less valuable to the company based on location.

If you're doing defense contracting or other such marketable services and you are hiring people who live in DC then yes I can see it but for run of the mill product development I cannot.

Using a throw-away account, I've been doing exactly this for the past 6 months. Living with my parents in their pretty nice house in Africa. And I'm saving a decent amount.

My clients are from all over the US - all 4 timezones. I work in the Pacific Timezone (SF) - Sleep at 6 am my local time and wake up at 2 pm. I know I can do this right now as I am young but it's not good for health (Or maybe it's fine if your body adjusts?).

Not once has any client asked me to come over and meet them and that works for me. I've also mentioned to some of them them that I do travel and work but never told them I'm actually out of the country.

I've ported my US number to Google Voice and that works perfectly.

EDIT: I think there are 2 things clients worry about if the freelancer is not in the US:

1) Will he be able to work in my Timezone, will I be able to call him when I want?

2) Can I trust the quality of the developer?

I think it's weird, that if a freelancer is based in SF working remotely, he can charge $X/hr but if that same freelancer moves to a different place (Singapore or Tokyo or Mumbai or Arusha) offering the same level of quality and service, he can only demand $Y/hr where X>Y.


Ask me anything :)

I mean, if they never asked where you live and are just assuming, then I suppose it's fair. However, if you told them or did not deny that you live somewhere other than you do, that would seem professionally dishonest to me. I don't think I would stake my trustworthiness and reputation for a few dollars.

Yes, to keep my conscience clear, I never lie to them. When something like this comes up, I just tell them I take advantage of working remotely and live nomadically as I like traveling - which was true when I was in SF and still is.

It is just that they talk to me on my US cell phone number during regular US hours and I'd think they assume I'm in the US.

Yes, I might be walking on a thin line of being unethical/unprofessional.. But my clients are really happy with my work. So I tell myself, as long as I am providing value to them, they should pay me what I deserve and not based on my location.

Also, I don't really have an option, I did not want to get a regular H1B visa and so because of that, I thought it would be better I continue work living outside. The clients were remote even before I left.

Would their bookkeeping (taxes, etc.) be affected by this if they are under the impression that you are U.S. based? Do you provide invoices with an address on them?

It should all be normal. I have a registered California LLC with an agent and an address. I am legally allowed to operate this company from anywhere and the invoice goes out from my company's address - everything is legal.

I see. That makes sense. Thanks for sharing :)

So you pay California/US taxes? Sounds somewhat an overhead.

I think the big question is always 'how do you get clients?'.

I think it helps to already have a good history / portfolio. With my 3 years of remote working experience, I think the initial low paying struggle is more of an investment for the future better clients and money.

I now have a pretty good reputation on Upwork and get a lot of work from there.

Also, giving talks at relevant tech meetups and having Youtube videos for those helps in getting leads.

If you don't mind I'd be interested to know how much you charge.

That's a very interesting point. I don't think we even need to get into the "legal" talks. I love how buffer is so transparent with everyone, but at the same time I'm not sure how I like (or dislike) how they discriminate with locations. I think both sides have very valid points right.

If I'm a native from buenos aires for example, for me the ideal might to stay there, so ok, maybe it's fair that's my salary is adjusted with my cost of living.

but at the same time, it's the same labor and same output for the company, just cheaper. So you can also see that as a way for the company to get cheaper labor... If you are so much into having a remote team, then why would you discriminate against location right?

It can be seen as "we love remote, but actually just because it allows us to get the same labor for cheaper!".

I think getting the same labor for cheaper is a totally valid goal for any business. It's similar to a developer shopping around at various companies to do (roughly) the same job but for better pay and benefits.

Or choosing to live in cheaper places to keep more of their pay.

>>> If you are so much into having a remote team, then why would you discriminate against location right?

Well, minimizing the cost of running business is very reasonable, as long as it's fair to the employees which is subjective and complicated issue.

I think that this is a fairly complicated issue. Some points:

* if you pay the SF rate for developers in small towns in Easter Europe or Siberia or India or whatever, where the average salary is less than $750/mo and sometimes much lower, you might have some odd dynamics. Golden handcuffs and all that;

* however, it is reasonably often an intentional decision to live in a cheaper place, with less opportunities, etc, so that you can save more money. So not really fair to heavily penalize for that and questionable how much should you penalize;

* it's hard to adjust the numbers globally, really. There are some web sites about cost of living, but they ignore loads of details about the local dynamics. Often it's just a crowd sourced average.

