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Alternate view that's worked well for me: not only do I not charge by the day, I don't even charge by the hour. I charge by the minute and tell them exactly what I did in the time I worked. Even when something takes me a paltry couple of minutes because I may have recently spent an hour on it for another client and I could easily charge more money for it. This level of transparency earns me an incredible amount of trust with my clients, who, so far, have each become "client for life." And the overhead isn't bad--a simple spreadsheet--complete a task, describe it in several words, enter the number of minutes spent, and everything gets summed up to the total amount due at the bottom.

EDIT: for clarity, I build RESTful API back-ends on AWS and support them with DevOps; I can see how my method may not work for other industries.

I once worked at a company in London who called an emergency plumber out who charged £5 per minute. It cost ten quid just to get him in through the front door and up the lift.

How do you know you're not leaving money on the table? It sounds as though people get a lot of value from your work, and they trust you, and want to continue working with you... So probably they'd be willing to pay more?

You're right, I don't know. I figure, if they are happy, I will get repeat business and referrals. If I'm charging too little, then they should be extremely happy and are even better champions of my work/name. That seems worth more than higher pay, long-term.

I believe you. Do you know if they actually read the detailed descriptions of work which you provide?

I've never actually asked or gotten questions about my invoices. So, either everything is crystal clear, or you're right, they don't look at them. I suspect every client probably looks at the first couple to get to know me and establish trust, and then just skims them thereafter. But it's nice for both of us--we can each review and see exactly what I did and how long it took.

Thank you. Yeah, I try to do the same with my invoices. My experience is about the same as yours. My current clients don't complain and they pay on time. It works well enough, but it takes longer for me to create each invoice.

OTOH, a while back I had a client that told me to stop detailing everything on my invoices. They just wanted a total number of hours. I think maybe it had to do with the review process upstream. Fewer details gave the higher ups less to scrutinize and complain about, I guess. And none of the other contractors were providing such detail.

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