I'm wondering how others bill a UX service and how it should really be billed. I'm exposed to basing it on hours spent doing the work. However, I don't think that it's the most fit way of doing it because time spent isn't a perfect metric of the quality of work. Some of my better works are done in a short period of time, while it takes me days to finish others.

How do you think should UX work be billed? What are the factors to consider?


In my experience I've always agreed on costs ahead of doing any work, so I'm billing for estimated hours rather than actual.

However, there's value assigned to the 'estimated hours', ie, an item of work that would take 1 day from scratch may actually take me 0.5 days because I can reuse snippets from previous work. That's not deceptive, it's my reward for having built up a library.

The same value judgement would be built into my hourly rate, ie 'this item of work should take a professional 1 day', so if it takes me 1.5 days because I have to undertake a bit of R&D, I don't pass that on to the client.

  • and the contract should state exactly what this work is, with a section that outlines what kinds of changes/deviations will increase the costs. Know your client enough to make sure you're both confident that everything is understood/covered.
    – Susan R
    Jul 5 '10 at 14:15

It would not surprise me if return on investment (ROI) became a stronger influence on pricing because many project goals are simply to increase ROI.

From a client’s perspective, quality would be rightly rewarded while UX specialists can offer services at a lower rate but with ROI bonuses written into the contract.

I’ve never been involved in any such tendering personally but with increased UX competition and a global recession I can this type of billing becoming more and more popular.

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