You’re right about hourly rates. And those are many of the reasons freelancers try to get away from hourly rates and do project or value based pricing.
A few notes:
- When I new client approaches me, ideally they are already sold on the idea of working with me. My rate becomes almost an afterthought — it needs to be discussed but it not a primary concern in their decision making process. They are not generally shopping around and comparing my rate to others. If I can supply what they want for a price they deem to be reasonable, then they hire me often times without looking elsewhere. Either that, or they are comparing my rate to the rate of an agency, in which case even a high freelancer rate is probably still looking like good value.
- Except for rare, open-ended, long-term projects, I always give a price estimate up front even if I’m charging and hourly rate. So there is no retrospective guessing at how much an outcome costs. You’re right that I could turn that estimate into a project quote and never reveal the hourly rate, however I find that many clients don’t have a clear enough brief to do this. So I give them an estimate but charge for actual hours spent, which may deviate from the estimate to allow for changes in scope.