Freelance Developers – £15 an hour!

Really? In England? Somebody would only charge £15/an hour for web development?

Well, that’s what the ad said.

Whilst browsing YouTube recently a number of display ads have been cropping up for a business that I’ve noticed has stepped up a gear in trying to promote itself over the last few months.

I initially noticed the business’s PR team throwing content at publishers including one of my big clients for whom I edit and write copy. As with a lot of PR I see on my desk these days, some of the associations between the business embedding their link in the PR piece and the content itself is a little tenuous – that’s the way some content marketing and guest posting has become these days.

Secondly the rate at which these pieces of PR are being pumped out is, in my opinion at a relatively small scale publisher, flooding the market. To publish content from the same source on a regular basis, with sometimes tentative associations with the content, and all-of-a-sudden when there was nothing before is a little bit, well… Spammy!

But when their display ads appeared touting developers for £15 an hour, VAs for £10 an hour and the same measly rate for freelance animators, it concerned me a bit. There is a “going rate” for freelance web designers & web developers in this country and, even though I personally choose to operate a little under that rate, I wouldn’t stoop so low as to offer my specialist services, which I have spent over a decade developing, for a rate that, let’s be fair, is a bit too close to the national minimum wage.

The other issue that developers have to consider is that hourly rates usually make up for the fact that freelance work involves a fair degree of risk. An hour or two’s work here or there may involve travel which means expense or downtime. Also, hourly rates reflect the fact that an hour here or there is just that – an hour and not a day or a week or a month’s guaranteed and salaried income.

So I took a look at the website of the business selling devs for £15 an hour and lo and behold, the developers are not even in the UK. The lowest c0st, home-grown developers are offering their services at a little under the “going rate” which is fine by me.

But if you are looking for a developer for £15 an hour then the chances are they won’t be in the UK. You may well get a good service but if you do want to keep your money at home and spend it locally then a Brit will be worth twice that amount.

As for being a British developer offering your services at such a low rate, well it’s up to you if you think you can pay for all your kit, laptop, displays, backup drives, your learning, your office and your travel, mortgage etc on a such a small amount – Don’t forget that as a freelancer you may not be able to get work all the time (especially if British businesses are sending work abroad) so work out how much “downtime” costs you.

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