Why are most WordPress developers paid so little… and how are the elite WordPress freelancers making so much money?
I was really curious about this, so I spent some time digging in to see if it is even true. Are most WordPress freelancers _really_ getting the short end of the stick when it comes to what they earn compared to people who work with different technologies?
I dug into reports and surveys from Stack Overflow, WP Engine, and Upwork, as well as a variety of blog posts on the topic. It turns out, the answer is actually really interesting.
What Does The Average WordPress Freelancer Get Paid?
I’m defining a WordPress freelancer as anyone who is self-employed and works with WordPress. Granted, this is a pretty tricky number to calculate, but I did the best I could to dig into all the data I could find and it turns out that the average hourly rate for a WordPress freelancer is between $10 – $29/hour. That's not much… In addition to this low hourly rate, another problem freelancers face is that they are not billable 40 hours per week. They also have additional expenses like buying their own equipment, health insurance, taxes, etc. compared to salaried employees.
Extrapolated out across a full year, the average WordPress freelancer makes about $35k/year – or less.
The thing that I found so interesting about this is that when I merged all the data together I discovered that while the vast majority of WordPress freelancers are really struggling, there is an elite group of WordPress freelancers who are absolutely crushing it, with 6-figure businesses.
How Are The Elite WordPress Freelancers Doing It?
Why is it that the majority of WordPress freelancers are struggling to bring in $35k/year while this elite group of freelancers is bringing in triple that amount and more?
What are they doing that everyone else is not doing? With rates that are 3x higher than everyone else, why aren’t they pricing themselves out of the market?
Most importantly, how can you move into this elite group and triple your rates without having to work more hours and without losing jobs to the frenzied swarm of freelancers willing to work for almost nothing?