So paying the SF (or NYC or whatever) rate globally probably wouldn't work, you need some adjustments. The severity of such adjustments is hard to get right.

But what's the alternative to pay everyone the SF rate?

Cost of living is a standard adjustment factor, so it's not really discrimination. For example, I work for a company based in a low cost part of South Carolina with employees in Seattle, Phoenix and remotes in different spots of the country. Our HR department does a really good job of trying to ensure they have equitable compensation and based on that there's a "Seattle" scale for the employees at our Seattle office and a Phoenix scale for everybody else since that's more competitive with a national average.

I don't see how this is fair. Zip code discrimination is a thing and should be treated as the same level as other discrimination. If not, why not paying less someone who lives in Oakland than in SF?

I should have clarified. There's an office in Seattle so the Seattle employees are coming in to the office everyday. That means they are subject to the same proximity based real estate rates as everyone else in the area. If they move away from that area, the scale adjusts.

Basically, Phoenix is our standard bearer for scale. Seattle is just so much more expensive that you can't employ anyone in Seattle for those rates, so the higher pay scale is necessity. If everyone could be paid at Phoenix rates, they would be. The compensation is equitable based on cost of living.

Amusingly enough, I sometimes see the opposite. The engineer who lives next door to the office in SoMa works far more hours than the one in Oakland for the same pay.

Going further: Are there any clear examples of companies deciding to /not/ adjust for location? "We don't subsidize your choice of location. This job pays $100k regardless of where you live."

It sounds nice at first glance, but I don't hear about it happening. Is that because no one is attempting or because no one is surviving the attempt?

Some places do not adjust for location.

This tends to make them really really good deal for an employee in Mississippi, and a really really bad deal for someone in NYC or SF.

My take? A business wants the best employee it can get for the dollar. If your best employee for salary X is some guy in Mississippi, then so be it. If only a guy in NYC can fill your need, then I guess you need to raise your rate.

> What would happen if I had a SanFran address, bank account, and everything but I lived in the middle of no where?

Certainly curious myself, it would be easy enough just to pick my parents' house as my permanent residence...

But then, if you are willing to lie to your employer starting day 1, we're in a complete different conversation I think :)

Well the employer is willing to cheat you out of hard earned money from day one.

I'd say that is horribly unfair. What if this same form of open discrimination were applied to any other useless factor? Being in a location other then specific areas means nothing for remote position that is open to anyone around the world.

What you are willing to pay for a service should be what you are willing to pay for the service. Not anything as a function of location.

>I'd say that is horribly unfair. What if this same form of open discrimination were applied to any other useless factor? Being in a location other then specific areas means nothing for remote position that is open to anyone around the world.

But isn't it fair, because you can choose your location where you want to work remotely from depending on your personal preference with no need to account for costs?

No it's not fair. Equal work should result in equal pay.

If they pay $30,000 a Bulgarian developer remotely, are they atomically going to adjust to $150,000 if some day he moves to London? I don't think so.

Just because you can pick your location doesn't mean a business should arbitrarily pay you less for doing so.

Use a friend's address in SF and be done with it if they do so.

What if they ask you to briefly pass by the office or meet with a customer or business partner over a coffee? In any case, lying about your location is not a good way to build trust with a remote employer.

I'm assuming you did not read my comment in full. I acknowledge that as being a factor.

> If you're doing defense contracting or other such marketable services and you are hiring people who live in DC then yes I can see

That is fair but it is one scenario out of many that I'm sure seldom plays out. If I'm running a business the LAST thing I want is ANYONE outside of sales talking to the client. Only makes for bad bad things but it can still be a factor.

That being said that is obviously not what is happening here.

I was responding to the question "how would they know if I lied", not justifying whether it is fair/legal to pay remote workers differently based on their location. I agree that a customer-facing scenario may be rare for a programmer, but it is easy to imagine other scenarios playing out. Like your manager or colleagues asking to meet up with you face to face. Or needing to have documents or hardware couriered to your address.

I'll just add my data point.

