The 7 Reasons Why WordPress Developers Are Paid Peanuts

Recently I read some research by WP Engine into the hourly rates charged by WordPress freelancers across the United States. I was struck by how little people seem to be earning. It made me wonder whether WordPress freelancers really are earning too little and if so, why.

In this post, I’ll try and get behind some of these figures and identify what might be the reasons for WordPress freelancers having lower earning expectations than other freelance professionals.

I’ll also look at some more complex underlying trends behind these figures, showing that there’s a wide spread of freelancers with hugely varying skillsets charging very different rates.

Finally, I’ll give some tips on how you can decide how much you need to earn and set a rate to charge clients accordingly.

How much do you charge for projects? What is your hourly rate? Scroll down to see what I charge and share your own rates in the comments below.

How Much Are WordPress Freelancers Really Charging?

It’s actually incredibly hard to get a reliable answer to this question. While the research by WPEngine is useful and analyzes hourly rates in a number of ways, this only covers the US and got all of its data from one jobs listing website.

So it’s clear that there will be plenty of freelancers out there who aren’t getting their work via job listing sites, who aren’t in the US, or who are using different sites to find work.

Many of the big sites advertising freelance opportunities list most of their jobs without rates included, either hourly or per contract. On WPHired, for example, I could only find a small number of jobs which had anything at all relating to rates.

There are very few surveys or pieces of research highlighting what WordPress freelancers are earning, and understandably it’s something people don’t generally feel comfortable with.

However, my experience of talking with WordPress freelancers at WordCamps and other events indicates that pricing levels are generally quite low when compared with other web development specialisms.

But let’s take a look at some of the evidence.

Evidence for WordPress Freelance Rates

According to WP Engine’s research, 60% of WordPress freelance jobs are paying less than $30 per hour. That may sound like a lot of money to anyone who’s on a salary, but once you factor in the hidden costs of working freelance (buying your own equipment, paying for insurance, premises etc., not to mention taxes), it’s not very much.

And the average figure quoted, while varying between states, ranges from $22.24 to $35.47. A rough approximation of the overall average based on this (bearing in mind that this is very dodgy Math!) shows an overall average across the US of just over $29.

Resrach on freelance jobs rates of pay for WPEngine
Research from job boards shows that 60% of WordPress freelance jobs in the US are paying less than $30 per hour.

In addition to this research, another source of data is other jobs boards. As I’ve already mentioned, many of them don’t quote rates of pay, but those that do include some very low paying jobs, such as one I found on Upwork paying just $100 for someone to design and build an e-commerce site!

There are other jobs listed that are offering a better rate of pay, but generally the hourly rate works out at something like $25 to $40 based on a rough estimate of how long some of the jobs might take.

As well as this, there is some data relating to how much people actually offer WordPress services at. The People Per Hour website lists WordPress developers and quotes their hourly rate.

people per hour - freelancer listings
The People per Hour site shows higher rates than many jobs boards

Based on a quick analysis of the twenty WordPress freelancers listed first on the site, the average hourly rate is approximately $36, with rates ranging from $20 to $60

This is higher than the rates I’ve seen on jobs boards, which indicates freelancers posting their details to sites and inviting clients to come to them might charge more than they could expect to get by answering an advert on a freelance jobs board.

So overall it looks like WordPress freelancers are earning an average of between $25 and $36, with the majority of job postings towards the lower end of that scale.

Of course this doesn’t include the rates charged by those freelancers who get all their work by word of mouth, which you could reasonably expect to be higher.

There are jobs paying higher or lower rates, with a range of approximately $15 to $60 per hour from my research of freelance listing sites. Assuming that a full-time freelancer will work approximately 1500 chargeable hours per year (which is generous – I’ll look at calculating billable hours later in this post), pay 25% of their income in taxes and have costs of approximately $10,000 per year, this equates to an income of between approximately $15,750 and $69,000, with an average of $33,000.

Not much for a skilled profession when you consider the average salary for high school graduates according to the 2005 US census (10 years ago!) was $31,539.

Why Are Rates so Low?

