My friend, Cindy, and I have been taking on small web projects. Tweaking plugins. Customizing theme installs. Crafting out infographics. Fun, small projects that do not completely wear us down by the end of the process.
We both have worked in the large WordPress agencies and have been involved in large builds for clients such as the National Parks Service, blog management for Realtor.com, and so on. We've seen our fair share of six-figure sized projects (gone awry) and we really have no interest in working at that level again. I can't speak for Cindy, but for me - personally - those projects are just too exhausting.
So last week a friend asked us to quote out a web app his client wanted built. It's a very cool idea, not a new idea - but a cool idea. Having already sat on huge system builds I knew we were looking at a $50-60k project, with a 5-6 month time frame, if it was to be built correctly. I talked to Cindy and she and I both said, "Ugh...no thanks." We really don't want that kind of work. It's drudgery to be honest. And, since all I can do is PM & help with QA Testing (quality assurance), and manage things from within the Admin (I never ever go into the codebase as a best practice for a non-developer) I know that the bulk of the work would be on Cindy.
I emailed the client to let them know we weren't interested, but that I thought the project was around a 6 month/ $60k project and I'd be happy to refer her to some reputable WordPress developers and/or small agencies that I thought would better meet her needs. I also warned her that anything under $30k meant the developer didn't know what they were doing, and anything over $100k was probably in excess of what could be done on a $50-60k project.
She wrote back and said she was surprised at the honesty and willingness we had to pass on the project.
The same day I quoted a prospective client a retainer package, billing him at $75/hr for blocks of time each week. He wrote back and said he really thought we were overpriced and he'd keep searching. I told him, "Good luck finding our expertise and efficiency at a better rate. Remember - you get more than you pay for with us, and less everywhere else."
I won't apologize for charging $75/hr after working for the agencies who were actively billing my time at $150/hr and Cindy's time at $150-$175/hr.