So I’m 15 years old, turning 16 in a few months, and I’m a web designer. I was wondering, and I don’t know if this is the appropriate place to ask this question, can I charge hourly? For example, $40/hr? I was inspired by this article. I don’t know if that article applies to kids like me.
The only thing that “might not apply” to you is the whole concept of doing business. As a minor, there may be legalities around entering into a contract that you don’t expect. Some places, some contracts with minors are _void ab initio_ (meaningless from the start). Not that you should expect it to be a regular problem, but this means you may well have _extra_ difficulties in collecting for your work.
Contrariwise, you might also find yourself in a contract that is very unfavorable to you (because the client added terms to the contract that you didn’t catch the meaning of), with no way out.
I don’t mean to “talk down” to you, by any means, but have you talked to your parent(s) about this? If you plan to do work for anyone outside of friends and family, it might be a good idea to sit down with them (and maybe a lawyer/paralegal) to “iron out the details.”
As to _how much_ you can charge, I don’t know. I’ve never seen your work, nor dealt with you as a provider of a service. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that you can charge however much people are willing to pay you.
>Charging hourly only makes sense in certain circumstances.
True. I almost never* charge hourly.
*In fact, I usually charge hourly only when I know the work is going to be a pain, and would honestly not mind if the client dropped me (the notable exception being that some clients actually require an hourly rate for their own purposes – accounting, etc.).
I spend a lot of time, conversing with potential clients and creating a basic spec for the project before ever making an offer. Some people get impatient or “freak out” because I’m so involved before any money has changed hands. I let them go. The ones I keep _more_ than make up for it.
@JoshWhite I’ve always done it that way – but than again, I started freelancing “on the side,” so vetting clients wasn’t an issue (in fact, _not_ “being picky” (if that’s how you want to look at it) would have left me worse off).
It only feels like “vetting” to the impatient clients – definitely not making anyone “jump through hoops.” I try to be convivial and build a real conversation about the project to understand what they’re really looking for. That kind of relationship is what gets me clients (of course, it also helps that I’m not a total programming retard). Participating on forums helps build that kind of friendly, “interested” reputation as well (though that’s far from the only reason I am …here, for example… :) ). The other benefit is that, once they send along the deposit, work can start almost immediately.
And (to clarify) I was talking about writing a specification, not “spec work.” Sorry for any confusion. I **do not** do spec work, and to anyone who does, I say **STOP**, it’s bad for you. Once in a while, a request comes along that I’m completely unsure about how to build, and so I’ll do some exploratory work to make sure I can “pull it off,” but that’s it.
I’ve done this for about five years now, and I have the amount of work that I can handle. At the moment, that’s one “big” job, a smaller site that I’m doing some basic support for while the client prepares for the actual launch, and a few “odds-and-ends” in the past couple weeks (a logo and an upload form).
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