A client wants me to work on their existing (half-baked) e-commerce solution for their family business. It is a Shopify application.

I have never used Shopify before but I have build apps using wordpress and I understand the concept.

How would you approach pricing the client? What would you base your pricing model on? Are there any metrics?

So far I have read : http://benrmatthews.com/freelance-consultant-rates-how-to-work-out-your-hour-day-or-project-rate/

but I have not reached any conclusion.

Some additional information:

  • I shall not be charging them to learn the concepts
  • This is my first time setting a price for my services
  • They do not want to be charged hourly
  • I am thinking about charging them a rate for simple front-end changes per page, however I have no clue how to charge them when it is about implementing a new feature that is quite backend involved. (Also, different tasks may involve different amounts of effort. So should I charge a different rate for every new feature?)
  • When would be acceptable to be paid? Immediately after the deliverable or after they agree upon the quality of the service?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • As per client, how many percentage of work has been completed? Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 10:33

3 Answers 3


Get paid on a time-and-materials basis.

You are being asked to support a complex system where you don't know the caveats ahead of time. If you do it fixed price, you're going to shoot yourself in the foot.

  • While I certainly agree with your reasoning, the author did say "they do not want to be charged hourly" Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 16:06
  • Good business is not about making the situation a "win" only for the client. Some clients are better left alone.
    – Xavier J
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 21:11
  • oh, absolutely! Defining what a good client is, and then finding them, should be at the top of any freelancer's todo list. Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 21:29

There are a number of risks to you associated with the setup you're describing. Having no experience with Shopify, you're not in a position to adequately scope the changes they need to make.

That said, scoping this project is the same as scoping any other project. To arrive at a final price, you take the number of hours times your hourly rate to arrive at a time-and-materials estimate. If they want a fixed bid, it is customary to assess a risk multiplier to the final number to cover the uncertainty associated with the project. That risk multiplier can be changed based on your comfort with the platform and client, but a fixed-bid estimate should always be higher than a time-and-materials estimate.

If the client insists on a fixed-bid project, before you begin any work, you should make sure that you have outlined, in as much detail as possible, what features you will be implementing and what each feature will cost. It is also imperative that you explain to the client that should they change their mind about anything at all, the price of the project may change.

If I were in your position, the risk multiplier I would apply to my rate would be rather large because I have no experience with the platform at hand and, for example, what I think is a simple change, could take several days to figure out.

Regarding your terms of payment question, depending on the size of the project there is usually a combination of milestones and a final deliverable. There is also a period of user acceptance testing around any final deliverable. This is an opportunity for the client to verify that things perform as desired. This gets back to the importance of clearly outlining the functionality to be implemented because the acceptance will be based on this agreement. In any case, before you request payment for a milestone, you should demonstrate the completeness of that milestone to the client.


I think you need to came up with the minimum rate ($/H) that you are good to work for and are acceptable for that certain client and then discuss all these moments directly with client.

For example, if client do not want to be charged hourly, then you should charge per amount of work done. That means, that tasks should be scoped and after you did it - you got paid. The total value you should estimate will depend on how much implementing will take and you rate, that you will decide. Then give that price to the client.

When would be acceptable to be paid?

I think you need to negotiate it with client, usually after work done if you are charging not per hours.

or after they agree upon the quality of the service?

If you are not sure, if they would like the quality, then it's better to propose some minor tasks to be done first as trial and then continue if they are good with quality.

I think Shopify application is same as every another domains and client should be charged depending on complexity of the tasks and how much effort you made, time spend.

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