All Questions

148
votes
10answers
118k views

How do I get my first job at a freelancing site?

I am in the software development industry and I'm an experienced software engineer. I am new to freelancing websites. The problem is I have zero rating and I can't get any projects even if I bid the ...
60
votes
15answers
4k views

Tracking hours you are working for clients

When working through the day, I may work on many different projects. Web development is one of the freelancing jobs that I'm sure many people bounce around project to project, or maybe that is just ...
53
votes
10answers
2k views

How do you make family understand that you need to stick to a schedule?

I'm having trouble balancing freelancing work with family. My wife thinks that just because I work at home that this means I'm available for home stuff at any hour, which creates problems in my ...
49
votes
8answers
5k views

Hourly billing, is it appropriate to include time to research if you don't know how to do something?

The title is a bit confusing, but here is an issue I face occasionally, but don't know how to bill. Here is an example, and I hope you can get the general idea and apply it to a broader concept of how ...
39
votes
7answers
2k views

How can we prepare for “getting hit by a bus”?

As a self-employed person working for a client (e.g. creating a website), you have a bus factor of 1: The bus factor is the total number of key developers who would need to be incapacitated (as by ...
38
votes
8answers
6k views

Where can I find good contract templates?

When a new freelancer works with a small client, neither party may have experience with contracts. This community wiki provides starting points they can use to think through the issues that should be ...
37
votes
7answers
10k views

When is it ok to ask a client for more money?

I am pretty good at estimating my time on a project. For this question, let's say it is for a simple WordPress website with a custom theme development. I have quoted and set my contract with my ...
36
votes
7answers
1k views

At what point is it no longer a “Free Change”

I am a freelance web developer. I have built many different websites for all sorts of people. Once my client signs off on a project as complete I am still willing to offer little updates and things. ...
34
votes
6answers
5k views

How do I calculate pay rate if I've never freelanced before?

I've been working full time in the field (software) for about 5-6 years. However, I've never done any freelancing work before and am new to this entire process. At my job, pay is easy, since it's ...
34
votes
5answers
2k views

How to get over the discomfort of asking for money?

I've just started freelancing full-time. I've done bits here and there before. I've mostly been drawn to freelancing because of the higher rates I can bill and the ability to be master of my own ...
32
votes
8answers
9k views

Dealing with “friend” who won't pay after delivery despite signed contracts

I need help dealing with this situation. I have a (person who claims to be my) "friend" who did not pay upon completion and delivery of project, despite a signed contract last May. The project was ...
31
votes
4answers
3k views

Fixed price or per hour for a web developer?

I am a starting freelancer in the webdevelopment sector. I focus on both personal or one-man business full websites and websites for advanced users for which I write plugins or add features (but don't ...
30
votes
8answers
63k views

How much payment should be required up front?

When accepting a job and negotiating a price, how much of this should be required up front before starting the work, especially when you haven't dealt with the client before? Should it be a flat ...
28
votes
8answers
2k views

Best approach to finding clients in your own city?

I am working as a Software Engineer, but I want to add to my pay by freelancing. What is the best way to find clients in my own city? I am open to doing small projects (like for schools or small ...
27
votes
9answers
5k views

Unprofessional to leave before project ended for better paid project?

I just recently started freelancing (software development) for a new client; they're a start-up and my old boss is the CTO. They gave me a 3 month freelancing contract which doesn't specify how many ...
26
votes
12answers
9k views

Client wants to pay a percentage of revenue generated by website

I recently came in contact with one of my Dad's friends who is looking for a website. This guy gave my Dad a job when we first moved to California and has been a really good "family friend" ever since....
26
votes
4answers
843 views

How to make the jump from normal employee to higher level freelancing

I am a professional software developer with 6+ years of full-time experience, full degree, co-op program, currently employed at a programming desk job. I would call my self at the intermediate level. ...
26
votes
3answers
46k views

How can I start freelancing and get online projects to work on?

I have good experience in PHP and I want to start freelancing. I have opened accounts on Elance, freelancer, oDesk and have been trying to bid on projects for the last 2 months, but I still didn't get ...
26
votes
5answers
600 views

How can I mitigate not being part of a big team?

Freelancing has its advantages - don't get me wrong; however, many people want to be reassured that they are dealing with a big company. Since I can't possibly provide this, how can I mitigate these ...
25
votes
10answers
3k views

Too many projects and no one to outsource them to - how is this possible?

For the last 3-4 years I have been both a freelancer and the client. I'm the client mainly when I outsource projects I cannot handle myself, or when I seek a specific expert as a part of a project (...
25
votes
2answers
2k views

How can experienced contractor survive outside Elance/oDesk/Freelancer?

This is what a friend asked me and I directed him to the similar question How to find clients beyond sites like oDesk/Guru/Freelancer? here. Then we started discussing the issue and I realize that ...
23
votes
6answers
5k views

Should I bill my clients for bathroom breaks or other various interruptions?

I use Toggl for time tracking, and I'm pretty diligent about starting a new task for pretty much every thing I'm working on. Recently, while working at home, I had to use the restroom, and afterwards ...
23
votes
3answers
586 views

When is it a good idea to start considering an LLC or incorporation?

I've done freelance work as an independent contractor for years, which works well-enough for sporadic freelance work. But as I get more gigs and an established portfolio, are there benefits to forming ...
22
votes
4answers
610 views

Do you fix hourly estimation or accept your mistake and do for free?

The scenario is the usual one: You are asked to make a price estimation. You analyse all features at your best knowledge, experience and logic. You event count the buffer of 20%. You then start the ...
22
votes
6answers
7k views

Is it unprofessional to approach a business, unsolicited, based upon technical problems you see on their website?