I joined a company as a remote Senior Full Stack Engineer at 95k a year. It was a jump up from my previous company where I just negotiated up to 80k from 65k. This was in Northern Virginia, where 95k was pretty decent - though toward the end of my 1.5 years there I was expecting a major jump to 110, 120k based on the work. When I started asking for my raise, I learned it's a lot harder to negotiate as a remote employee and was laid off.

I picked up a contracting type gig where I negotiated a decent pay for where I moved (SoCal), but at the end of the month they decided I wasn't worth paying almost 2x as much as their devs in Poland/Brazil and such.

I then took a nice paying, stable in-office job and couldn't be happier :)

Wow. This thread is blowing my mind. I'm a js fullstacker who is moving to Europe within two weeks and and I'm having trouble even getting replies to job postings when I offer a rate of $60/hr (I'm wondering now if that's too "cheap"?)! I feel like I'm missing something big on my resume, my approach, something (if curious, github is on my profile)...

How did you all find your jobs? My blindly applying online doesn't seem to be working out well.

Just keep in mind that European companies don't pay US rates!

London is bit of an exception, but lifestyle there is crazy expensive obviously

If you want a US rate you have to compete globally, which is quite discouraging to me.

So as a freelancer I'm happy to have a theoretically 'low' rate but which in practice lets me live more than well in Spain.

The rates in London I've seen were pretty much the same as what I make in Berlin (400-500 GBP/day). These are from job postings by contracting agencies like Computer Futures. The only exception seems to be finance. Which, I think, requires domain knowledge.

First time I heard of such rates in Berlin!

I guess they pay that in order to compete with London?

Else they don't seem to correspond with Germany's market and cost-of-living...

Where have you been looking? Examples of companies hiring freelancers at those rates are T-Labs, ImmobilienScout, eBay and HERE. Berlin is actually lower than other regions that have higher cost of living (Frankfurt, Stuttgart, München) so it's not about competing with London.

Check out http://gulp.de/. They have a regular survey among their users with a good breakdown by location, experience and the type of work the freelancers do. You can also browse profiles there or project listings on http://etengo.de.

Great to hear!

Answering your question, I've not been looking anywhere - just what I read or could infer.

500 euros/day/head sounds beyond wasteful to me, at least when not in SF/London.

I can only imagine there's got to be an awful ASAP culture in those environments...

Not really. These are big companies, not hysteric startups where everyone works 12 hours a day, deluding themselves that they get more done that way (dunno how common that is with Berlin startups TBH).

Personally I am much less stressed out doing corporate contracting than I was with the shitty freelance work I did before, subcontracting with web agencies that haggle about every hour.

This is how my rate developed over the years:

* 50 DM/h working for a great agency as a student (that was in 2000) * 15 €/h working for an agency as a student (Yep, I was dense enough to take a paycut. Didn't even occur to me to ask for at least 25. So much facepalming...) * 30 €/h working for the same agency when I decided to do freelancing full-time * 30 €/h, then 40 €/h working for a small software company (First time I got to 40 hours a week of billable time. I was swimming in money! ;) * 45 €/h working for another agency (iOS development) * 50 €/h first contracting gig at $BIGCORP (160 hours a month - 8000€) * 65 €/h second contracting gig at $BIGCORP2 (which is where I still am, 160+ hours a month - > 10k) * 65 €/h working for a friend with a product idea (only a few hours, far from full-time) * a few fixed-price projects in between, most of them were a desaster, one was decent

Regarding "wasteful"; It's supply and demand. For some reason the capitalism game works much better in contracting than with permanent jobs in Germany. I think part of it is that employees are so hard to get rid of and the overhead is high (~40%?).

Since I can't edit it, let me try again to make a bullet list (srsly?):

  * 50 DM/h working for a great agency as a student (that was in 2000)
  * 15 €/h working for an agency as a student (Yep, I was dense enough to take a paycut. Didn't even occur to me to ask for at least 25. So much facepalming...) 
  * 30 €/h working for the same agency when I decided to do freelancing full-time
  * 30 €/h, then 40 €/h working for a small software company (First time I got to 40 hours a week of billable time. I was swimming in money! ;)
  * 45 €/h working for another agency (iOS development)
  * 50 €/h first contracting gig at $BIGCORP (160 hours a month - 8000€)
  * 65 €/h second contracting gig at $BIGCORP2 (which is where I still am, 160+ hours a month - > 10k)
  * 65 €/h working for a friend with a product idea (only a few hours, far from full-time)
  * a few fixed-price projects in between, most of them were a desaster, one was decent

How did you get gigs at BIGCORPs?

