June 2, 2021

What’s your hourly rate? (email edition)

When someone asks you what your hourly rate is, my advice is to answer with:

“I don’t have one.”

...and then sit there in the uncomfortable silence until they inevitably ask:

“Then how do you price your work?”

...to which you reply:

“I’ll give you a fixed price for the engagement. Is that acceptable?”

So far, so good...


What if the inquiry is not a real-time conversation, but instead happens asynchronously over email?

I’m glad you asked!

Here’s how I would respond to the "What’s your hourly rate?” question if it came in via email:

“I don’t have an hourly rate. I give fixed prices so clients never have to pay more if things take me longer than expected. Would that work for you?”

Good clients will always answer “YES!” to this question.

And then you can proceed without the expectation of trading time for money.