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How to charge an hourly rate
Thread poster: Mike Goeden

Mike Goeden
Local time: 18:43
French to English
Oct 3, 2005

Hello everyone,

I have a couple questions regarding the process of charging by the hour - the only information I've been able to find in the other threads concerns the amount charged.

If an assignment is to be charged by the hour, is a rough estimate given upon receipt of the document, video, etc? Is it more common to charge in fifteen-minute, half-hour, or whole-hour increments?

Thanks in advance.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:43
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
You know it afterwards Oct 3, 2005

First you agree on a rate (x/h). Then you do the job, look at your watch and count the hours spent. Then you know the amount to charge your customer.

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Mike Goeden
Local time: 18:43
French to English
Is it that simple? Oct 3, 2005

Is it that simple? Excellent!

Thanks Heinrich

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:43
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Sometimes the client tells you Oct 3, 2005

Mike Goeden wrote:
If an assignment is to be charged by the hour, is a rough estimate given upon receipt of the document, video, etc?

If you know yourself very well, you can estimate, but sometimes the client says "We think this is a two-hour job, do you accept our estimate?" and then it's basically a fixed rate even if it takes you five hours.

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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:43
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Estimate Oct 3, 2005

Nevertheless, the client (especially if they haven't worked with you before) may require an estimate before they can decide whether to authorize you to start the job.

It is easy to generate an estimate by doing a short sample, say 10 or 15 minutes of work. Count how many words/pages/minutes you were able to do in that time. Skim the rest of the document or video (make sure to check some sections from the middle and all the way to the end) to ensure that your sample was representative. If it was not, adjust your estimate accordingly. Then use your sample results to estimate how long the whole job will take. Don't forget to allow time to give the whole thing a final check.

Make it clear to the client that the estimate is subject to change. However, they may feel insecure at authorizing a job that doesn't have a fixed price limit. (Who wouldn't?) What you can guarantee at this point is a definite maximum. After going through the estimation process, you should have enough information to set a maximum that is a little higher than you expect the final price to be, leaving a margin for unexpected contingencies. Then you can inform the client that "the maximum charge is X, but it will probably be less." This way, you have left yourself some leeway to go up to the maximum in case it turns out to be necessary.

[Edited at 2005-10-03 21:20]

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