From my own experience as well as talking to other freelancers and researching this issue online, it seems that there are a number of reasons why WordPress freelancers aren’t earning as much as they might be. Some of these relate to habits and practices of the freelancers themselves while others relate to the nature of WordPress and the types of freelancer and client it attracts.

These are:

  • The fact that WordPress is free.
  • The difference between WordPress implementation work and WordPress development work and the skills needed for each.
  • The “race to the bottom” for rates driven by some job boards.
  • The fact that the value of freelance WordPress skills and the value added to the client is rarely considered when calculating rates.
  • Pricing models used by freelancers.
  • Underestimating the rates needed to earn a healthy income.
  • A lack of transparency with regard to what WordPress freelancers (as well as WordPress and web professionals in general) earn.

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

Problem 1: WordPress is Free

WordPress, as we all know, is free and open source. But as anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time working with it will know, this doesn’t mean that is doesn’t have huge value. As the world’s leading CMS and a platform that drives millions of websites earning their owners billions of dollars each year, WordPress itself, and the skills of WordPress professionals, has huge value.

WordPress.org home page
According to its website, ‘WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time’.

But clients don’t always see it like this. As far as many of them are concerned, they can get WordPress itself, plus a bunch of great plugins and themes, for free, so why should they pay very much for a freelancer to create a theme or plugin for them or customize one they’ve downloaded for free?

This mindset can result in clients only being prepared to pay very low rates, often for small, bitty projects that don’t foster a high quality ongoing relationship between the client and the freelancer.

I’ve frequently turned down potential clients who believed that they should be able to hire me for free or close to free because I was working with free software.

Problem 2: WordPress Implementation is not the Same as WordPress Development

WordPress freelancers will include a variety of people with a huge range of skills and experience. Some of us are coders while others are designers, content creators or marketing experts. Not everyone will have a skill set that is very much more than that of an enthusiastic amateur.

Anyone can set themselves up as a WordPress freelancer: if you know your way around the WordPress interface and can work with one of the big WordPress theme frameworks to create custom sites, you can offer services to clients, creating sites and labelling yourself as a WordPress developer in the absence of any other suitable job title. Writing for EngageWP, Ren Ventura terms this group “WordPress Implementers.” But this isn’t WordPress development.

A WordPress developer is someone who can create bespoke themes or plugins from scratch, understands enough about the WordPress codebase to write plugins to modify the functionality of a site, and can manage development and hosting setups. Nathan Weller has proposed that some sort of independent validation system could be set up to accredit WordPress developers so that clients know what they’re getting.

This doesn’t detract from the value that implementers can have and the usefulness of their service, but it does enable more advanced developers to differentiate themselves.

There’s a chance that a large proportion of WordPress freelancers fall into the implementer camp: after all, the barriers to entry are low and the potential client base is huge. However, WordPress implementation is something any reasonable web-savvy client could do themselves: if you’re being hired to do this it’s probably because it’s more efficient for them to use your time rather than their own, rather than them hiring specialist skills.

Which is why freelancers offering these services won’t be able to command particularly high rates.

Problem 3: Jobs Boards Push Rates Down

Where rates are listed on jobs boards, they tend to be low. Those boards that offer high quality projects that presumably charge higher rates don’t tend to list rates, but instead open them to negotiation or ask the freelancer what his or her rate is instead.

Upwork website - WordPress jobs
Job boards like Upwork often have lower paid jobs than those you might find yourself.

This can mean one of two things. Either:

  1. There are more and more freelance jobs being created and listed with ever decreasing rates of pay, or
  2. There are actually plenty of well-paying jobs out there, but unless you directly apply for one you won’t know what it pays.

Or maybe both!

Either way, this will affect the data available on freelance rates and influence freelancers’ expectations of what they can get away with charging, which will have a downwards influence on rates of pay.

Problem 4: We (And the Client) Don’t Always Value What We’re Selling

When I started out as a WordPress freelancer, I made the mistake of trying to compete on price.

I worked mainly with micro businesses and assumed that they would have low budgets and not be prepared to pay very much. I also assumed (and still do) that they’d prefer to pay a rate for the job than an hourly rate, as it made it easier for them to anticipate costs.

