|I've been doing freelance web development for the past 7 years. I have consistent work and "OK" pay. I've experimented with my rates over time, and am at a point where I have trouble finding work if I raise them...but become part of the "commodity freelancer market" if I charge less.|
Last year, I had a client (who had their own client...which we'll call the "true client") for a big project. At the beginning of the project, upon receiving my quote, my client told me that it was "way above" what the true client was willing to pay. I asked for more clear budget numbers, and was told very clearly that it was 60% of my original quote. After days of negotiations, I ended up reducing my quote considerably. Keep in mind, this did NOT involve me reducing my rate; I know better.
Part-way through the project, I found out that not only was my original quote under the true client's budget, but my client had also quoted them a price which was 3 times my original quote amount. Not only that...but they had used my quote to create their own, and then proceeded to cut me down farther.
I felt undervalued and belittled by the news. I wasn't upset about another company profiting off of me (of course that's going to happen by default, if I'm working through an intermediary). Rather, I was really bothered by the nickel-and-diming and flat-out lies I was told about the project's constraints and budget.
Since that time, I've paid closer attention to the companies I work with. They're consistently profiting off of me at ridiculous rates; however, if I raise my rates to compensate, I don't get work. I've tried to form my own "digital agency" with another partner...but we had a harder time finding work as a new agency than as freelancers.
TL;DR: I'm tired of being nickel-and-dimed, and want to move beyond the "freelancer" title. How did you become the digital agency that you are today? How did you drop the "freelancer" title and make something more of your daily life?