The first one through a contracting agency/recruiter (aka pimp), namely Hays. The second one through my personal network. For that I am still going through a consulting company as a subcontractor, just because that was the quickest way to do it.

There are tons more pimps like Computer Futures and in Germany Gulp and Etengo. Just sign up on their website, upload your CV and expect to get spammed with every contract they have to fill.

Searching for them in GMail, I just noticed that many project descriptions are in German, even if the job itself only requires English. They are very formulaic so it shouldn't be too much of a problem if you don't speak German.

Here's an example of one in English:

I am looking for a Frontend Developer for a very well-known exciting client of mine .

Location: Berlin

Start: 01.09.2016

Lengths: 3 Months ++

Technical skills (please also reply, even if some technologies are not part of your skillset):

  * Advanced JavaScript knowledge including modern JS libraries such as React and jQuery
  * Interacting with REST API backends via Ajax or WebSockets
  * Template engines, such as JSX or Closure Templates
  * Automated testing, unit tests with Jasmine & Karma, UI tests with Selenium Webdriver
  * HTML 5, including HTML 5 APIs such as Local Storage & History
  * CSS3, including pre-processors like LESS or SASS Experience with responsive web design
  * Experience with package managers like npm and Bower Build pipelines with Grunt, Gulp or webpack
  * Ideally ext.js experience
  * Team-based collaboration, including pair programing & code reviews
  * Agile software development with techniques such as Kanban
  * Working co-located within an integrated, cross-functional team
  * Close collaboration with user experience & product management experts
  * Distributed version control, Git or Mercurial
  * Lean & data-driven mindset, including analytics review & A/B testing
  * Familiar with tools & systems like Jira, Jenkins, Confluence, GitHub, Gitorious, Gerrit
  * Optional: Performance optimization tactics at build-time, run-time, & server-side
Sounds interesting? Please send your CV and your hourly rate to redacted@example.com. If you know anybody who wants to do this role, please forward the project description.

Interesting. I thought those corporate gigs are onsite only. But I guess in web dev you have more options. I'm particularly interested in C++ jobs.

For the most part they are onsite only, yes. I guess this thread is a bit off topic. Sorry for perpetuating it. We somehow got here when vemv mentioned London in reply to wjg saying he* is moving to Europe. Of course, when it comes to remote jobs, it shouldn't matter where he is moving to. If US companies pay the most and he wants to get a high rate, he should apply at US companies.

Having said that, some project descriptions mention a number of days per week that one can work remote or "remote negotiable". And then I've seen a few that were 100% remote, where the recruiters where really excited about it. For them it's still very rare I guess.

I have a bit of a middle ground with my current team. I'm onsite most of the time. But since I've been there multiple times and earned their trust, I can work remotely as long as I don't stray away too far wrt to time zones. I'll probably make use of that in the fall/winter. Thinking of Barcelona, Tarifa, Canary Islands, maybe Malta.

Regarding C++ jobs: The ones I see are usually Qt or embedded Linux stuff (often automotive). There is definitely a lot of C++ contracting work available and I can imagine the rates are at least on par, probably higher than web dev.

* I assume he is male from seeing his first name and profile picture on github

edit: Example C++ project mail with "remote possible"

für meinen Berliner Kunden suche ich einen erfahrenen C++ Entwickler, der Lust auf ein sehr spannendes und langfristiges Projekt hat:

Start: 01.02.15

Dauer: >1 Jahr (50% Auslastung)

Remote: Nach Absprache möglich

  * Intensive C++ Erfahrungen 
  * Verarbeitung von Sensoren 
  * Linux und Cmake
Bei Interesse senden Sie mir Ihren CV (in Word-Format) unter Angabe Ihrer Verfügbarkeit und aktuellem Stundensatz (All-In).

Thanks for the detailed replies, very interesting!

My pleasure! I love sharing what I learned about this stuff. Had I known about it earlier, I'd have started doing this kind of freelancing five years sooner.