I, therefore, started by offering a basic business website with some static pages, a blog, and a bespoke design, at £200 (approximately $300). Including meetings with clients, project management, design and custom theme development, each site build took me approximately 15 hours, which meant that I was earning $20 per hour.

Factor in business costs and the fact that I wasn’t yet doing chargeable work for more than about 15 hours a week and this equated to an income of around $7000! Not enough to pay the bills, let alone support a family.

The mistake I made was in not valuing the services I was selling. Instead of selling a solution to clients, I was selling them a product – a website.

For clients, that website should have been fundamental to their business and marketing strategy. It would have helped them attract business, sell products and much more. I wasn’t factoring in the value I was giving those clients’ businesses by letting them use my services.

I’ve since learned from that experience and while I still charge a rate for the job, I almost never take on a new project with a budget of less than $15000 and charge a significantly higher hourly rate.

Keith Devon has learned that the value of your work is important.
Keith Devon has learned that the value of your work is important.

I’ve learned that to be a successful freelancer you need to get to know your clients’ businesses and sell more than just your code: you’re selling a solution and the benefit of your expertise and experience.

UK-based Keith Devon is an experienced freelancer who has learned the importance of adding value:

“Rates should be a combination of your own lifestyle costs, market rates and value. If market rates are low, and you’re not adding tangible value for your clients, then you’ll find that very difficult. But if you can provide value, you don’t need to worry about market rates as much.”

If WordPress freelancers make the mistake of thinking that because they’re working with a free platform then their work can’t be worth much, then they might fall into this trap too.

It’s all about having confidence in what you’re contributing to a project (as well as the confidence to say no to jobs that pay badly).

Problem 5: Pricing Models Can Confuse

Ask two WordPress freelancers this question and you’ll get two opinions (or maybe more): should you charge by the hour or for the job?

Each has its benefits:

  • Charging by the hour gives you more security as if the project takes longer than anticipated, you won’t lose out.
  • Charging for the job gives your client more clarity as they know exactly what they’ll be paying.

I prefer to charge for the job (and I’m not alone), but I do this based on a thorough analysis of a project brief and the time involved, a multiplication of my expected hourly rate by that time, and the addition of a contingency. You can only do this if you make sure you know exactly what you’re taking on at the beginning of each project, and make this crystal clear with your client.

Charging by the hour works well for many freelancers, and is the most common model for freelancers doing contract work for agencies. It may not work so well for you if you’re a very fast worker, which is why when I’ve employed freelancers myself I’ve paid an hourly rate that varies according to an individual’s skills and efficiency.

The main pitfall of charging for the job results from underestimating the time involved. It’s human nature to think we can get things done quicker than we actually can, and if you aren’t 100% familiar with your own working style and pace, then accepting jobs that don’t pay hourly can result in the hourly rate being pushed down.

Problem 6: Freelancers Underestimate What they Need to Earn

When you make the transition from salaried work to freelancing, it’s tempting to think that your hourly rate shouldn’t need to change too much: after all, if you’re working the same hours then you need to earn the same, right?

Wrong. Freelancers never spend 100% of their time on billable work and need to factor in costs, taxes and time off for holiday or sickness. Costs can include insurance, equipment and the day to day costs of running a business, and the amount of time off that you need will include time for conferences (including WordCamps!) and training: things that you were paid to do when you were in employment.

I’m not going to give you a detailed formula here for working out what you need to charge, but you should start with the salary you need to earn per year, deduct realistic expenses and taxes from that, divide it by the number of chargeable hours you can expect to do (not the number you’d like to do), and get your hourly rate from that.

It’s safe to assume you’ll have one day a week which is non-chargeable: many freelancers, myself included, set one day aside for admin work and self-development. There a few online tools you can use to calculate your best hourly rate: try yourrate for a very simple calculator or beewits for a more detailed tool.

beewits hourly rate calculator
Use the beewits freelance hourly rate calculator to work out your rate.

 

My Hourly Rate

Personally, I work reduced hours around the demands of a young family, so I need to charge a much higher hourly rate than I earned when I was in employment.

