We developed Day Rate Calculator to help professionals like you to quickly and easily calculate a day rate for the services you provide.
The Day Rate Calculator was originally created for commercial drone operators (just because that's our primary business over at Dronedesk). But we hope it'll be equally useful to freelancers, software developers, photographers, videographers, plumbers, plasterers, electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, roofers, gardeners, landscapers, painters, decorators, tilers, surveyors and any other professional trade or service provider who typically charges for their expertise by the day.
If you've just taken the plunge into self-employment after working for "the man" in a permanent salaried job for years, congratulations! So, now you're going to be working on a day rate basis for the first time and you may be scratching your head about how to calculate the right day rate to charge your clients? Don't worry, you're not alone and you've come to the right place.
There are several approaches and a number of factors to consider before deciding which is the best day rate calculation method for your particular circumstances. Our day rate calculators will provide break-even day rate numbers from which you can start to build your day rate. It's important to remember that the day rate calculators we provide here are just the starting point.
You'll need to add to the recommended day rate by thinking carefully about the profit margin you want to realise, the value of your offering; the uniqueness, experience, expertise and your knowledge are all high value things that you can justifiably charge a premium for, as well as the scarecity of the service you're charging your clients for.
What you should definitely not do is find out what your competitors are charging and simply say, "I'll charge 80% of what they're charging". Not only will you devalue your own offering but you'll potentially just be contributing to a race to the bottom which could ultimately damage your industry.
The very simplest day rate calculation method is to use a rule of thumb along the lines of:
([Your previous salary] * 1.3) / 228
Well, assuming you'll want to maintain your previous standard of living, it makes sense to use your previous salary as a starting point. The * 1.3 is to uplift your salary by 30% to account for the benefits you'll likely have lost by going self-employed; sick pay, pension etc. And then finally, 228 is the approximate number of days you'll be available to work in a year (that's 365 minus 104 weekend days, 8 public holidays, 5 weeks holiday). This is the basis of how our Simple Day Rate Calculator works.
But you'll probably want to make adjustments to these day rate calculation assumptions based on your own circumstances and/or service. For example, if you only intend to work 3 days per week or if you're commercial drone operator, for example, you're unlikely to be able to work on days when it's raining (so that's another 130 days down in the UK!). That's where our Full Day Rate Calculator comes in.
Your day rate has to cover all your business overheads including any capital investment in equipment etc. before producing enough income to cover holidays, periods of sickness, a pension etc. You'll also need to charge a day rate which will cover your personal living costs. There are other things to consider too; if your profession involves a lot of non-site work (e.g. post-production for photographers) then perhaps three full days a week is about the maximum you could be available for "visible" work at your client's site. Plus of course, there's additional time needed for all the other aspects of running a business including marketing, social media, quoting, planning and accountancy.
So the reality is that your day rate may need to be substantially higher than you first imagine in order to produce the turnover needed to provide your required salary.
Our Full Day Rate Calculator tries to cover everything. That means you're going to have to invest a bit of time in filling it in - you may well need to do some pre-work to ensure you have your numbers to hand - but the insight you get really will be worth the effort. The full day rate calculator will shine a light on your true operating costs and give you a crystal clear insight into exactly what day rate you need to charge in order to break even.
The good news is that, if you enter your email address, your data will be saved and we'll send you a link so you can return to the full day rate calculator and carry on from where you left off at any time.
Acknowledgements: The inspiration for the day rate calculators came from a few great sources of information that I'd like to thank and reference: Ellwood Atfield Ltd's page on day rate calculations, Mike Holderness at LondonFreelance.org and information resources at The Association of Photographers.
The full day rate calculator will give you a much more accurate day rate estimate.
The full day rate calculator will give you a more accurate day rate estimate than our simple day rate calculator. It'll account for all of your business and personal costs and tell you what you need to charge as a day rate in order to break even. You then simply need to factor in your target profit margin and appropriate tax rates to get final answer. It'll probably take you 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
If you enter your email address (optional), your entries will be saved* as you go and we'll send you a unique link so you can come back to the form and pick up where you left off at any time. Fill in as much detail as possible to get the most accurate day rate.
These rates enable you to break even based on the costs you've provided.
The per hour rate assumes an 8hr working day and these figures are gross of any taxes etc.
Use the slider to discover day rates which will deliver your target percentage gross profit of between 0 and 500% of your costs.
Found a problem (sorry!), interested in any of the services we provide or just want to find out a bit more about the stuff we do? That's great! Give us a call or send us an email and we'll get back to you as soon as possible!
20-22 Wenlock Road
London N1 7GU