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Ask HN: Remote ROR developers, how much per hour you make?
87 points by byEngineer on Nov 2, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 48 comments
How much per hour on w2 you make when working remotely as a rails developer?

I make $45/hr on W2 doing remote work. Rails dev is one of my tertiary responsibilities. I also do Java dev and sysadmin.

When I contract, I try to base my rates around $125/hr, but I'll give a dose of reality to the fantasy that HN always promotes: it's not easy to get people to pay that. I've been more successful getting clients in the $75-80/hr range and found that to be about the top of the tolerable range for most people, and even that is often a stretch.

It really comes down to what type of client you're pitching. Anything mid-medium-sized or less in terms of revenue is going to snicker at decent rates. I've had a couple of bigger clients that were surprised they weren't paying me more than $125/hr, but I stopped freelancing full-time shortly after getting them (one of them successfully courted me over to W2; I probably shouldn't have taken it). I always found it hard to break into the bigger clients that were willing to pay good rates; they usually already have vendors and everyone wants their associate to get a piece of the pie.

Note: the OP asked about W2 earnings which implies, among other things, that the employer is paying part of your taxes.

I don't do a lot of RoR work but it does come up occasionally. My day job is salary but it works out to about $60 per hour (w2). However, when I do occasional freelance work, I charge $125 per hour - but its 1099 income where I pay all of the taxes, not w2. (Both are remote.)

$100/h is my highest rate, but frankly plan to increase it to at least $150, which I still don't have an idea of how to do :)

jus wondering: anyone followed http://doubleyourfreelancing.com/ rules and succeeded?

<1099, not w2>Yes. It's just a number. Double it. Do the same with your hourly estimates. I quit my job making ~27 to doing contracting at 40. Then 60, 75, 80 now 85-100 across projects. (3 years rails, 6 years other stuff, USA)

The real kicker is the former company billed me out at $150+ when I had even less experience!

Do you have a few minutes to chat about your experience? I'm looking to make a similar move and I'd love to hear about what worked and didn't work for you. My contact info is in my profile (I didn't see any in yours). Thanks.

I emailed you.

> The real kicker is the former company billed me out at $150+ when I had even less experience!

One thing to keep in mind is one of the reasons for doing that is the environment you are in and a certain guarantee about the work provided.

Yes - I am aware of that. Having an experienced team available to help newer coders out dramatically increases their productivity through synergy, pair programming and learning. However -- there's still a huge price discrepancy1

Can you give ideas where to start searching for international contracting work if you are outside of US?

Most of my work has come from referrals, but the original leads came from introducing myself. I suggest finding an international conference -- regardless of industry -- meet those people, trade business cards & regularly stay in contact offering your services.

I haven't used this resource; but there are online communities like http://forum.thefreelancersguild.com/ by the creator of DYFR.

These numbers would be more helpful by stating your level/years of experience and nationality/location.

This kind of raw comparison somewhat useless, since domain knowledge adds up + numerous other contract-specific things. For example, it is not unreasonable to ask $200 a hour in my country for a short gig, however if the contract is longer, usually the billable amount goes lower as well.

$35 / hr plus equity full remote python web development, With 5 years experience

How much equity did you get & can you talk about that arrangement more?

Amazing! This thread makes me consider doing freelance work myself...

Regarding freelance: Where do you advertise your work and do you follow a specific standard when working with clients, or is it mainly your own DIY standard?

I used to freelance full time, and my main sources of clients were word-of-mouth, elance, and Google (in that order.)

My standard was DIY - I had a short 1-page contract, and I'd ask for 40% up-front for new clients.

Not to hijack this thread, but I'd like to hear more about remote rates of other platform developers as well (php,nodejs,python,.net, etc). A nice comparison matrix would be awesome. Anyone know of a site that specifically compares these rates across the globe?

I could see a matrix like this being a great addon to remote job sites. Those of you who have created a work-remote job site and are competing to weworkremotely, etc... I would think that this would bring you a lot more traffic.

my answer is already there($100 max, sorry didn't see your question), but I do RoR, single page JS and JS/Cordova mobile.

I work full time remote in a salaried position. Lead engineer for a publicly traded company, made around 200k USD last year (salary + bonus + stock).

/throwaway account

Sorry to sabotage this thread, but I want to be a freelancer.

