I read somewhere that if you bill hourly, you will be making less money for the same project the better you are at doing it (because you get faster as well as better). That definitely resonated with me, and that’s when I gave up charging by the hour.
I have a set baseline price for an informational website (MODx site) that covers everything a small business usually needs, including unlimited imported pages, contact form, and gallery or search box. More specifically, I have three baseline prices - one for a template-based or pre-designed site, one for a custom design with standard graphic design, and one for a high-end design. This is the smallest type of website I offer, and the prices are based on the market rate. If I go a couple weeks without landing a project, I lower them. If I get a big waiting list, I raise them. As my portfolio improves, I’ve been slowly raising the base price over time for new clients.
Anything that needs to be added on (login system, an extra contact form, etc...) is added on top of the base price. I base the "addon" estimates somewhat on time - so yes, I do have a rough hourly (or more often daily) rate in my head, but this is usually based on how much the base site costs at the time and how long the component takes to add compared to the time I take on the base site. Then, I just round to the nearest $50.
I know this seems very haphazard, but my prices (and client flow) actually stay very stable for a few months at a time. Considering that I am still very new to freelancing and that my prices have to go up anyways as my portfolio grows, I think this is a pretty good system so far.
Anyone else here have a project-based or market-based rate?