Having a rate that's too cheap definitely doesn't help... After that, it's really networking. I found the first few freelance jobs through people I met at meetups and through the blog I had. From then on, it's mostly been recommendations from people who worked with me before.

Ha, cool. I am actually in the process of writing up a blogpost on building an SPA w/ React/Redux/Node/Postgres/GraphQL front-to-back in hopes of getting some traction. :)

The networking makes sense, I don't have a big one and not a lot of remote stuff within it. I'll have to begin to remedy that. Thanks for the advice.

You're off to a good start with Flytrap. It looks interesting. You should show it here with a Show HN post. Also add somewhere in the doc or readme file that you're available for consulting engagements.

The best clients are the ones who contact you directly so reminding people you're available in your projects is important.

Thanks man, really appreciate your thoughts. I've put it on a Show HN before, but as it's tough to get off the New page, got discouraged and kinda gave up on getting it traction. :)

I'll do another ShowHN and the like, and make it clear I'm available for work on the readmes, etc.

I think it's probably building up a network and just having loads of experience? From what I've seen, most folks in the community kind of get lucky with their first job, build a network, and then just find jobs through their network after their first few years.

Yep, I got all my (good) jobs through peers I interacted with in an open-source community.

"Cold calling" a company by sending in my resume never worked for me.

Position: Senior Backend Developer (7 years of professional experience)

Pay: $140 USD/hour (before taxes)

Working for a US company. I'm based in Romania.

Do you have any advice on how to get that sort of position? I'm a Romanian guy who just graduated (Automatica si Calculatoare), I've done several internships at big companies (Microsoft, Google) and I'm sure I can get full time offers at top tech companies in the US or London. Still, I tried to apply for remote positions and nobody even looks at me. Any tips?

I got here because I spent several years doing non-paid work on a very popular open-source project (writing code, but also spending a lot of time answering questions on the mailing list, on the support forums and on StackOverflow). Eventually I got a reputation as a good dev and I started getting job offers, some of which were remote. *

I guess my point is that you have to give them a reason to look at you, even if it's just "Hey, I remember that guy/girl from that blog/mailing list/conference. They seem decent."


* Most of that activity was driven by enthusiasm. I'm not sure I'd have the determination to invest that much time into an activity just as a career move.

That's... amazing. Congratulations.

Out of curiosity, what legal entity are you using?


PFA. I looked into switching to SRL, but it seems like the taxes will be higher for SRLs, come 2017.

Base salary of: $300K, client in NYC. Through other income streams from other clients I should make roughly 500K (before taxes) this year.

Wow! Care to share what type of work you do and how you get your clients?

What do you do?

Current remote: non-tech company, with a few customer-facing web apps. Full-stack Clojure/ClojureScript developer, $125K per year, living in Texas. Company is in another state.

Last job, also remote: SaaS startup, $95K per year + options. I was a full-stack Rails/Ember dev. Also not a Texas-based company.

On-again-off-again Rails/Ember contracting, always remote: $90/hour. Unrelated to the SaaS startup above.

77Ks in Buenos Aires is way higher than 93Ks is Hong Kong, in terms of quality of life.

In fact if you work remote I would go to other places in Argentina to work in which over a k per month will give you amazing lifestyle,like Bariloche, or Mendoza, without the safety problems of Buenos Aires. I would hold a server in Buenos Aires and work there eating first class meat and riding horses all day.

Not only that, it is also higher than $144k in SF. And by quite a margin.

Buenos Aires is actually one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, of all Latin American capitals. I haven't been there in a few years, but the difference between official and black market exchange rate alone made a massive difference.

I don't know how the exchange rate is these days, but back then you could rent a luxury 3 bedroom condo in Buenos Aires poshest neighbourhood for $1k a month or less.

there is no more black:official exchange spread and buenos aires became quite expensive. there are cheaper capitals/major cities in south america though. lima, bogota, medellin, santa cruz, la paz. santa cruz is highly overlooked. a lot cheaper than baires and a lot safer. obviously, it's not as advanced and as fun. if you are in santa cruz, the internet is much better than elsewhere in bolivia. tigo's 4G connection is as fast as 50mb, while ADSL/cable/wifi is between 2mb and 10mb. unless you stream a lot, you don't need more than that. you can rent a pimped up condo in an awesome area for under 600 bucks. if you go local in terms of housing, you can get a studio for as little as 100 bucks. public transport is not great, but cabs are pretty cheap. no ride is more expensive than 5 bucks

As I said, it's been a few years. But Santa Cruz is a dump, and not comparable in any way to Buenos Aires.

