When considering freelance opportunities I've always considered that for shorter contract terms, a higher rate should be charged, and for longer terms up to an indefinite full time commitment (ie, a full time role) a lower rate can be assumed. So, a company that expects about 30-60 day commitment/expectation with only a possibility of further projects following would assume a higher contracting rate.

What I'm struggling with is when companies ask about your last long term rate, then assume they'll just have the same rate for a short commitment. How do people normally handle the quoting process around this? What if they ask your rate before committing to whether it is a 30 day or 6 month project expectation? Or, do you just use one averaged rate and take whatever length project they offer?

I've considered asking for a 3-month minimum, but I feel like it alienates clients upfront which I hate to do.

EDIT: This can also apply to a contract-to-hire compared to full time role. I'd assume a 1099 contract-to-hire with no benefits would be a higher rate, but companies want to assume it is the same rate as a full time job, just no commitment.

  • I'll add a comment as I feel I can't really stretch it out into a decent answer with the little experience I have on the subject. But maybe try "Here are my last three rates with timescale for reference, though unfortunately i'm unable to provide a definite rate until the scope and details of your project has been fully assessed." that way they get the reference of rates they want and you get the ability to set the rate depending on the variables related to the project.
    – lewis
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


Try this:

My rate for shorter term projects is <fill in the blank>. For projects that are more than <fill in the blank> in duration, I may be willing to negotiate a better rate for you.

This way, you don't cut yourself short. Start with the higher number. Also, be wary of customers who are shopping on solely price instead of quality because you may likely discover that once you get on board with such a customer, they'll want to nickel and dime you (and pay late, if at all) every step of the way. For me, the more a customer focuses on "price, price, price, price, price", the less I want to deal.

  • 1
    This is good advice. Another way to present your pricing to clients is to quote a standard rate (your highest rate) but explain that it can be discounted under certain circumstances once you find out more about the project (e.g. for longer term contracts). This puts you in a stronger negotiating position and clients are always pleased when they know they are getting a discount. Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 11:15
  • 1
    I suggest editing the "code" so it wraps, like normal prose.
    – Martin F
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 3:04

I work like this.

Projects up to <enter work hours> have such and such rate. Projects over <amount of work hours> get minimum hourly rate. This works well in case you immediately know the scope of the project.

What if you are not sure whether you will spend 15 or 155 work hours? In such cases, I tell my clients that the hourly rate will be XY dollars until we reach a specific amount of work hours (100, 200,...). After that, I charge them the minimum rate.

If you work fixed-price projects only, then always try to earn your monthly salary. If the project will last 1 month, then the minimum price is <your monthly salary>. Start with the higher amount, but don't go below your salary. If you have an office, then instead of "salary", the term "office costs" should be used.

If anyone has a better methodology, I'd like to hear it as well.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.