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Freelance Rate Calculator

Are you new to freelancing or re-evaluating your current hourly rate for your freelance business? Use our free tool to quickly learn tips on how to establish your minimum hourly freelance rate.

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Estimated minimum required yearly income
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Estimated billable hours

To help determine your estimate for your total annual billable hours, let’s start with how much you want to work. That means looking at the days you'd want to spend doing other things. You may be familiar with this equation: 40 hours/week x 52 weeks/year = 2,080 hours/year. This equation shows that if you work the conventional 40-hour workweek, 52 weeks per year without breaks, you will work 2,080 hours per year. On average, only 60% of your working hours will be billable for clients, while roughly 40% of the time will be spent on administrative tasks such as client sourcing.

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Freelance rate factors

A wide range of factors can go into calculating your freelance hourly rate, such as industry needs, your experience level, your expenses, and a host of other variables. Our freelance rate calculator is designed to help you build a base rate that considers your estimated monthly expenses and your desired hours to work.

This tool is intended to help you calculate a minimum freelance hourly rate based on the information you provide. The estimation is meant to be an initial step in your journey to determining your rate. Your personal information will not be stored.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a freelance hourly rate?

Your freelance hourly rate is the amount of money you charge a client per hour based upon the agreement you reach with them. Our freelance hourly rate calculator can help you determine the best rate for you. 

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What other types of freelance pay arrangements exist?

Some independent professionals do project-based work and are paid a set amount to complete a project within a defined scope and deadline. In addition, some freelancers work on a monthly retainer. This is a fixed monthly fee a client pays based on an estimated amount of work for a project’s duration or a defined period of time. 

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Can I change my freelance hourly rate?

Absolutely. Hourly rates do not have to be set in stone. Freelancers can adjust their hourly rate at any time. In fact, as you can gain more experience and expand your skills, it may make good sense for your rate to go up. And remember: Our freelance rate calculator is intended to assist you in determining your base-level rate. 

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How much can freelancers make?

That depends on the individual freelancer. But according to our most recent Freelance Forward report, a majority (61%) of freelancers say they make as much as or more than they would working for a traditional employer.

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Which freelance roles pay the highest rates?

Generally speaking, freelancers with the most in-demand skills in the most in-demand specialties, such as programming and web development, can command the highest hourly rates. (Check out average hourly rates for a broad collection of jobs in a range of industries now!) 

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What is the outlook for the future of freelancing?

Very bright. Companies of all sizes in all industries across the globe are increasingly engaging independent talent for an ever-expanding array of needs. And a whopping 60 million Americans are now freelancing. More and more workers are pursuing freelancing, whether as a full-time business or side hustle, in search of greater flexibility, increased earning potential and the ability to work remotely.

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Is Upwork free to join as a freelancer?

Yes! It’s free to complete your profile and search for freelance opportunities on Upwork. Independent talent who join Upwork benefit from being on a well-known global marketplace for freelancers, which reduces the time, stress and hassle of sourcing clients, sending query letters, or pitching prospects cold. 

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So how does Upwork make money? 

Our service fee is based on a percentage of your earnings. Freelancers pay a 10% freelancer service fee on all earnings, including bonuses. This fee is charged on all contracts with a client — whether hourly, fixed-price, or a Project Catalog project. (There are a few exceptions, see here).

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Once I set my freelance hourly rate on the Upwork platform, how will I get paid?

That depends on the arrangement and schedule you work out with your individual clients. Some freelancers do fixed-price projects, while others work on an hourly contract basis. Upwork offers a simple and streamlined process for invoicing clients and tracking earnings, and offers many options for how you get paid, including direct deposit, PayPal, wire transfer and more. 

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The Freelance Rate Calculator is provided for informational purposes only. Freelance hourly rate estimations are intended to be an aid in determining your rate, but each individual should take the time necessary to consider all factors that influence their unique needs and situation. For additional information on getting started as a freelancer on Upwork, creating a profile and portfolio, and securing clients, check out our comprehensive guide.