WEB What do I need to know as a freelancer?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by SPACECATAZ, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. SPACECATAZ

    SPACECATAZ New Member

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    I know I could search google, but I'd thought it'd be better to ask from WM Lab's personal experience. I just started into web design about a month ago. I have a portfolio website up and that's about it. I haven't done any freelance work for any clients yet. I know XHTML/CSS/PHP and most design programs already. I think I have a pretty good grasp of web 2.0 trends as well, but I what I don't know is about the logistics of freelancing.

    How should I receive payment? Paypal? Certified check?

    Is a contract needed every time to cover my ass?

    How should I gain more professional experience? Do work for non-profits, churches, etc?

    How do I handle taxes? Use quicken pro, etc?

    How much do I charge per/hour as a noobie in the business?

    How do I stay ahead of the competition?

    I'm sure there's a host of other questions that I could ask, but this is a start. :mamoru:
     
  2. Die Antwoord

    Die Antwoord New Member

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    How should I receive payment? Paypal? Certified check?
    I prefer PayPal. Half up front and half on completion of the project to cover both parties.

    Is a contract needed every time to cover my ass?
    Might be a good idea. But not rly for just freelance work.


    How should I gain more professional experience? Do work for non-profits, churches, etc?
    Offer your services at a lower cost than others would normally charge. Build your portfolio that way.

    How do I handle taxes? Use quicken pro, etc?
    What taxes? I didn't see any money. :dunno:

    How much do I charge per/hour as a noobie in the business?
    If you're just starting out, consider quoting flat rate jobs. People will be more likely to give you a shot.

    How do I stay ahead of the competition?
    Offer more for less.

    Profit???
     
  3. maxxpower

    maxxpower OG Lauren Crew - Observer OT Supporter

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    I dont do much webwork anymore but I do a ton of development work.
    Here are my thoughts, although you may wish to change things.

    How should I receive payment? Paypal? Certified check?
    When I was younger I would say either, now I believe asking for either would look too unprofessional.
    Do this...
    1. Deliver project scope and quote and ask for a signed approval with 25% deposit (payable via regular check).
    2. Finish project, deliver invoice and ask for payment with terms, generally 30days or however you seem fit.
    Obviously this does not work with all clients, but, most professional businesses do stick to the rules.

    Is a contract needed every time to cover my ass?
    Yes, that would be step 1, signed scope/quote with approval.

    How should I gain more professional experience? Do work for non-profits, churches, etc?
    Yes and no... any work is work so if you are going to devote time to non-profits, you might as well network and offer some "freebies" to professional businesses. If clients just see all non-profits on portfolio, it might be a deterent.

    How do I handle taxes? Use quicken pro, etc?
    I cant answer this unless you are Canadian.

    How much do I charge per/hour as a noobie in the business?
    I would say this... most web designers charge too little compared to professional design houses. This does not mean you need to rape your clients, they still need a deal compared to big design houses, but, you need to keep your profession worth.
    The lowest I ever charged for paid work was about $45 per hour. Remember too when quoting jobs, if you are not realistic about the hours, it will rob you.

    How do I stay ahead of the competition?
    As far as design is concerned thats easy, what is harder is staying competitive with obtaining clients.
    Everyone stays on top of trends etc, but, focus should be on building the business.

    I'm sure there's a host of other questions that I could ask, but this is a start.
    Here is whats missing...
    - Be sure to outline in the scope a maximum number of revisions.
    - Be sure to outline that you are designing and keep your focus on it. You do not want clients "assisting" as it will just be a clusterfuck.
    - When scoping out the project, be sure to ask for content. Everyone has clients that say "yeah we want a section on about us" but, they need to deliver the content of that section.

    Hosting... when possible, be sure to host the sites, this allows for leverage on unpaid accounts.

    Domain renewals...be sure clients understand the ongoing costs of such.

    Plus,,, there are many more.
     
  4. Tony Stark

    Tony Stark John McCain has an illegitimate mexican baby

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    Escrow if the service you are using offers it. Whatever if not.

    Yes, but in most cases the contract will cover the person hiring you.

    Do work for local businesses. a) They won't be as tech savvy, so you can take your time. b) They won't know the going rate, so they'll pay you more. Honestly, just go print out 500 business cards, get in your car, and visit every local business in your area offering to build/update their website. You'll get a bunch of "orders" this way.

    Are you a registered business or what?

    If you'll do those freelance sites, you'll end up charging $10-15/hr tops, because your competition will be fierce. And those indian guys have lower costs of living than you.

    If you go the local route, you can charge $5K for a simple HTML website, since they have no clue what everything costs. And then you can charge $60/hour updating their website with announcements.

    If you go local you won't really have competition, noone is willing to do the legwork. Especially programmers, most of them are too shy to go meet people and try to sell them. Remember its like dating, a numbers game, you visit 100 businesses, you get 3-4 orders, make $20K, then get an extra 30-40 hours @$60/hour to update those sites each month.


    As far as extra things:

    Never release your code until you get paid. And offer domain registration/hosting etc. That way those people will be tied to you and will be much less likely to go elsewhere, since you'll have control over their server/domain.
     
  5. Pepsi1975

    Pepsi1975 Mod of the Year

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    I have a dba, taxes in the past I handled at the end of the year, my kids and write offs help offset what I owed, but I am doing it full time now, so I may talk to some book keepers and what not and see what they suggest
     
  6. SPACECATAZ

    SPACECATAZ New Member

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    Ok, that made me :rofl: when I read that. I ask that b/c when I searched on google. Every blog was like, "GET PROFESSIONAL SOFTWARE TO KEEP TRACK OF TAXES!" I was like, :hsugh:?

    What do you mean "outline in the scope a maximum number of revisions?" Like after a completed project, they can't come back to me and expect some freebie work b/c something wasn't to their exact liking?

