Freelance coding: what should I expect?

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Freelance coding: what should I expect?

Postby peterdavidcarter » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:31 pm UTC

It's difficult to know exactly how to phrase what I'm asking, in some ways, but as someone new to the freelancing world I'm finding it all a bit bizarre. One minute I'll have someone offering me $120 for some fairly simple Systems Admin work, will overlook any errors or problems, and be extremely grateful when I complete to the task, and will stick to the terms exactly. The next I'll go on Freelancer and be expected to complete tasks several times more difficult, which take at least as long for $15-30, but it seems there are a large number of people bidding for similar work... which often ends up having extra bits added on at the last minute, phrased in a way that's so confusing I agree to them initially, before realising they were not actually part of the initial agreement at all.

So, what's the deal? Are some places just better than others to find good employers as a freelancer? Is it just a matter of personal friendships and connections?

I consider myself upper-intermediate in terms of my skills in my core coding focuses, and most clients ask for repeat work, but I'm just not really sure if I'm exploiting the more generous, or if the more ruthless are exploiting me, or maybe a bit of both.

I'd much rather be paid a fair rate for my skills and have a good relationship with an employer so I'm always nice to them, even if I secretly think $30 for a day's work is kind of unfair. But I have bills to pay and debts from my old business that never got far enough to make back the money I invested in it, so I feel like I should be more pragmatic.

Does anyone have advice or good reading they could recommend to make sure people don't take advantage of my skills.?

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Re: Freelance coding: what should I expect?

Postby psykx » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:11 pm UTC

I think you are missing some business analysis and estimation skills. What that boils down to are detailed specifications of work, risk analysis of how complete the specification is and an accurate estimation of your time for a job. You can either charge by the day/hour regardless of the specification, or charge based on an estimate which is based on a specification (which is never complete enough). If a specification is incomplete you need to be able to judge how incomplete it is, and then charge based on the risk you will be taking on. I appreciate this may be difficult on a freelancer site.
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