As long as it's not detrimental to the quality of the final product, I believe all freelancers should be able to deliver projects as fast as they like. Having said that, I find myself earning less money by delivering top-quality projects sooner rather than later as other less-experienced freelancers earn more by taking longer to complete their jobs.

There are many industries that charge extra for meeting clients' requests sooner, so what would be the best way to apply this to freelancing apart from simply increasing the hourly rate?

  • Please don't forgot to accept an answer, if you feel that any of them satisfy your question.
    – user45623
    Mar 24 '17 at 1:42

You'll never get ahead with hourly based pricing.. you should use Value-based pricing

With hourly pricing, you penalize yourself the better you get at your job.

Fire your hourly rate.

More detail (but not exactly a duplicate question): Should I charge my client for mistakes I make?

  • 1
    Disagree on this @Scott (doesnt happen often), at least half of my projects are invoiced on an hourly / daily rate. Over the years, my rate has simply gone up. Mar 13 '17 at 8:00
  • Disagree all you want :) My hourly invoicing is reserved for maintenance updates and "fixes" never for projects on the whole.. I think in general working for hourly pay...makes you a slave to a timeclock.. not why I freelance.
    – Scott
    Mar 13 '17 at 10:36
  • I don't see how I'm a slave to a clock: I work whenever, wherever I want and I invoice that time. No matter what you do, I assume you'll still need to work. Mar 13 '17 at 16:36
  • Read the link I posted int he answer above... Hourly-based pricing actually penalizes you the faster you work. So.. the better you get at your job.. the less money you make, unless you continually raise your rates until you eventually price yourself out of the market.
    – Scott
    Mar 13 '17 at 18:03
  • I looked at it, but it's just a link to a search query? Anyway, I assume you don't work in consultancy, as I can imagine your point applies to web development, graphic design or similar. But there are more types of work out there :) Mar 13 '17 at 18:23

You can always increase your rate.

You will need to ensure that any proposal/bid you make reflects this, clearly demonstrating that you plan to take less time, with a final cost estimate at the end of the bid (clearly marked as an estimate, of course).

This way, the client can compare your bid against others and can make a clear choice based on value.


100 hours x $50 per hour = $5000 (competitors)
50 hours x $75 per hour = $3750 (you)

I know which one I'd pick for a project.

Once finished, you can move on to the next project.


If you're looking for ideas outside of increasing your rates (which I recommend doing on a regular basis, as I do annually), here are a few:

  • Mandatory minimums for projects: If you have a good idea of how long something will take, make that the minimum hourly total for the project. That way, if you work faster, they get a quicker delivery and you still get paid fairly. If you end up needing to put in more hours, as long as the communication lines are open and this is an understood possibility, it shouldn't be a problem.
  • Additional fees: While most of my pricing is hourly as well, I have a few additional fees spelled out in my contracts. If there are particular milestones or additions that it would make sense to charge extra for, do so. Or include a "rush fee" that means you give the job priority and will get it done faster. But be careful with these - obviously nobody likes surprise fees, so they need to be clearly explained.
  • Time/Completion bonus: This isn't something that I do and probably doesn't fit in with my industry, but it might for yours (though I think it would make more sense to come from the client). But what you could do is say, "the average freelancer costs X much and finishes in X amount of time. I'll work for the same amount, but if I finish x weeks early I get a completion bonus of $X." I'm honestly not sure how many clients would be welcome to an idea like this one, so it really depends on your industry, how well you sell the idea, and your ability to get things done faster than everyone else.

Delivering the project sooner means you make less money from that project. It also means you are available to start another project that will be a new revenue stream. As long as you keep your schedule full, there is no loss in income.

I typically have three contracts going at once. I have found that this is enough to minimize my downtime, without overwhelming me. You may find that the optimum number for yourself is more or less, depending on your work habits and how quickly your clients respond to questions and provide files that you need.

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