My hourly rate isn’t always the same (as I charge per job and will charge accordingly for more highly skilled work) but varies between $75 and $125 per hour.

Given that I work only 20 chargeable hours each week and take the whole of August off for school holidays, this doesn’t add up to as much as it sounds, but is what I need to make a decent living.

Problem 7: Lack of Transparency and Sharing What You Earn

Seeing my own hourly rate in black and white in the previous paragraph gave me quite an uncomfortable feeling, and it’s not something most freelancers are prepared to share in such a public way.

But one of the reasons why rates for WordPress work tend to be low is because of a lack of transparency: we simply don’t know what our colleagues (or competitors) charge.

This is particularly the case when it comes to understanding what’s earned by experienced, in demand freelancers who get their work via word of mouth. It’s safe to assume these people (I count myself among them) earn more than the average rate, but given that all of the available hard data is from jobs boards aimed at the lower end of the spectrum, then that will give a skewed impression of what WordPress freelancers can actually expect to be paid.

I’m not saying that you can earn rates of $100 per hour when you’re starting out (I’ve been running my agency for over five years, writing about WordPress for as long as that and have written four WordPress books, so that influences what I can charge). But knowing that there are people out there who are making a very comfortable living from WordPress might give freelancers more confidence when it comes to negotiating rates with clients or refusing work that’s very low paid.

If new freelancers are only aware of the jobs that are paying $10 to $20 per hour, then that is what they’ll aim for, and they won’t attempt to charge more.

As you develop your skills, expertise and experience with WordPress your hourly rate should increase year on year, and you should ultimately be aiming to earn many times more per hour after a few years than you do when starting out.

Conclusion

It’s not easy to work out exactly how much WordPress freelancers are earning across specialisms, varying levels of experience, and different locations.

However, the data that is available suggests that hourly rates are low, and mean that a WordPress freelancer can expect to earn less than the average high school graduate. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to take on the risk of working freelance if I knew I couldn’t earn more than that!

There are freelancers out there being paid higher rates, but the data is harder to find as those jobs tend not to be advertised on the jobs boards, or if they are, rates aren’t shown.

Only you can work out how much you can command for your skills as a WordPress freelancer: this will vary according to where you live, your skills and experience, and your personal circumstances.

But if you take the time to work out the realistic rate you need to charge and give yourself permission to only take on work that charges at least that rate, then you won’t be earning less than your skills are worth.

How much do you charge for projects? What is your hourly rate? Scroll down to see what I charge and share your own rates in the comments below.

29 Responses

    • DEV MAN

      Hey jcnr ..

      Implementing the *hack* out of WordPress is good for 90% of todays projects !

      Ha ha .. this reminded me of how I started too off around 5 years ago too. I was at best a implementer/ webmaster then but sold myself as a WordPress developer to clients.

      Today after knowing the difference I say WordPress is like a enchanting pool, shallow enough for toddlers to play in and yet it can be deep enough to drown an elephant.

      I think thats partly why rates are so low too ..

  • Raj
    WPMU DEV Initiate

    Maybe the reason WordPress developers are underpaid is due to the creation of effective Page Builders.

    Divi by Elegant Themes for example allows most small businesses owners to create that they like in a DIY way. These builders now even have effective support, plugins of their own, and groups you can ask for advice, inspiration & free help.

    The E commerce site you mentioned can be created by a small business owner for $70 approx with such builders. Most sites will look reasonable after tweaking from support chats, pre made layouts, and reading support articles.

  • DEV MAN

    Again Raj .. it depends on which side of the spectrum you are targeting. A serious online store would not bother with the time and efforts needed to tweak layouts, support chats etc .. Time is money and they would rather focus on the core business ( better catalog, better prices, delivery etc ). If a client is willing to go the extremes to do all this .. thats a red flag right there on the project budget for me.

  • WPMU DEV Initiate

    I would put myself in the “super-implementor” class; I can (and do) create plugins and custom functions for themes; But, I usually start from a particular framework/highly customizable theme and work from there. I also work primarily in the non-profit arena, and therefore do try to reign in my earning expectations. I also target multi-lingual sites, since many of my projects require not only english, but spanish & french — and at times I work with polish, italian and portuguese sites.

    That said, my general guide is to charge about $50-$60/hr, but as often as I can I charge by the job. Even if that is primarily implementation, I can get a lot more done in a shorter time frame that anyone on the staff with these groups; I bring to the table general web knowledge (SEO, interaction with Social Media, performance — things they don’t even know they need); I think I probably undercharge, which in my particular situation is OK… I’m not really having to make a living at this anymore.

    You do have a point with discerning a difference between developers and implementors. But, there are those of us who are somewhere in between.

  • New Recruit

    I would say there are a couple other factors involved. I’m guessing a number of these “freelancers” are people who are unemployed and are willing to work for peanuts because something is better than nothing. I’d also add that I do freelance work and I never have to go to job boards to hunt for clients because my previous clients refer people to me. This leads me to believe that people on job boards are either A.) Beginners or B.) Developers who do such poor work that none of their clients give them referrals or repeat business.

  • Bob
    WPMU DEV Initiate

    Many of the jobs posted on job boards are flat out unrealistic. A job that should be $5,000 is $500. Any freelancer that has any experience will know to avoid those kind of jobs, and many who do take those jobs end up abandoning the project, or finishing it poorly.

    I’ve had a few recent experiences where clients either tried to hire the work done cheaply or sought me out because their developer was expensive and unresponsive. I hear many stories about clients that can’t even get a call back from a developer. One client told me they had to drop their development team because they were charging $160/hour (of course that was an agency not a freelancer).

  • New Recruit

    I started freelancing as a WordPress developer 8 years ago charging $30 an hour. Four years ago hit $90 an hour, and two years ago I topped out charging $120 an hour. I managed to work entirely on referral for almost 5 years, and I’ve never released a discrete product, plugin, or theme. I just ended that phase of freelancing with a full-time remote development job that pays more than I made on my best freelance income year. Here’s what I’ve learned:

    Freelancers underestimate their hourly requirements and overestimate their working hours. It’s unsustainable to work more than 30 billable hours per week and also have a life/see your family/keep your business in order. 20 is better. Plan accordingly.

    Overbilling is chronic. While many, many developers advertise hourly rates below $40 an hour to stay attractive and competitive, it’s incredibly common for those same people to have task-minimums, charging a half or a whole hour for every little task, and for padding hourly invoices, multiplying hours from 1.5 time to 3 times or more. Therefore, a lot of people have effective rates approximately twice their advertised rates.

    WordPress developers tend to not be specialists. While this is changing a little, the majority of advertising WordPress designers/developers are really people who do Something Else who *also* do WordPress. In the same way that most office workers are also skilled in Microsoft Office on paper, most computer nerds also have WordPress as a peripheral skill, since for most nerds it’s easy to reach a super-implementer skill level with negligible effort, and if you combine that with some decent google-fu, that’s honestly enough for the majority of freelance WordPress jobs.

    WordPress freelancers are inexperienced. From what I’ve seen over the years, the average WordPress freelancer has 2 or 3 years of experience. Part of it has to do with the age of WordPress, part of it has to do with the fact that most freelancers aren’t interested in freelancing long-term.

  • New Recruit

    Been doing freelance now for quite a few years. I mostly develop in WP. In the states, the economy is still problematic for the start-ups. I hear from many current clients and potential clients their former developer can no longer be reached, they did the design but can’t do the requested functionality, they took a real job, and it goes on like that.

    I do believe that most “developers and web designers” are amateurs, and are happy with retaining the $100 Ecommerce client that posts on job boards. The other realm of the Low Rent Client is derived from companies outside the US that thrive on low margins with bulk sales…the deep discounters of the industry.

    I’m not the cheapest kid on the block, and I’m far from the most expensive. All templates are designed custom. We simply don’t use store-bought.
    WP w/out Ecommerce starts at $1995.00. When licensed modules are needed the price goes up accordingly. Any solution involving Ecommerce starts at $2500 and is increased according to the many variables that encompass an Ecommerce solution. For clients within our network (running on one of our servers) we charge $95 hourly. If they’re outside our server environment, we charge $120/hour.

    Still in search of the old client that happily finds a bargain at $15,000!

  • New Recruit

    I’m not sure why the had to be an entire article filled with smoke that never actually addresses the true cause. Costs are down because many companies are willing to outsource work to different countries who have a different economy. The difference in economy in “India” for example let’s a developer charge very little for their work. With that option present, it reduces the price of what a developer in any country can ask to receive because they must be competitive. It’s not something that only exists in WordPress, but rather freelancing all together. It’s seems a bigger problem in WordPress, but that’s only because of it’s popularity.

    • New Recruit

      Yeah, but this is a feature, not a bug. Indian (or eastern european, or south america, or south african) discount developers have been an issue for my entire career, and to my surprise, they haven’t gotten any better than they were 8 years ago. On the whole, they haven’t improved the quality of their coding (it’s crap, you’re getting what you pay for) and they haven’t improved their client communication (by putting people who are fluent in American/UK English in client-facing positions who respond to anything in a timely manner).

      This means that there is an endless supply of broken WordPress websites owned by people who will pay real money to fix them. If you can get good enough to debug a broken WordPress theme, plugin or install, and you can be responsive and work quickly and write clear emails, you can charge rates way above average. More money, less work, and pathetically grateful clients who will bring you loads of followup work.

      You now have my entire business plan! That’s my entire secret!

      • Chief Pigeon

        Not sure I agree with those generalised sweeping statements there. In my career, especially here at WPMU DEV where I’ve assessed applicants and hired a ton of people for trials, I’ve seen enough crap come out of developers in America, Canada, and all parts of Europe. Some of them tried to charge top dollar too!

        You basically just said that people from those countries and regions of the world are crap at coding and communicating, almost insinuating it’s in their geographical DNA and prevents them from providing quality. To be frank, that’s rather insulting.

        The fact is, regardless of where you are from, there are always people who will try to take your money and then provide you with little to nothing in return. Some people are inherently selfish that way, that isn’t based on someone’s geographical location, or their economy, it’s something that sadly exists in humanity.

        • New Recruit

          Not at all. I’m not generalizing to all developers in those countries, just the large wholesaling discount shops. I honestly thought they would up their game by now and justify the downward pressure they put on WP dev prices around the world, but they haven’t. They collectively continue to pump out an enormous quantity of sub-par work, and provide a major market opportunity for the rest of us.

          • Chief Pigeon

            I referred to this statement “Indian (or eastern european, or south america, or south african) discount developers have been an issue for my entire career, and to my surprise, they haven’t gotten any better than they were 8 years ago.”.

            That does feel to me like a one shoe fits all statement.

            When I freelanced I came across just a many jobs, sometimes more where that subpar work was from the US and EU.

      • New Recruit

        While I can say I agree it helps to put people who can communicate and do quality work in demand, I also have to stress the actual point a little more, which is regardless of whether it makes an individual look more valuable, it still drives down the market.

        For example, you hire a guy that does sub-par work for 6-20 and hour. You think to yourself, I’d pay more for quality. But when you think of “more”, you are starting off in terms of 6-20 dollars an hour. It sets a standard where you might be thinking I’d pay double for a decent developer. So what then, 12 dollars an hour? Maybe 40? That’s my point.

        Having a good client based already built up that pays well is awesome. But for the rest of the people who are working at getting there, the pain is real.

        • New Recruit

          True. And a good point. The way around that is, believe it or not, raising your rates, programming where you can’t be seen, and being good.

          The logic goes like this: when you’re good, you’re also fast. Fast means efficient, which means you should charge a premium for your work. My rule of thumb was always that if I couldn’t fix it in an hour, it’s a disaster. Most of the time, looking at a bug will tell you if it’s an easy fix, or a disaster, and you negotiate accordingly.

