What rates to charge for development


Jul 25, 2010

I have been in the software and web development field for about 12 years now, but as an employee. In Feb I will be going on my own and finally become my own boss.

What I'd like to get some opinions on is what hourly rate that I should be charging. I have been offered a contract for 80 hours per month on a one year contract by what is effectively my first client. I need to give them an hourly rate, but I am not sure what I should be charging them. They are looking for custom web application and desktop application development using whatever technologies I recommend.

Other than experience, I do also have a B.Com degree in Information Systems, and can code in PHP, Clarion, VB, and a few others like Javascript.

I don't want to rip them off, but I also don't want to do myself in as I have the skills, and the experience. I am based in KZN, and is my client.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


Well-Known Member
Jul 3, 2007
I believe these are the questions you should have had answered in your business plan before striking it out on your own. I suggest you sit down carefully of other things that you may have left out as you may charge your client the wrong amount. the rate you may seek depends on development to be done and on what platform and if its a once off application to be done ie is there a revenue stream thereafter when its up and running? Are you going to charge a license fee yr/2 yrs/etc or its once off? some guys I know here in Joburg charge R200-350/hr for things like integrations into erp systems or customising systems

my 2c


Expert Member
Apr 22, 2005
Its a tough one... I have charged rate from 150-1200p/h is my time depending on client need, my availably and niche market. As a General programming rate I would hit the R500 mark Since it is your first client and this is what software consultants charge(not coders) for support. If you gonna be a semi employee Ie. Part time guy on contract the your rate is gonna be lower.

It also depends if you are selling some thing to the company that you can re-market and what is the support contract it gonna look like , are you gonna have to train a staff member to look after it ?

You have to factor in things like hardware, office space, cellphone, Bandwidth(in this country)
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Executive Member
Apr 8, 2009
Like any other business, you have to know who the competition is.
Once you know who they are, then you can determine their pricing and product features.
Then you can determine the price your customers may be willing to pay you, if your product offering has the same features as the competition.
If your product has less features then you will probably have to charge less.

Perhaps you should seriously consider doing some business courses before breaking out on your own.


Expert Member
Jul 23, 2007
Hmm, perhaps think of it like this. How much would you like to be earning a month? So take that amount and divide it by the number of hours you are going to work (80 hours in this case) and you get what your hourly rate should be.


Senior Member
Mar 26, 2005
Well first of all good luck. Ive been on my own for 12 years now and let me tell you that EVERY CLIENT's needs are different therefore the rates are different. I have a basic rate that goes up or down depending on client or specifications / requirements. The best way to start is to establish what you are worth and how much you want to earn at the end of the month - be reasonable. Take all your expenses and make sure that you are covered - thereafter everything else is profit. Remember that although you have all the knowledge according to clients your business is NEW, so basically its almost like you starting fresh. Just be good to clients and THEY WILL COME BACK. - ONE MORE THING - always know more than the client.... I heard a web designer once embarrass himself in front of a client because he didnt know what FLASH was. Keep Up To Date with EVERYTHING.