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From mobile app developers to virtual assistants, how much it costs to hire them depends on several factors. While freelancers determine their own rates and bids, here are some factors to consider when budgeting for your project.

1. What do you want done?

Your project scope determines the level of skills and potential budget needed. You can hire a virtual assistant (VA) for basic administrative support such as scheduling appointments. And you can hire a VA for more operational support such as creating business processes.

To understand your project scope, start by asking, “What do I want the result to look like?” If you’re building an app and want to estimate the cost to hire an iOS developer, a simple utility app may not require server-side integrations. But a messaging app changes the project scope as it will need back-end integration and database support.

PRO TIP: A clear project scope will help you write a job post that attracts top freelancers. It will also help freelancers submit more accurate proposals.

2. When do you need it?

Your timeframe also impacts the project scope—and possibly the pay rate. In some cases, a shorter turnaround time may increase the overall fee or hourly rate. Because the freelancer may need to work longer hours or push back other client deadlines to meet yours. If you’re working with fixed-priced (flat-rate) contracts, the timeframe may affect when you make milestone payments.

PRO TIP: On Upwork, many freelancers are hired within a day. But if you’re looking for more niche or in-demand skills, it may take longer to find the right talent, or for them to become available. If you have a lengthier vetting process that involves skills testing and such, be sure to account for that in your timeframe.

3. Where are you located?

The average pay rate for a CSS developer in New York City is higher than the same skilled developer in Kansas City. But understand that more expensive doesn’t always mean more skilled, because cost of living and competition greatly affect pay rates.

If the work can be done remotely, consider looking outside your locale for talent. Not only can that affect your budget, it can also increase the chances of finding the most ideal professional for your project.

PRO TIP: Some projects rely on real-time communication. Make sure your project team members’ productivity or other teams relying on them won’t be affected by time-zone differences.

4. How much experience does the freelancer need?

Much like when hiring an employee, more experience usually means a higher pay rate. However, if your freelancer doesn’t need to be local, you may end up paying less for more experience.

But don’t just judge experience by the number of years the talent has been doing the work. If you need a sales rep for inbound phone sales, someone with two years of experience will have different skillsets and may be more qualified than someone with 10 years of door-to-door sales history.

PRO TIP: When deciding on the experience level required, ask yourself: How important is the project? What’s the turnaround time? How technical is the work? What are the consequences of delays or errors? If you’re hiring a freelance writer, someone with more experience will usually complete the project with minimal editing by your staff. So you may pay a higher rate, but save time and money in the long run.

5. What skills do they need?

What technologies do they need to be familiar with, and at what level? What certifications or other specialties do they need? A data analyst who’s trying to segment your customer base is going to use very different tools than a data engineer who’s trying to build a streaming analytics platform that processes thousands of transactions a minute.

PRO TIP: The more in-demand the skills, or niche/uncommon the skills needed, the higher the potential cost. And the longer it may take to find them. Online marketplaces like Upwork make it easier and faster for you to find the right talent within budget.

Building your business with freelance help

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Check out Upwork’s Hiring Guides to get more information about how to find and hire the right freelancer for your project.