Free Tool: Easily Calculate the Cost of Hiring a Freelancer

Hourly freelance rates show what you can expect to pay for designers and developers based on many variables, including experience and geographic location.

Today, the workforce has changed. People no longer go to offices and sit at desks. More and more often, they go to coffee shops, they sit at the kitchen counter, and sometimes they work from remote destinations while carrying their own personal hotspots.  People, especially talented contractors and sub-contractors, work from all over.  Your ability to deliver projects to clients depends on having a trusted network of talented individuals from all over, who want to work for you. 

So how do you know you're paying the fair cost of hiring a freelancer, and vice versa: that you're getting the quality you're paying for? (Bonus: Know the difference between billable and non-billable hours.)

There's a new tool from Bonsai to help.  The Freelance Rate Calculator (free) lets you input four variables to determine the market rate of your contractors: 

Input your variables to find the correct match of experience leven and other variables that help you calculate an appropriate freelance rate or range.

  • Role
  • Skill
  • Experience (limited to U.S. only; Bonsai is working to expand this tool for other countries)
  • Location


This shows you the hourly rates on a dynamic bar chart, so you can see the full range of who makes what, as well as the average rate to pick a fair price for fair quality.  Bonsai lets contract workers add their rates to the data, so the chart is constantly updated with the latest submissions.  Bonsai states most the data currently comes from users of its own Bonsai Contracts free tool for developing contracts, rather than user submissions. 

 Why would anyone make such a transparent hourly rate calculation tool? 

It's pretty simple.  Contractors have to balance earning a fair share with getting enough work to sustain their practice.  Meanwhile, businesses want to find the highest-quality talent who will work for the most affordable fees.  This creates a constantly evolving dialogue around the correct and fair market value for hourly contractors. The Freelance Rate Calculator takes the guesswork out of all this, giving everyone a fair and transparent platform to discuss rates openly.  (Understand project management terms [glossary].)

Congratulations on finding your freelancer rate ranges! Next, learn best practices for delegating tasks.