Developing on Upwork: From $20/hr to $80/hr

Darryl D. on February 23, 2018

The global market doesn't care about your local rate, but I do. Many think the rate should be reflected based on their location or experience ou... [Read Full]
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Somehow I found the whole recruiting industry rather suspicious.

The first thing I learned about freelancing was, don't charge per hour and all these sites ask that I tell them my hourly rate.

This makes you look like a commodity (what signing up for such a service may do anyway) and it prevents you from doing more work in less time. Like charing X a day, which the client will divide by 8h, while you will only work 4-5h.

This may sound strange on first sight, but the sooner you are done, the sooner a client can use what you created. Faster work has more value for them then slower, but charging per hour gives the impression, faster work is cheaper, even if it gives them more value than slower work.


So I understand correctly, are you saying fixed rates are a better solution?


No, they're just a good solution, when you know that you are really fast. And in software development there are too much uncertainties.

One extreme is charging per hour, the other is fixed rates, but you can also charge per day, per week or per month, depending on what you are offering.

Tiny intervals are okay for people like lawyers, who charge >200€ an hour, beacuse even if you just get 10h a week, you just make good money.

Ah, Ok I follow and somewhat agree. We do live in a world where we have one extreme (hourly) and another (fixed). Similar to the corporate world where it's hourly and salary.

With that said, I think hourly is the norm and it would be an uphill battle to introduce other forms of intervals.

I tried weekly early in my career and felt I was completely overworked. I could have modified my weekly rate for the work, but it was easier to attach hours to features. The same goes for fixed, the client becomes trigger happy with features and expected them to be done ASAP. Needs to be a lot of "rules" in place to prevent them from doing so, hourly does this naturally IMO.


You can also make a name in the Open Source Community, so you'll be hired by clients directly. That's what I'm trying to do, actually. It's harder, but better and more secure: Upwork does prioritize clients in any situations, so they can ban you for no reason. Just google "upwork banned my profile for no reason" and you'll find some blogs/reddit posts about that.


Using open source as a springboard is also a great way. As you mentioned, much harder... but still worth it in the long run.

I can't speak to the banning for no reason on Upwork, but I think that's risk for any platform. I know many people who were banned from Facebook and Twitter for no reason. Much harder to rebuild a following than land a few initial projects IMO.

With that said, you can always use Upwork as a springboard. Some of my best clients started on Upwork and moved to direct work due to the relationship we built.


Great tips! I don’t use Upwork, but my experience was similar - my first freelancing job I made $75 (for probably 5 hours of work). I did several jobs like this to get experience and expand my network. Now I’m able to charge a competitive hourly rate.


Upwork? Bah. All tests completed with high score and they didn't confirm my profile. I think they confirm the profiles if they like the person or not. They're not professional, just shits.


I'm pretty positive that's not true and it was just an error :). Have you tried contacting support? No service is perfect.


It isn't just me, my friends is in same situation so we don't check upwork anymore.

I get it, do whatever works for you! Where do you guys check nowadays?


My rating is slow now (about $8 - $10) because my account is newbie in there but I still don't received any job. Maybe my accout is not trust, the employer don't care about my acc.
What should I do ?
Best regard,
Huy Kon


That rate is a bit low... don't be afraid to raise it a bit!

Take a look at my previous post about first steps

After that, let me know if you have any additional questions on where to start, I'll be glad to help!


Haven't found any offers at all-in Upwork, it just gets me off.


That's no fun! What's your current process to getting offers? How do your write proposals? Do you have a portfolio up that you can point people to?


I try to look for jobs that look simple/intermediate, yikes maybe it's that I don't have a formal portafolio. I wanted to create a little website in Github pages with some projects I have done and maybe point people to it.

It only helps, keep in mind people who you are competing with are showing their past work. A portfolio helps you stand out from the crowd. Take a look at the post on pre-freelancing, it should help a bit!


Simple, but good, ideas. (the best ideas are simple!)

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