Lima has both very good areas, where the cost of living is very high, and horrendous areas (most of the city, actually).

The only places I know in Latin America with a cost of living as high as Bogota are Sao Paulo and Rio. So I'm astonished to hear Buenos Aires is in that range now, since the last time I was around there the cost of living was easily half of what you see in Brazil and Colombia.

santa cruz is lagging behind buenos aires, but it's much cheaper and much safer. inflation in argentina skyrocketed

bogota i much cheaper than rio and sao paulo and rio and sao paulo are not as expensive as they used to be since brazil was hit hard by recession

No, I'm in Bogota right now, and I was living in Sao Paulo last year. If anything prices are higher in Bogota.

Have prices in Argentina, converted to dollars actually increased?

I was also in Santa Cruz earlier this year, it's not really comparable to any of the major cities in Latin America, of course it is cheaper, but you get what you pay for.

well, there is no more black exchange rate for dollar in argentina and inflation is kind of getting out of control, so yeah dollar prices increased a lit. of course, SCZ is not comparable with BOG and BA or RJ/SP

I'm a (young) consultant in a high demand and specialized subfield.

Based in one of the top-10 COL cities in the US.

$150k / yr plus 2% of profits.

I tend to only spend about 50% of my time in my home-city.

TBH I think I'm being underpaid by about $75k; if I were able to live somewhere cheap I would find my compensation about right, but I have a lot of ties to the place I'm currently living. There are other things I find frustrating (e.g., few resources, sometimes precarious whether we'll make payroll, not enough mentorship). I am currently negotiating with some of the really big employers in the field, to see if I can get up to around $250.

Please explain subfield.

Way too specific, it'd be very easy to identify me.

I just got my first team/jr dev position @ $22/hour so far my highest paying perm position, and likely if I do decent work i'll be at $26 by end of first year. I'm happy w/ that for now. Mostly worked on solo projects in Laravel past few years for between $15-25/hour depending on the company/owner/project and what they had budgeted.

I'm loving working from home, it has some challenges--staying focused is rough. I log time using Hubstaff and as long as I can stay off reddit/hackernews I'm golden for time management lol.

Depends how much experience & skills you have, but after a year I would look to find a job paying twice that (even if you are relatively junior).

Thanks - I don't have a lot of testunit/git/agile/scrum(team workflow) experience was wanting to get some of that from the opp, and might shop around in a year or so. But I like the team, and working from home's a perk.

1500 Euros month (- taxes), RoR Developer, 3 years experience, Italy


you have all my sympathy

welcome to Italy

Hey Italians, don't take this the wrong way, but maybe the problem is not Italy, because I've done consulting for Italian companies at much higher rates than that.

Granted, this was in 2009, but I was billing back then over 1500€ a week for web development (Python) to a couple of Italian companies. Tax-free too. Remotely. And I'm only semi-fluent in the language.

I also know quite a few Italians working remotely for American companies. Heck, I'm currently working with a guy from Bari and I know for a fact the American company we're both working with pays him six figures.

Where is the company you work for located?


~1300 is what you earn as junior RoR dev in Spain... :/

I'd give a serious go to exploring alternatives.

Contratto a tempo indeterminato?

I spent 2 years working remote and making $125/hour as a front-end developer not too long ago. My schedule fluctuated widely, but I almost always worked between 20 and 60 hours per week.

I was the only remote employee, the only contractor, and the only web developer. The rest of the team consisted of designers, marketers, and iOS engineers working full-time from the office.

I've since quit that job, but I saved up enough money to take time off and work on my own projects (e.g. www.IndieHackers.com).

$250k salary for a remote position is pretty amazing. I thought such salaries were pretty much exclusive to senior developers in SV.

I was a contractor, so that probably contributed to the higher rate, as contractors are responsible for their own insurance etc and get taxed at a slightly higher rate. Also, it helped that I was recruited by said company, rather than reaching out myself. Gave me more confidence negotiating my rate, especially since I wasn't really even looking for a job at the time.

