I am asked to make a proposal to a client who is moving on from working with a digital media agency (wasn't happy with the services) to working with me, after I demonstrated a proof-of-concept of a tool that can provide unique data. This data would have big impact on the client's inflow of new work, and would make their digital strategy less "black box". They would definitely become more self-sufficient with it.

I am looking for any input on how to price & propose this.

I usually work in retainer setups that would come at about 50 USD / hour. I do next to no per-project work and I am terrible at pricing to begin with.

The retainer rate is at this point too little for my experience and the value I'm bringing, so with this new client I would like to charge more. I know that the agency where the client was not happy charges the hourly equivalent of 150 USD / hour, which is a huge difference from what I charge now and it's difficult to think straight about it.

I'm just looking for input on what I've come up with so far:

  1. This looks like the best way would be to split the work into several "milestones" (audit, setup, data retrieval, analysis, strategy). I would estimate how much time I'm roughly going to need and work it our from an hourly rate, but only ask for the milestone payment (so no hourly work).
  2. I would have to spend some time coding some functionalities which I think would be best to "leave out" so that I don't have to go into any hourly billed work. I'd just do that on the side and have to factor some time estimate into my quote.
  3. For the hourly rate I'd work with, I think ~100 USD/hr would be fair here. In the proposal, can I cite things like that it will make the client more self-sufficient to justify asking for a more premium price?

Any feedback is much appreciated.

1 Answer 1


IMO, bill them hourly. Make sure that the scope, deliverables, and milestones are well defined and in the contract.

If you bill them at $100.00 per hour you'll be making twice as much as you normally do and they'll be getting the equivalent of a 33% discount. That sounds like a win for everyone.

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