I don't know why it would be bad to approach a business per se, but there are times I am incredibly frustrated with sites I know are easily fixable. For example, a small Mom-and-Pop business whose ...
21
votes
4answers
21k views

What does an LLC's limited liability really protect you against (if you are sole owner and employee)?

I have looked into forming an LLC a few times in the US (right now I am better off not doing so for tax reasons while I am abroad but that is another story). However in my research, I may be ...
20
votes
8answers
1k views

Should I use a written contract when working for small businesses?

I’m working mostly for small businesses and I’ve never used a written contract. No client has asked about it yet. The only paper involved is my offer and invoice. When I started my freelancing, I ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I discipline myself as a freelancer?

I have been freelancing full-time for a few years and have quiet office away from home but am easily distracted with (for example): keeping up with news in my industry staying current in my field of ...
20
votes
4answers
10k views

Non-US citizen freelancing in the US remotely

I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction. I've spoken to no fewer than 3 accounting firms - one huge international one here in Sweden and they say they're not allowed to advise on ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

How to build passive income instead of just selling work hours?

As freelancers we mostly sell work hours. The income is directly affected by the amount of work we put in. Is there a better business model? Something that will gradually grow into a stable passive ...
19
votes
4answers
40k views

What do web developers charge for site maintenance (not changes/updates)?

I'm a freelance web developer in the evenings and my framework of choice is Wordpress.org. Wordpress and its community plugins are updated frequently. Wordpress is also a highly targeted framework for ...
19
votes
3answers
11k views

How to estimate the hourly rate for senior developer?

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'...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

Do I risk anything if I shut down a product that hasn't been paid?

I have been working on a "big" advertising website for a known company in my country. The job wasn't much paid but interested so I did it. I also worked lot of overtime to build everything they needed,...
18
votes
6answers
11k views

How do I estimate the cost of building an Android app?

I am new to Android development. I have developed an app in Play Store and then I got approached by a client in Facebook to build a translation of a religious word as an app. He said he will give me $...
18
votes
4answers
493 views

Charging more for emergencies because of the client's negligence?

I created a website for a client. I offered to install any future security updates for a fixed monthly fee (so it wouldn’t matter if there are 0 or 10 security updates in a month), but the client didn'...
18
votes
2answers
290 views

Should I point out design flaws to my clients?

I am not a designer. I don't claim to be, and I don't want to be. I am a programmer. I have a handful of clients that are small "web designers". Some are great, and I have recommended friends and ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

How can I be successful as a digital nomad?

I have been reading articles on digital nomad-ing. Here are some of them: Being a digital nomad in Bali This guy built his business by the beach Joel Gascoigne of Buffer (11 cities in 3 months) ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Freelancing while being employed

Relying purely on freelancing to earn your bread can be somewhat risky and daunting. Say I want to do freelancing while also being employed (full or part time). What are the specific issues I need to ...
18
votes
4answers
890 views

Why should I not provide free services to friends when freelancing?

I'm running a relatively small one-man business in the software sector. I just started and am trying to create a larger portfolio. For that, I offer some friends free services. I found a few reasons ...
18
votes
5answers
645 views

How to deal with 'Scope Creep'?

I am creating an online education portal for a client who pays on time and likes the work which I'm doing but after a day he says "Hey, I liked the work you did to the ABC section but after discussing ...
17
votes
8answers
577 views

Staying in contact with clients when I have a different sleep-wake rhythm (being a night owl or living in a different time zone)

I’m a night owl. I’m most productive/creative at night. I go to bed in the morning and sleep until late afternoon. Being self-employed, this gives only a small timeframe for contact with clients, as ...
17
votes
6answers
16k views

How do I put freelancing in my CV?

After I finished my CS school, I had an accident which took me far away from the industry for approximately 4 years. After that I worked on my dad's business, and I didn't do much in the way of ...
17
votes
4answers
22k views

On a long contract, when is it ok to ask for a raise?

I started working at my current position nearly 6 months ago, and am paid per-hour, per-project at a flat rate. It was originally going to be a 3-month contract-to-hire, but the company lost a major ...
17
votes
10answers
2k views

Best way to get clients as a freelance web developer? [closed]

Getting work on elance, etc. often requires suicidally low bids. Is online really the way to go, or is it better to get clients through "real-world" networking in your city?
17
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I advertise myself?

Advertising has a lot of effect in attracting big clients to a business. Is there a way (conventional or unconventional) to advertise myself as a freelancer so that I can attract good clients and ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the smallest unit of time I should charge for when clients request minor changes?

If a client needs a tiny amend making to their website (e.g. a phone number needs changing, a user profile needs to be updated in a way the site doesn't allow, etc.) I usually will not charge my ...
17
votes
5answers
502 views

How to work as a pet sitter with low self-confidence?

I want to take care of various pets for various (even dirt-cheap) prices just to be sure I can get any client to accept my offers. If I make prices unbelievably low, people will likely want me because ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Upwork taking 20% of my money. Alternatives

I am not very happy with Upwork now taking 20% of what I make. I have had to raise my price just to continue getting 10%. Does anybody have any suggestions for a good alternative for Upwork? I do ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

How to handle silly requirements?

I make web applications for a living working from home. Sometimes a client pick a technology stack that is likely to hurt the project (severely over-engineered, bad combination of components or just ...
16
votes
3answers
279 views

Filing taxes quarterly

Do I need to file taxes quarterly if I am self-employed (no matter what), or are there circumstances in which I can file at the end of the year? For example, if I were employed at another job for ...

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