What is the minimum amount of time I should charge as a Freelance Web Developer?

Your clients are calling you, emailing you, sending in small requests…

Can you change this? Can you change that?

Sometimes the changes are so small, barely 5 minutes that you feel guilty for charging your “valuable” clients.

Well you shouldn’t feel guilty! You are in business and you are selling your time and your clients are likely consuming your time with small requests if you don’t have a minimum amount of time to charge them.

So yes, yes you should be charging a minimum amount of time for almost all client engagement.  Make your clients aware, ideally up front and in your contract of what that minimum is, so that there aren’t surprises when they receive their invoices.

Always consider the amount of time it takes to read their emails, answer their calls, discuss / consider their request, find the place to make the changes, test the changes in multiple browsers, publish the changes and then respond or get back to the client, as well as tracking the time spent and creating and sending the invoice.  All in all, even though the actually technical change may take a few minutes, by the time you’ve done everything else, it could easily be an hour of your time that has gone by if not more.

If you don’t have a support contract or monthly retainer, I recommend that your minimum amount of time to charge is one hour.  Your client also knows your hourly rate, so they know the minimum charge to expect when they engage you.  This will help make the client think about what they are going to request, before they request it and consume your time.

Often in work places, I’ve found the human interaction takes many orders of magnitude longer discussing a change that is required than the actual change itself.  So track all that additional time and charge your client appropriately.

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