If You Want To Pay Peanuts, You Might Get Monkeys
I have seen it happen time and time again, where a client has an 18+ hour project and chooses a provider who is willing to do the whole thing for around $ 15.00. Within a day or two, that client is then looking for someone to re-do the whole thing as it was not done properly in the first place. Had they however chosen a freelancer based on their actual proposal for the job, their past experience and their references they may have saved themselves time and had the project done properly the first time around. Time is money, so by choosing the cheapest you wasted both.
If a really good freelancer chooses to propose around $ 150.00 for an 18+ hour project, you are still saving yourself money by choosing them in the long run. In the days before freelancing and cloud commuting you would have paid an average full-time employee $ 14.00 per hour and for them to sit and carry out 18 hours of work for you would have cost you around $ 252.00.
I myself have been a freelance provider for over 2 years now and I love it. I love having various clients and facing the different challenges they produce, but those clients are not always easy to come by for me. I reside in a country where I cannot afford to charge the lowest going rate. If I did that, I would not be able to afford to live and I would need to get back into the 9 to 5 rat race.
I am not saying I charge extremely high rates either. I charge what I feel is fair and often make sure I am still way under the going rate for a full time employee. In fact, many of my UK based clients are paying me under what is known as the legal minimum wage in their country. This is well below my experience level, but I do it because I love being a freelancer and I love my clients. Also, if I was not affordable enough, I would have no clients at all.
While my clients could easily afford much cheaper labor from India for example, I don't think they would ever choose that option above someone like me who provides them with excellent service. It's just a pity that there are not more business owners who think that way.
Most individual freelancers cannot afford to spend 18 productive hours on a project and only charge $ 15.00 for the whole thing. It's just not possible and those of us worth our salt should not have to charge such low rates just to land a client. We have proved ourselves, we have references and samples of our work. The good freelance workers are still cost effective for your business.
I am not saying all cheap labor will cost you more in the long run, but it is worth thinking about, as cheaper is not always better. This is proved in almost every aspect of life. You buy cheap clothes or shoes and they never last long for example.
Pay a little bit more and get it right the first time!