The Ruby Freelancers Show 002 – Keeping the Pipeline Full

by woody2shoes on February 7, 2012



  • ChiliProject/Redmine
  • Website Contact Form
  • business/niche apps
  • libraries
  • getting involved in open source projects
  • Refinery
  • Fat Free CRM
  • Instructure
  • speaking at conferences
  • talk to other developers, have a community presence
  • users groups
  • referrals from other/larger firms
  • subcontracting
  • blogging and podcasting for lead generation
  • be an expert in your field
  • build trust with potential clients
  • the tiers of intimacy
  • do what you enjoy doing
  • job boards
  • not job boards
  • compete not on price, but on qualities
  • recruiters
  • government contracts and associated suicide accessories
  • don’t work for equity unless you’re fine as an investor
  • vetting clients
  • define availability, timetable, deadline and rough spec
  • research the client
  • Obie Fernandez’ Master Services Agreement
  • Statement of Work
  • New Leaders Master Service Agreement (CC)
  • subcontractor agreements
  • if the client gives you a contract, it will be slanted toward the client
  • if you give the client a contract, it will be slanted toward you
  • considering a client “in the pipeline”
  • signed contract
  • deposit in the bank
  • determining sufficient deposit
  • deposit in escrow
  • does the client set off alarm bells?


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

warren vosper February 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

I am a RoR developer with 5 yrs experience who went freelance a few weeks ago.

I wonder if you could expand on “money in the bank” by explaining how you collect payments (check?, paypal?, other?).

I love the detailed info you guys are sharing – keep it going!


Eric Davis February 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I collect payments by check, PayPal, and wire transfers. Typically my USA based clients pay by check and my international clients pay with PayPal or a wire transfer.


Craig February 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm

So you all tend to not bill your clients for 40 hours a week, instead you tend to bill for 20 – 30 hours per week. I’m just curious, when you take on a project do they normally ask for “full-time”? If so, doesn’t “full-time” normally imply 40 hours per week?

I was recently talking to someone about a job and we discussed 20/hrs per week as “part-time”.


Eric Davis February 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I have yet to see a freelancer bill at 100% (40 hours worked, 40 hours billed). In fact, that is a red flag for me that the freelancer might actually be an employee (a very bad thing tax-wise).

In my experience, when I work a 40 hour week I typically bill 20-25 hours. If I put in some overtime then I might approach 40 billable hours in one week but that is an extremely high amount (e.g. 80/hours worked). 50% billable time is a good average.

Some clients might be asking for someone “full-time” because they are actually wanting something like a contractor or a temporary employee. In those cases the contractor bills for every hour which is how they get to 40 hours/week.

(One common problem is that these terms are mixed and used in different contexts. I consider consultants/freelancers, contractors/temp-employees, and employees as separate groups).


Mario March 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Hi all,

Great podcast! I’m eagerly awaiting the next one…

I have a question for Eric: he mentioned his use of the GPL license for his source code… what version, though?


woody2shoes March 5, 2012 at 9:19 am

I think it was v2. It’s Redmine that’s GPL licensed, which means that all of his enhancements to it must also be GPL v2.

I believe he mentioned that it’s in his contract just to avoid ambiguity with what he’s creating. (You can’t have a contract that stipulates that you’re closing the source and then use GPL licensed software.)


Glen McCallum March 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Love this podcast.

You mention the deposit being held in escrow. Is there an escrow service that you use? or can recommend?


Craig B March 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm

It seems that billable hours are about half the hours actually worked. What qualifies as “billable”? the obviously non-billable hours are doing the things to run your own business, but is the typical overhead of keeping the pipeline full, bookkeeping etc really 50% of a typical freelancers time?


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