    -I didn't think about the hosting and content issue. I'm sure there's a lot of small businesses out there that expect you do everything for content. I really only wanted to offer pro-bono stuff to non-profits, but offering to small business as well I think would be a better idea. I understand what you're saying about that.

    -Did the business card thing for you when you were starting?
    -5k$ is realistic for local work as a beginner? :eek3:
    -I won't be doing any freelance sites, maybe just offering services on craigslist.
    -By not releasing code until I finish, what if they want to see the site in the middle of development. Just show them a high-res screenie or something?
    -Also, should I be offering CMS to people like Joomla or Drupal so they can update content themselves or should I shy away from that kind of stuff so they keep coming back to me as their web guy?
     
  7. Pepsi1975

    Pepsi1975 Mod of the Year

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    i have a 3.5k gig, but I live in michigan, so the economy sucks here, so you will not find alot of jobs that can afford paying that for a simple 4 page site
     
  8. Tony Stark

    Tony Stark John McCain has an illegitimate mexican baby

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    -not me, I'm not a freelancer, but it worked for the freelancers I know. Well the ones that have started recently.
    -more or less, the local business people aren't that tech savvy, so they really have no idea what anything costs. And your $5K fee will most likely be peanuts for most small businesses.
    -Craigslist is a dead end for freelancers, if a person is looking to get a site built, they go to some of those freelance sites. You need to focus on doing local stuff, you'll be able to charge more, and have no competition.
    -I mean you develop the site, but keep the development on your own server. Give the buyer updates, with links to the site. At the end of the project, you upload the code to their server.
    -No to CMS, updating content is a very big money maker. It's usually very simple work, and its still at the same rate as before. So at $60 an hour, you can easily make $500-$1000/mo from each customer, simply by updating their Announcements page/photos.
     
  9. Die Antwoord

    Die Antwoord New Member

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    $1,500 is much more realistic for local businesses.
     
  10. Die Antwoord

    Die Antwoord New Member

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    :werd:

    Plus if you don't mention CMS you won't have to explain all that shit to the idiots. :bowdown:
     
  11. Die Antwoord

    Die Antwoord New Member

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    Plus if you offer CMS they will most likely fuck it up and then expect you to fix it like "IDK WAT HAPPENED LOL [​IMG]."
     
  12. Pepsi1975

    Pepsi1975 Mod of the Year

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    again it depends on the locale and how that state is doing
     
  13. Zephyr

    Zephyr New Member

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    hold the fuck up, 1500 for a basic 5 page business html website? :bowrofl: i need to start doing this

    ill just buy a fucking template to make it even easier for 50-100 bucks :rofl:
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
  14. Phasm

    Phasm OT Supporter

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    where have you been brah? That's what most of the ppl in this sub forum do :hs:
     
  15. maxxpower

    maxxpower OG Lauren Crew - Observer OT Supporter

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    Outlining a max number of revisions is to keep the scope from creeping, some companies are never satisfied and this protects you from them not being clear on their expectations, in some instances you can get in an indefinite loop of revisions.

    About the content, the "content" text should come from the customer, if it doesnt then you will be stuck with trying to write content on subject matter that you are not an expert on and let me tell you, its definately one of the hardest parts of the business.

    Hosting is perks and safeguards you againts being stiffed on payments etc.

    Some of the guys here like to milk the content update stuff. I couldnt be bothered, I actually prefer CMS and let them worry about that shit, but thats just me.
     
  16. SPACECATAZ

    SPACECATAZ New Member

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    Wait, seriously? :rofl:
     
  17. Die Antwoord

    Die Antwoord New Member

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    I used to. Now I do 90% affiliate marketing and just do some freelance stuff when I feel like making extra money.
     
  18. Zephyr

    Zephyr New Member

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    but is this 1500 just a number thrown out there or is this seriously what you guys charge? and you actually use templates on top of that?

    im really ready to get 500 free business cards and start passing them around.
     
  19. Die Antwoord

    Die Antwoord New Member

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    Do it then. There's money to be made everywhere if you want to work for it.
     
  20. Zephyr

    Zephyr New Member

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    ive made pennies with affiliate marketing, just 200 for a month of bullshit.

    be honest, whats the most you've charged for a basic 5 page bullshit website. and did you just use a template?
     
  21. Pepsi1975

    Pepsi1975 Mod of the Year

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    in my area it is cut throat people wanting money, so 5 pages 500 to 700 or so, and people still try to undercut on that

    sometimes I will take a template and mod it to what I want it to do and change the look, or I will do it from scratch depends on my needs and customers needs

    lately I am trying to get away from using templates and doing it more from scratch
     
  22. Pepsi1975

    Pepsi1975 Mod of the Year

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    next job all I am doing is coding my buddy's site, he is a graphic designer, so he is going to design it and I am going to code it, 3, 4 pages tops

    for a buddy I am going to do it for $300
     
  23. Zephyr

    Zephyr New Member

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    i really think i can find some people that will want a website and will pay out 500-700 easily and just use a template, but i dont want to tarnish my image as a dude who steals money :o
     
  24. Azazel28

    Azazel28 New Member

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    $5,000

    -5 Page Site
    -Custom Art (icons, characters, textures, vector images, etc.)
    -Professional Photo Manipulation and advance techniques
    -Javascript (Jquery)

    I never use templates, everything is custom. I may use some similar framework to a previous design, however everything I do from the wireframe to the final product is all from the ground up. Templates are for the lazy who want nothing more then to make a quick buck, but screw the client.
     
  25. Zephyr

    Zephyr New Member

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    oh no im just talking about a basic business website. just some about us, mission, contact us, locations, services. maybe a google map in there.

    nothing fancy like professional photo manipulatio.
     

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