I have a small task that needs to be done and I projected to let the client pay 400 €. However, he now asked that the deadline should be set to next Saturday (in three days), and proposed to give 300 € if I do the task and 400 € if I do it for Saturday.

I don't think I would drop my rate to 300 € because it sounds a lot devaluating, so I would like to let him pay 400 € if I do this task at all and 700 € if I do it for Saturday. Does that sound okay to you (Friday is a holiday here in Europe, so I officially only have one day to do the task, and especially he only has one day to find another freelancer, which I doubt he could do because he already builds the whole site with my contract).

By how much can you increase your rate if the work is urgent?

  • 9
    An old adage goes: Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine
    – Canadian Luke
    Apr 16, 2014 at 22:47

4 Answers 4


It's not uncommon for freelance developers to charge double-time for last minute, urgent items. In fact, I recommend it.

As freelancers, we often get 'last minute urgent work' through no fault of our own.

In effect, charging a premium for 'urgent' work is a good way to train clients to respect your worth and your time - but also provide an option that will remunerate you properly for effectively putting your life on hold to focus on their urgent project.


I myself am from Europe. I think Easter is at the same time for many people. Anyway.

Your client is negotiating with you. And you should do the same with him.
€700 is a good start and in this case you should expect €600. It will be OK to deliver until Saturday (April 19, 2014) only if you get at least €600. And, for the future, you should keep an eye on this client because he already showed a lack of respect by trying to negotiate so low with you.

Another detail. And this should be your decision.
In my opinion he offered €400 expecting you to ask for €500. If this is OK for you, you can start from €600 and split the difference by accepting €500 (but no less than €500).
Leave away your ego. Think strictly from an opportunity cost stand-point. If you have no other opportunities than be flexible (but, not too flexible because if you make a rush concession now, you will suffer on the long-run in revenue and image).

  • 3
    I think 50% extra for a "right this minute" order is too little. If it requires working week-ends and holidays, doubling the rate is not uncommon, and generally a good idea.
    – Jon Watte
    Apr 17, 2014 at 4:22
  • 1
    @JonWatte you are right. But, in this case, it's hard to believe the client will pay more than double. On the other case, is best if we remain fair to our clients by not exploiting their needs. Apr 17, 2014 at 8:54
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    If the client is an existing, good, client, that has had work in the past and will have work in the future, then 50% for week-end turn-around may be OK in the interest of nurturing the relationship.
    – Jon Watte
    Apr 18, 2014 at 16:22

Check out your country's labor laws. In my country (Malaysia), working overtime is 1.5x wages, working 7 days a week is 2x wages, and working on a public holiday is 3x wages.

This is the absolute minimum legal price increase for a developing country. If you live in a developed country with better labor protection, charge more. In Europe, double price for working your weekends off is probably cheap.

  • 2
    Note that "labor" and "contracting" are very different things in the US and in Europe. I don't know about Malaysia. However, a "contractor" is an independent business, and gets to charge whatever the market can bear -- and at the same time, has no guarantee of work from any particular customer on any particular day.
    – Jon Watte
    Apr 18, 2014 at 16:23
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    Muz, do labor laws cover freelancers, consultants, and contractors or just regular employees? If so, you may want to try to find the legal text and link it here; otherwise, if this answer is incorrect it may attract down votes. I tried looking but couldn't find any information to back this up. Hope this helps!
    – jmort253
    Apr 19, 2014 at 16:31
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    It may not cover freelancers and you can't use it to 'pressure' someone, but it's a strong indicator of market rate and "fairness" wherever you live. Nobody else is going to do that work for your client, so why charge any less?
    – Muz
    Apr 20, 2014 at 21:28
  • 3
    Makes sense, @Muz, so to summarize you're suggesting using the law for employees in terms of your estimations. Thanks for clarifying.
    – jmort253
    Apr 21, 2014 at 0:59
  • Even in the US "labor," "contracting," and "exempt" roles all have various laws surrounding them. Freelancing usually means you're your own employer and, generally, fully exempt from having to pay yourself overtime even if you do work for others on an hourly basis. If work is by job and not related to time, it's even less likely to trigger labor laws based on when the work is performed. In my experience, those that hire contract work generally treat them like their own employees, expecting exempt-style work if that's the norm in their industry.
    – lilbyrdie
    Apr 28, 2014 at 12:42

Possibly it depends upon the task, the rate should be increased up to 30% of the actual price. If any of the customer want their work in an urgent way, then definitely rate should be increased.

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