I have a lot of experience with ruby/rails(have maintained good gems and all that jazz) but I work for a major media company, currently in high scale apps, here in my country and I make about ~$30h/hour.

Does anybody that is in around ~$50/100 hourly rate want to get me aboard freelancing? I would gadly share some of my rate.


This isn't quite what you were looking for, but I'd say just go for it. If you still want a safety net, then don't quit your day job right away, just freelance on the side until you're more comfortable with it.

I do occasional side jobs, mostly through elance. They take about 8-10% of your income in fees, but they do a couple of things to make up for it:

* They have a good pool of work ready for you to bid on.

* They automatically charge your client's credit card each week if you've recorded hours. (And you can set up https://github.com/nfriedly/elance-withdrawal to automatically transfer it from elance to your bank.)

* You can differentiate yourself even without much experience by taking their skill tests.

Start your rates around $75 an hour and raise it up to $100 after you have 2-3 good jobs under your belt.

Don't get distracted by the folks charging ridiculously low rates - they are not competing with you, they're competing with each other for the clients who either don't need quality work or don't understand that you get what you pay for.

Oh, and put about 50% of your income into savings. Depending on your country, you might end up owing a good portion of that in taxes, and regardless, whatever's left makes for a nice emergency/rainy day/ vacation/retirement fund.

Feel free to email me if you want to go down that route and have more questions. (Or just post them here ;)

$50 - $100/hr depending on the project. Planning to increase the rate soon. 1099. My non-remote W2 salary is less than that.

5 years experience. 1 job at $120k (w2) and long-term consulting contract with 40 billable weekly hours at $95. Fully remote. For short duration (<1 month,) I bill at $115. Almost purely Rails.

FYI, I am American who works for US clients but I live in Western Europe.

How's working 2 full time jobs?

It's rough. about 15 hour days plus a few hours on many weekends. But the idea is to accumulate enough to buy some multi-family real estate. So it's one of those things were you work your ass off to get a benefit. The whole idea of do what other people won't do so you can live like other people don't live.

It's extremely tough, but it's a means to an end. Luckily, since I'm remote, I get to see my kids any moment of the day and a difficult code issue is generally mitigated by taking a five minute break to play with my kids.

For the non-US, could somebody please explain what W2 and 1099 are?

W2 means an employee, from a wage standpoint it means your employer must pay for half your social security and medicaid.

1099 means a contractor, which means you are responsible for those.

There are many other differences, but usually when talking about wage the 7.5% is the big one.

w2 = waged.. the employer withholds tax and also pays half of some taxes that you need to pay 1099 = independent contractor.. you get the full amount but you pay taxes end of the year

1099 = 15% more in taxes you have to pay on the revenue you earn from that income source


Full-time remote, salaried at $85k. (Roughly $40 USD per hour). Company pays market rate wherever employees are. I am located in NYC (so I'm probably a bit under market rate).

$110 on 1099, SF startup post Series B

About 7 years ago on a project I earned 100 an hour... No idea though these days...

$100/h - $125/h 1099

To everyone who posted in this thread. How did you get your remote job?

Good recruiters

Yep, same. I freelanced remotely for a number of years, but my last two jobs have been as an employee because a recruiter (or, in the first case, the CTO) got a hold of me and made me an offer I couldn't refuse - which included remote work.

Any recruiter that wants me to work on site gets an automatic no. (I might consider an exception if they had an office within bicycling distance of my house, but that's fairly unlikely.)

Don't have a W2 rate but my 1099 Freelance rate is $150-$200



Why are you accepting such paltry wages? There must be something exceptional about your situation.

I wanted to say he could be from any country, but actually this shouldn't be a reason to pay less.

It could be, depending on where the clients are. Maybe that's good money where he is, and the clients are local?

$8.50/hr may be a lot for where OP lives based on their experience. I would think that OP is not living in the US. Hopefully OP can provide some insight here.

$8.50/hr is a nice amount of money in Hungary for example. If you don't have a finance/compsci degree is way above the average. In compsci, its an average payment for a developer with 2-3 years of experience (no need to pay further tax anyways from this).

Architects, lead devs, PMs earns around 15/hour at best paying companies. If you're a contractor, it could top up around 20 after taxation.

A young person with an average degree (economics for eg.) in an average position is not earning more than 5/hour here...


I make 65/hr on a remote project. Had an offer of 95usd/hr on w2 for an onsite project.

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