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I'm considering looking for contractor jobs (in Western Europe). I have the experience of senior developer (Java) so I'm confident of the high quality of value added I can provide to the client. But I'm not sure what hourly rate should I demand? What should I take into account?

  1. Are there publicly available information about hourly rates of programming experts? If the rates are standardized, it would change my problem into simply accepting the rate or not.

  2. Should they be estimated in relation to the employees' wages? For example, they should be 50% higher?

  3. How to calculate the living costs? If I know that the costs of living in given city are 1500€, and in the place I live now they are 1000€, should I add 500€ to the sum calculated in point 2?

  4. Initially I'd probably have to stay in hotel, which would increase the costs of about 500-1000€. On shorter time contracts (up to 3 months) probably I'd stay only in hotel, so should I charge about 1000€ monthly more?

The sums in the question are templates only, to replace by localized costs.

  • 1
    Could someone explain why he thinks it is too localized? I would sooner expect it to be too vague and generic. – Danubian Sailor Jun 2 '13 at 17:39
  • You can have an idea on how much to charge hourly if you enter a freelancing website and look for developers with similar skills and knowledge to you. In case you need to translate US dollars to Euros, just google any currency converter. – pablofiumara Oct 8 '13 at 22:34
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In North America, the 'average' consulting rate (according to the Wall Street Journal) is around $62 per hour. If I look at Craigslist in certain high demand markets, I see rates offered for contracting, and those run from $60 to $80. This would be for Java, C#, SQL Server, etc. Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, ERP, and Oracle pay better rates.

Good places to look in CL are Toronto, Ontario, which posts about 100 listings a day. Toronto is a pretty expensive city. Indeed.com is an amalgamator, and they sometimes post annual salaries - however they can make horrible mistakes. I saw an IT Director for a school district offered $250,000, which was due to a misinterpretation of the annual salary terms posted on the original site.

How this translates into Euros I can't tell, but generally if you have a feeling you're priced out of the market your feeling is probably right.

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    Those are the rates by medium-time contract (few months to few years) or by freelancing? – Danubian Sailor Jul 21 '13 at 6:00
  • @ŁukaszLech - in the US you would get paid rates like that for 6 to 18 month projects. There are some days you might work an 8 hour day, but more likely is around 5 hours - things other people do for you in big companies you have to do yourself. Some of this is marketing, some billing, some tax work, some running around getting cars fixed, but it comes out of your working day. – Meredith Poor Jul 21 '13 at 13:10
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The German platform GULP frequently publishes statistics in press releases and in its knowledge base. There also is a calculator to estimate hourly rates. From my experience, they mostly staff consulting jobs at large companies in the area of SAP, banking, and automotive. As of August 2013, GULP claims that consultants in the age group 40 to 50 get the highest rates.

2

To be honest when I was starting off what I did was I called up a few folks and asked point blank what their rates were. I offered to meet up and set up myself mutual referrals as applicable, and so forth.

If you play your cards right you may get the information you need and better chances of work at the same time.

It might be different in Europe but in general my experience is that small businesses are usually pretty happy to help eachother out and this includes consultants and contractors.

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