One of the most common questions from new Drupal developers in the forums is “What do I charge?”. There has been lots of discussion in the forums over the years, but Lullabot’s Liza Kindred decided to get some real data to present for her recent talk at DrupalCon San Francisco.
She says that, originally, Lullabot found its own price point purely through experimentation:
When I first came to Lullabot (about a month after Matt and Jeff founded the company), the company was swamped with work requests. Raising our rates was a great filtering mechanism for us. […] But it was a total guessing game. We basically raised our rates until we reached the point where we started meeting some pricing resistance.
To help end this guessing game for new firms, she surveyed 9 established, credible, full-time Drupal Shops, and found:
- Four of the companies had 6-10 employees, four had 11-15 and only one had over 15 staff, and all except one had been going longer than 3 years.
- Around $150-$185 an hour seems to be an average billing rate - but one firm was in the $275-300 bracket.
You can see Liza’s full slide presentation, including detailed slides on her findings on billing, here:
And what did she learn?
That we’re all over the place. Lullabot is a boutique shop - we charge a lot of money, we kick a lot of ass, and we give a ton back. Other shops work more with NGO’s and non-profits, and by necessity need to charge different rates. Some shops may want to compete on price, and thus would want to fall more to the commodity level end of pricing. There’s no right or wrong rates to charge. However, I believe that we should all know where we are on the pricing scale, so that we can plan and market ourselves accordingly.
You can find Liza’s original post here: http://www.lullabot.com/blog/show-me-money, and here’s the video of her full DrupalCon presentation, which is great: