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A - Z of a Successful Freelance IT Trainer: D is for Daily Rate

D is for Daily Rate

As a freelance IT trainer, the most frequent question I am asked is “What is a good daily rate to charge?”

Asking this question, is like asking me how long is a length of string, as it is meaningless, one man’s daily rate is anothers’ mickey take.

In real terms the question should be "How much do you think you are worth?"

There are numerous formulas that you can used to calculate the “ideal” daily rate that you want to charge.

The most common way to calculate your minimum daily rate is as follows:
  1. Work out the annual running costs of your life, including salary, household bills and holidays, then add a little bit extra for contingencies.
  2. Work out the realistic number of days per year you wish to work
  3. Divide point 1 by point 2 to calculate minimum daily rate.

So if your annual living cost is £35,000 and you decide to work 140 days per year:

Minimum daily rate: 35000/140 = £250

Unfortunately life is not so simple, there are a number of factors you will have to take on board:

Is the training assignment ad-hoc or a roll-out?

In general the ad-hoc stuff may generate a better rate of pay, but there will be less days compared to a roll out.

Is the training assignment from an training broker/booker/agency or a direct client?

If it is a direct client to a certain extent you can name your price, based on the service offering.

If the source of the training assignment is from a training broker, booker or agency, then the client will have an agreed price, of which the training broker, booker or agency will take their cut, and what is left is what you will be offered as your daily rate.

Logics dictate, that the lower the daily rate the freelance trainer agrees to, the more the middle man can make, and as such they will be inclined to go for a cheaper option.

Is the training assignment using a specialist or uncommon piece of software?

The more obscure and/or new the software is, the fewer trainers there are to deliver the course, ergo the daily rate can be more competitive.

When I am offered training assignments from training bookers, brokers and/or agencies, the first thing I ask is “What is the daily rate?”

I need to know this before I commit to any training assignment.

I was once asked by a another freelance IT trainer, "When you are asked what daily rate you charge, are you ever worried about not getting the training assignment?"

I answered “When I quote my daily rate, they will either accept it, negotiate or say no, 2 out of 3 are pretty good odds to me.”

I turn more training assignment down due to poor or low daily rates, than any other reason.

I am also coming across freelance IT trainers who are saying that they are being asked to deliver more complex stuff, with more stringent conditions for lower daily rates.

My advice is that if you are not happy with any aspect of the training assignment, whether it be the daily rate and/or the terms & conditions, and you cannot negotiate a better deal then walk away.

There are plenty of opportunities out there, the great thing about being a freelance trainer, is that you do not have to accept everything that is being offered to you.

You are only as good as your last training assignment, so why jeopardise that for a daily rate you are not happy with?

I would like to hear your comments, experience, opinions and thoughts about this subject, please drop me a line or two below:


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