I've been working remotely for almost 3 years now, and in my experience it speaks volumes about a company to pay you based on your skill set not based on your geographical locale.

I lived and worked in SF for few years before my wife and I decide to move back to our home town to be closer to family. When I first went remote, I worked for a company who believed in paying people based on their location and not based on their skill level. This made for a rather unpleasant feeling as an employee and ultimately lead to me no longer working for them.

Since then I have joined a company who cares about the individual, and believes in paying people for what they are worth. Overall, my morale is much higher because of it and my loyalty to the company is greater in return.

To answer the question, I make the same amount as any equally skilled engineer at my company who lives in SF (or anywhere else in the country for that matter).

From Auckland, NZ working for 50nzd per hour, not sure if its enough, but its my first remote work

Nice location! Do you have timezone issues working from there?

at the moment working for a company in Australia, so not to much of an issue there, but wont be that easy working for someone on the us or europe

Last job as a senior Python dev (central US), $160k/yr. Current job as a senior RoR dev (west coast), $150k/yr. Both also involve DevOps roles. I live in Florida. 15 years exp.

Working as developer intern for Dutch startup, from Brazil (I'm Dutch btw). I get 400eu per month. Nearing the end of the internship and they want to hire me, curious what I will be offered - hope I'll remember to report back :)

Should I ask for a typical Dutch salary or a typical local salary or somewhere inbetween?

What is the typical rate for internship if you were not a remote worker? I would guess it is higher than 400eu/month. What if you were a non remote worker in Brazil itself? It would be lower than 400eu/month, right? So, your company would want to pay you somewhere in between. I would suggest you start from a salary closer to a typical Dutch one and allow them to negotiate you down to what you expect.

Side question: Where do you pay taxes if you live in a different country than the company you work for is located? e.g: Working for a SF based company from Thailand.

Same question if you are a digital nomad (let's say switching countries monthly) ?

It depends on a lot of factors, your nationality (us citizens don't have much choice), if you have have family and if your husband/wife works and how many months you spend in the country you live in. It's actually very complex and the best is to see accountant/tax advisors from the country of the company you work for, from the same country as your nationality and from the country you are currently living in.

For digital nomads, it adds even more complexity since it's a bit of a grey area.

I pay no taxes.

There are no taxes on foreign generated income here (Colombia).

However I cannot bring over $10k a year through the financial system without being hit with a 3% financial transaction tax.

Fortunately it is easy to legally elude that tax, paying for everything with a foreign-issued card does the trick. And every once in a while a quick shopping weekend abroad with the girlfriend is a good way to bring a new laptop and $9999 x 2 in cash.

Most of the time, you pay taxes in the country where you render or actually perform the services. In your sample case, Thailand.

If you're a US citizen then you file taxes and pay them on income over ~100k, regardless of your physical location or company's HQ. The US is one of the only countries that requires expats to pay taxes.

That doesn't mean you don't have to file and pay taxes in the place where you are living.

No duh you say, but people have posted in HN threads like this one about how they just have their income payed into a US bank account, so they aren't earning any money in the other country.

Marketing guy in Flordia for tech company in northeast US: $100K.

Amazing post,now a question is how all of you get the clients ?

Based in Boise, ID. My freelance rate is $100/hr. My full time employer is a media company in NYC, and I'm at ~$115k/yr + benefits and such.

I make $15/hr as a software developer intern remotely for a startup. Not the best pay, but it's great to have this freedom as a lowly intern.

Content strategist in SE Asia.

Full time would be $45k before taxes, but I don't work anywhere near 40 hours a week. Just don't have to.

Currently in California. I've been a remote employee since selling my own company 2 years ago.

First job was $90K.

Current is $125K.

While not me, I know a developer making $100 USD/hour working remote from Spain for a US company.

I make ~€9/hour after tax working in Barcelon as a rails dev :s

I'm currently super underpaid trying to switch jobs though.. It sucks here

Also RoR/BCN, making 3x that

Feel free to reach me (linkedin: vemv91), we're in need of an extra dev!

I'm a Sr. full Stack Dev for a company in NY. I make 190k working from home (in FL).

location: madrid, spain - work: freelancing / contracting for two companies in the states (general web dev) and cyprus (fintech startup) as a full stack developer - hours per week: 15 - making per hour: ~90USD

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