Price yourself fairly and stick to your guns or you will end up working for free. Pricing strategy is a complicated thing but most people know what value they bring. It is based on
c) subject matter
A Java programmer with 10 years experience, coding in Java for all 10 years is more valuable than a Visual Basic developer with 2 years expertise who has done stints in ASP and Cold Fusion over those 2 years.
Experience has to do with overall length of time doing something, whereas expertise is the amount of time doing 1 thing.
I like to think of these 3 factors as an easy method to price your per hour cost which can be used as a benchmark to estimate project cost. It can be used as a starting point.
1. Give a maximum of $40/hr to each of the 3 elements.
a) experience = 40
b) expertise = 40
c) subject matter = 40
This equates to a maximum hourly fee of $120 per hour. If your industry charges more as a maximum (say $500/hr for lawyers) split the hourly into 3 equal chunks.
2. Rank yourself from 1 to 5 on each of the 3 levels:
In the case of $40/hr each level is worth 8 bucks per hour.
3. So if you gauge that you have all the experience in the world, but you don't have much expertise and very little subject matter experience you should no charge too much.
experience of 5 = $40
expertise of 2 = $16
subject matter of 1 = $8
You should in this case quote $64/hr out of a total maximum of $120/hr.
You may find this analytical approach will work for you more often than not, simply due to the fact that it is rooted in reality and does your client a favor. The reason is that if you are charging half of what the others are charging you are probably out of your league and should not be getting the project. On the other hand if you are above everyone, that does not necessarily mean you are out of the running. Stick by your per hour and you'll get it more often than not.