Compared to other countries salaries, mine is awful. Compared to local salaries, it’s actually about 4x the minimum wage. The cost of living here is quite low (I pay 150$ per month for a single bedroom with bathroom).
Where this kind of salary hurts is when:
- buying online
- saving for the future (maybe I will want to move overseas, and I also need savings for emergencies)
- paying for study (courses, uni overseas)
- buying work computers or phones
- buying software or services (e.g. Photoshop, Sketch)
Also, I'm a developer but my father is a Silicon Valley business lawyer. He wrote a chapter of "The Software Engineer's Guide to Freelance Consulting" that is available for free. https://codefor.cash/legalideas
If you're a brilliant engineer and are looking to work for a freelance app developer, I recommend Toptal.
While I now work at Toptal, I first joined the company through their freelance network, got a project with one of their clients, and eventually was onboarded onto the company itself. My experience with them started as someone that "wanted to work for international clients out of Pakistan" and it was brilliant. I whole-heartedly recommend joining Toptal for freelancers looking to get something going on the side. You can choose your own rate, so you can go as low as $10, or go as crazy as, jeez, I dunno, $500.. although the higher you are, the more difficult it is to land a client.
: Toptal Referral link: https://www.toptal.com/#contract-just-respected-software-arc...
The Top 3%
"Everyone at Toptal has a proven track record and elite industry experience. There are Toptalers from Wharton, MIT, CERN, and Google, as well as Django committers, Top 100 Rails contributors, leading global designers and art directors, professors, founders and more."
Holy crap man I'm not even going to bother, I'm none of that.
Impostor syndrome intesifies
I'm 25, I have a degree in Economics and Finance, and no formal computer education. All I have is my self-taught experience.
The first time I tried, for all my confidence, I flunked it really bad, which came as a shock to me. I mean, I knew I was good. The recruiter gave me a timeout and said I could reapply later. The next time I'd studied my butt off, solved advanced level coding exercises and reached 4 Kyu on codewars.com
At that point, I breezed through the exercises, and when I was asked to build a live project, I had fun learning and creating my first React web app.. I'd been meaning to learn React, but never had time before.
Of the dozens (dozens!) of people I've referred to Toptal none have passed the screening process. However, I strongly believe it's because they didn't push through it. I know the screening process itself can be beat if you take the time to improve yourself.
Besides, on the other side of the screening process is the greatest community of Ninja developers I've ever seen in my life! Anything I have trouble with, I can discuss on our community chat. I've never been part of a community like this before. And the clients are absolutely brilliant, since Toptal screens clients too!
Can you tell me roughly how many hours in total the screening process takes? (excluding the time you took to study) And how many hours did you spend on the live project? Was it an actual project, or just a dummy one?
I'm asking because I'm working full time, and the whole screening process sounds very time intensive. Not sure if all of this could be done after work hours, or if I'd have to take a couple of days of vacation.
The screening process shouldn't be that tough. It's broken into multiple stages. The first three are short sessions. The longest of which was around (I think, don't hold me to it) an hour.
The project is a confidential project you make according to specifications, but they give you enough time to pull it off, even with a full-time job.
Honestly, all the devs I've spoken to at Toptal love working here, and I'm no exception. But you should really try it out.. at worst, you'll fail and you'd be exactly where you are right now.
I'm concerned about sites like Toptal and this price-cutting mindset they engender, because in a lot of cases, even 500 dollars is an awful rate.
For example, 500 dollars, for two weeks of full-time work, is $6.25 / Hr. If you are an American developer, this is an unconsiderably low rate, literally less than minimum wage, in a field where salaries of about $30 / Hr are unheard-of low, even for entry entry engineers.
If it is hard to land a client at these fair rates on services like TopTal, in a lot of cases this would be a good reason to avoid that service and to seek either more traditional work or independent freelance opportunities.