          So, ok, you tell the client it’ll take you an hour or so, and your rate is, say, $90/hr. Dupe the site and work locally, or work after business hours on the live site so the client can’t see what you’re doing. Then you can get to work. One of three things will happen:

          1. You’ll finish within the allotted time, and that’s awesome.
          2. It’ll take longer than you thought it would. Even if it takes you twice as long as you thought it would, you’re still working at $45/hr, and that’s sustainable. You’ve learned a thing, and the client doesn’t know how long it really took you since you’re either working locally or after business hours.
          3. You can’t fix it easily. After two hours, you’ve discovered that the system is completely borked and you need to declare war. Take the time to figure out the *real* problem, and be prepared to describe how horrible it is to your non-geek client, and how it was hiding behind the mundane problem you thought you were fixing. Then renegotiate your estimate with the client and include the time you’ve already spent in the new number. Their choice is, basically, pay you to fix it, or build again from scratch. They say yes, and you go fix the hell out of their problem. And if you REALLY want to blow their minds, you overestimate the cost slightly and come in under budget. Do this, and this client will bring every stupid problem they can find to you for years to come.

  • Flash Drive

    The commodification of our skills (India, MOOCs), and the innovation/automation that makes them unnecessary (Divi, Squarespace) will likely do the same thing to our industry that it did to manufacturing in the US and Australia – it’ll get decimated, then people move on to do lower value things (like service, tourism, etc.) And, because it’s lesser value, lifestyle declines (or debt surges).

    That’s a bummer, but at least in our industry we can still move up the food chain. Become a developer, SAAS provider, manager of Odesk/upwork talent, or small business owner. There are threats to all of those, but we have more options than an auto worker at least.

    I don’t compete on price. I bring an engineer’s mindset and skillset to WordPress implementations. That means I write specs, I write clean, organized code, I test things, I comply with standards, I back up, I document, and I version control. Among other things. Problem is, most clients don’t see the value in any of that. Up to us to educate, sure.

    I won’t get out of bed for less than $1600 for a plain site and $3500 and up for an e-commerce site. I don’t charge my clients by the hour since they have no idea how long something will take. I aim for $65/hr of my time (in Australia), though with professional development activities that I undertake DURING projects, I really have no idea how long any given project takes me.

  • New Recruit

    Good Post. It’s true that wordpress developers are not paid much. The reasons for this is WordPress itself and by some mean WordPress developers too. WordPress is free and is very easy to understand for any person once learned. Also WordPress Developers have published hundreds of thousands of paid and free multipurpose WordPress theme which can be used for any project. So there is very small custom tasks available for most WordPress Developer who fights to get them with lower and lower prices.

    • New Recruit

      “WordPress is free and is very easy to understand for any person once learned.”

      I think you are looking at it from the wrong perspective Kaushal. You are looking at it as an experienced WP dev not your average business owner. Just because it’s free and technically minded people might find it easy to learn, I don’t think most business owners would. You would just end up with many poorly designed websites and more business opportunities for actual WP devs. I have just gotten into WordPress and theme dev and I find it fairly easy but I am also a tech guy / skilled C.N.C. Machinist, in other words not typical.
      To say it’s easy for everyone is selling your skills short IMO. No matter how easy they make WP your average non-techie person will never understand how to build a good website.

        • New Recruit

          I think there is a lot more to it than just install theme and go. Hell just the WP-Admin back-end would be daunting to a non-techie. Big difference between someone making a blog about their cat using 2015 and a business owner setting up an e-commerce or portfolio site.

          Many people that have a good understanding of something make the mistake of thinking everyone else can do it as well.

          My mom has been using a computer for 7 years and still has a hard time figuring out what info is on her computer and what info comes from the internet. She is a non-techie. :)

  • New Recruit

    I know this is an old discussion but from a client’s perspective. It’s a hit or miss with most developers on job boards and like someone stated, you run into just as many pretend developers charging higher rates in the U.S. as you do the low-rent’ dev’s in India, Asia, etc… I am a certified mcp, tech and network administrator. And that dashboard can still be a little daunting. Mostly in the time spent to understand the functionality and uses of a particular feature or, God forbid, you want to customize a section… It’s taken me two days to customized the header height in theme chosen by my developer for my website and app needs… You have to still take time out to watch tutorials and research the theme.

    So, like some said, it can be too time confusing for small biz owners whose focus should be on the biz content, product and marketing needs.

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