I see developers regularly charge $100-200/hr but as I've been researching personal branding, contractor strategy, and best practices, I've come across several alarming figures. In one YouTube video I watched it was stated that some highly specialized software developers are commanding as much as $800/hr with week-long minimums. Obviously, only large corporations could finance this without blinking an eye but the wheels of motion are slow so I just don't see this happening often at all, if ever. Does it? Obviously if it does, it's not something you do 52 weeks out of the year, but even at 10 weeks a year, you're making a nice chunk of change.

To be clear, I am not asking what the most common payment ceilings are. I am asking how much you have personally witnessed a consultant, freelancer, or independent contractor charge for (successfully) his work.

  • Hello, and welcome to the Freelancing Stack Exchange site! Unfortunately, this looks like a polling question (can there be a "right" answer, and if so, how useful would that answer be)? Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 22:28
  • As much as others will pay you.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 1:54
  • possible duplicate of How do I calculate pay rate if I've never freelanced before?
    – daaxix
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 4:15
  • I've personally seen $350/hour for short contracts, but I've only heard of $800/hour from my brother, for geological imaging in mining (he is a mining engineer), so I suppose there are some specialized software engineers who could get that much, but they are probably very, very rare.
    – daaxix
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 4:19
  • How to get to $800 per hour?! Get a job, be good, make people hear how good you are, apply to other jobs asking more and more money, change jobs when you get a better offer, in the end you will end at $800 per hour.
    – Peter MV
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 19:05

1 Answer 1


Only answer you can get to this question is it depends what you can offer and how much this is worth to someone:

There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired.

Many years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multimillion dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail.

In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge.

He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated, "This is where your problem is." The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again.

The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

The engineer responded briefly:

"One chalk mark $1. Knowing where to put it $49,999"

Source: http://jokes4us.com/peoplejokes/engineersjokes/retiredengineerjoke.html

  • I didn't think about my question being in poor form since it was open ended. There is no RIGHT answer and I didn't stop to think that polling would be poor form here. However, if I had to choose a 'right' answer, it'd be this. Thanks. Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 9:53

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