I also feel it's important for freelancers, at least if they're based in America, to defend the value of their work that demands months or years of technical training. Yes, I'd agree the entire situation changes if you're a developer from a different country in which being paid something like 10 dollars an hour could support a family. However, I still encourage you to recognize that because most of the clients are based in America, they are more than capable of paying you rates far higher than $500 for good work, but people must first reduce their willingness to work at $10 to make $500 a norm. Be the change you wish to see, if you are capable.
In the end, choosing to work for higher-paying clients and avoiding clients who don't care about paying a fair market rate is about life satisfaction. If you are being paid 10 dollars for technical development work which will take longer than an hour, they don't care about you or paying you fairly. This means you can expect to be treated like the slave their hourly rate implies you are. If you work for clients which pay you market rates, besides the fact that they're paying you more, they will treat you better simply because they respect your time.
Toptal let's you decide your hourly rate. $500/hour is awful in the sense that it's too darn high! :)
You're welcome to set whatever rate you think your time is worth, ofcourse!
Had I been a Java/Spring dev, I would've used that. It's what YOU do that matters.
We used our anonymized data to break out what freelancers earn with different experience levels, skill sets, locations, etc: https://www.hellobonsai.com/rates
For an iOS developer in England with 3-5 years experience, the mode is £120-£140 per hour?
Please show me one single contract advertised in England where the daily rate is £1k.
I mean, yes they got higher overhead than a single dev, but that's their own problem and not the problem of the client, so what's the difference fro a single dev here?
> Are they charging more because of overhead?
Partially. There's overhead you wouldn't get with a single developer like office space and administrative overhead. A big overlooked piece of overhead is sales overhead. It's much easier to find 40 hours of consulting work a week than 120 hours of work. If its a premium development shop, the developer salaries are probably higher as well. This all may cut into the margins, but it doesn't really explain why they charge so much.
> Why do they charge so much?
Because they have clients who are willing to pay that much. Plain and simple.
> What does the client get that they wouldn't with a single developer?
Some companies are bad at finding and retaining talent. This includes contractors. They also might not know how to manage a project. For a lot of companies, they need something done, but this simply isn't their area of expertise. Some single developers can manage their own projects, but sometimes they need more than just a single developer. The workload may be much higher than what a single person could manage, and hiring 3 individual developers can be much less efficient than hiring a team of 3 developers who already work well together. Perhaps they need a designer as well, or they're looking for a project manager who is really good at communicating business needs with them.
The number you threw out doesn't seem unreasonable though.
I'm just trying to understand what is needed to get ahead of the game :)
I charge per month, but it would be about 40€ an hour.
A friend of mine took 80€ a hour but they only took like 20-30h a month.
I charged per month, got paid below 80€/h but ended up with much more than him.
But well, here are some people on HN who charge per hour AND get more absolute... so it's probably also a bit of luck?
I am making quadruple the amount my peers are making in Eastern Europe while working less hours and remotely.
Most clients I get is through networks such as Toptal, which I would wholeheartedly recommend. I'm also a member of Gigster, which I can't quite recommend at the moment, and there is CodeControl and Povio labs which I would also recommend.
I think the best approach is to sign up for a number of these networks. It will definitely kickstart your freelance career and will help you have a constant stream of potential projects and offers.
However, do avoid websites such as Upwork or other networks which don't have a technical interview process as these are very likely flooded with extremely low-wage and/or low-quality workers. It is much harder to land a good client on these websites.
Here's my Toptal referral link: https://www.toptal.com/#work-with-the-best-programmers-today
But again, don't just apply there :)
This year I've transitioned into a mix of coding and training. From training I've earned between $5,000/week and $13,000/week.
It averages out to about $250k/year on 30/h/week
1. Without giving away secrets, how do you find such clients?
2. You must have some great stories. Would you care to share any?
2. My customers have the expectation of confidentiality. I will make these generalizable statements though: understanding ORMs and understanding SQL are related but not identical; CAP is hard; picking keys is hard; confounding your data model and your interface is painful for users; sharding is hard; pick UX libraries based on how consistent they are not on how new they are; developers that are producing 10x the code may not be producing 10x the value; if week on week, your project is consistently n/n+1 * 100% done, you have a estimation problem and just the fact that you're agile doesn't help with this; the whole point of tags was that not everyone agrees on categories; queuing theory is real; your spreadsheets aren't as consistent as you think; the fact that an engineer can figure out the bigO of a sort doesn't mean they understand efficiency in real life.
You'll be fine if you can produce, but if you can only produce on the week level and not the day level, you'll have troubles with companies that want to talk about the progress you're making day to day.
Right now I am working as a frontend lead for react apps and make 75-80€ / hour. I am living in Frankfurt, Germany.
Are you charging per hour?
I read charging per hour is bad. I charge per month, but I don't make 80€ per hour (also React stuff), haha.
The U.S., New Zealand and Australia had the highest average hourly rates at $70/hr, and Northern Africa had the lowest at $41/hr
Here's the full article: https://www.codementor.io/blog/how-much-do-freelance-develop...
As a full time "app" developer I make $200K/y in the US. I tried freelancing on the side but it's pretty worthless. We're talking pennies by hour spent coding.
I'm a full-time mobile developer as well. Haven't taken a crack at contracting yet myself, but I think that the key to success is a tried and true one: connections, connections, connections. If you're going on these freelance-farm type job sites, you're in a race to the bottom for poor quality gigs.
Also, I've heard that it's pretty hard to 'get started on the side' because many decent contracts want more of your time than you can reasonably offer when you have a full-time gig. Kind of a chicken-or-the-egg problem with that, but I figure that's the risk of it.
I have made well over $100/hr even with clients who I literally never met in person and sometimes even serviced from beaches in Asia.
Almost every project involves web servers, web clients and mobile clients.
Mostly self taught but also studied cognitive engineering which has helped a lot in understanding how to create systems and work with AI.
Instead of considering projects as clients, I look for collaboration efforts where there is a path to equity. Regardless it almost always begins as some sort of contract for an initial trial collaboration.
This was while I was working as a utility programmer and going to grad school.
While it never panned out for a number of reasons, it did get me introduced to the world of prototyping and I never looked back.
There have certainly been times of instability and there is no one there to lend a hand most times which can be intimidating.
One thing I try to do to get past the anxiety is make a new personal project when things get rough. So far it's worked out that those projects often lead to new opportunities and skills.
Being able to write the device, server and web client myself allows me to build concepts rapidly.
This is the best contract dev position I've ever had, possibly the best I ever will have.
I have 11 years working experience as a full stack web developer and I think I'm pretty good at it by now. I'm currently employed and underpaid, and I live in Germany. I have no idea how I'd go about freelancing. What would be your advice to get me started?
I saw toptal mentioned in another comment, and their "Why 3%" page is quite unnerving. I don't work at Wharton, MIT, CERN, or Google, and I'm not a Top 100 Django or Rails contributor. Or is this just the 3% of the 3%, and the remaining 97% are more mortal?
Additionally, I develop apps (APIs, AngularJS apps, etc.)
10 to 20 hours a week (evenings + weekends) with rates starting at 35€/hour.
From the most expensive to the more cheapest (in general):
- US & UK
- West Europe
- Est Europe & Latin America
- Middle Est & Asia
In Latin America the rates normally go from 20 to 40 USD per hour depending of experience.
Seems like you've got to up your game. Don't get mad though, take this as a lesson and learn from it. If anything this should be good news because now you know you can earn way more than you are currently for the same exact work.
Feel free to email me if you want tips on upping your rates: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caveat is that I've only had 1 client so far.
Of course it also helped to have the relevant experience/portfolio. I also prototyped a few wireframes (1 user flow) for free which gave me a leg up because he knew what I had in mind regarding the project.