Flat rate billing differs from billing by the hour because of how the customer is charged. When you work for a flat rate, you get paid a predetermined amount regardless of how much work you put in. On the other hand, the hourly rate is determined by how many hours you put in and how much money you make overall. So, as a freelancer or a business, it is important to know about flat rate vs hourly rate pay.

When working for yourself or managing a small business, it is important to establish a reasonable pricing structure, knowing flat rate vs hourly rate pay. There are pros and downsides to each billing method that must be weighed carefully when deciding which billing process is right for you and your customer. Many small business owners work on both billing methods to avoid payment disputes.

What is a Flat Rate?

Flat rate pricing involves deciding on a price for a job up front and sticking to it. It factors in the cost of labor, supplies, and any additional fees. Payment in this manner is the norm for short-term endeavors.

Suppose you and the client agree, for instance, that you will pay one worker $250 each week until the task is done.

In that case, that person will be considered “on the clock” for the full duration of the assignment. Flat rate compensation describes this kind of payment. There will be no reduction in pay since the job was finished early in flat rate pay. Once you set the price – time has no role.

To arrive at a flat rate pay and to set a price, multiply the hourly rate by the total number of hours required to perform the task. Since the cost is predetermined, creating an estimate is simple. Flat rate pay simplifies the billing procedure for low-budget projects. This is a kind of predictable income using flat rates.

You need to get your pricing systems straight – If not done yet!

How to Calculate Flat Rates?

Your flat rate pay system should consider your time and any resources you may need to complete a job.

1. Calculate the Cost Associated with Materials & Time

Determine the monetary value of the time you anticipate spending on the project first while calculating flat rate pay. Calculate your hourly rate by multiplying your estimate of the time the job will take by your hourly fee.

The next step in flat rate work is the total price tag for all required supplies, extras, and similar finite deliverables. Don’t forget to include a little markup to ensure a return on your investment; without it, you’ll be lucky to break even.

2. Calculate Your Total

Finally, total up the money spent on labor and supplies to get flat rate pay. This sum will serve as the base rate for your pricing structure. This total may be used to set prices, but you may add to it for certain services or special projects. In other words, you might ask for extra money if the task requires unique expertise.

After you have set the price for each service, it’s time to start promoting those prices through your website and other marketing channels. This is how you can get flat rate pay in any payment system.

What is the Hourly Rate?

Calculate the total cost of a project by adding up the hours spent on it and your hourly rate. You’ll need a reliable time tracker to track how much time was spent on the client project to charge them accurately.

This method works well for in-house projects and may be useful for larger-scale undertakings to hire workers. This is a significant obstacle for small projects but facilitates more accurate cost accounting. These methods of pricing might be difficult to implement, but they can pay off in situations where labor is billed by the hour.

How to Calculate Hourly Rates?

It is easy to figure out how much you will charge each hour. To calculate your earnings and hourly rate pay, multiply your hourly salary by the time you’ve worked.

Naturally, this necessitates keeping detailed time logs of your project work. Some customers may want you to itemize your time spent on each project. In the legal field, for instance, time is tracked in 10-minute intervals.

A flat rate is based on projections; while hourly rates are supposed to reflect the actual time put into a project, it’s important to understand how flat rates and hourly rate pay systems work and are calculated. The best method to generate an hourly rate service invoice is by downloading our readymade hourly invoice template. Customize the hourly rate invoice template with the correct details and get started.

The Difference Between Flat Rate Pay V/s Hourly Rate Pay

Hourly Rate Flat Rate
Hourly rate at which a certain service is billed. No matter how often something needs doing, it will always cost the same amount.
Because adjustments may be made along the process, it’s much more adaptable. There’s no wiggle room since mid-project adjustments require a price increase.
Customer budgeting is made more difficult. As opposed to other options, the fixed pricing for a single job allows consumers more leeway when budgeting.
Total pay is derived by multiplication of no. of hours into per hour charge. Involves long and intricate computations.
Thus, it is not always good to labor for less money but in a shorter amount of time. This flat rate is not time-based but determined by the nature of the job itself.

Flat Rate vs Hourly Rate: Pros and Cons

Both flat rate and hourly rate have their advantages and disadvantages. Let us take a look at the pros and cons:

Flat Rate: Pros

Higher Pay

Since your rates are not based on working time, there is no upper limit on your earnings potential. There is no such thing as minimum payment.

Increased Productivity

Employees may be less likely to prioritize the consumer when given an hourly wage. However, flat-rate employees are incentivized to perform more efficiently. Indeed, the more labor they do, the greater their compensation.

Predictable Income

Better predictability benefits flat rate systems for both you and your customers. Customers will enjoy not having to worry about contract conflicts or misunderstandings if they are informed of all the details beforehand.

Similar to how small firms and shops benefit from a flat rate pricing system, which guarantees a steady stream of money.

Simplified Bookkeeping

A system based on an hourly payment rate demands you to meticulously track your time and the time of any staff working on a given project. However, flat-rate labor may be performed without further computations, particularly when delivering a recurring service.

Flat Rate: Cons

They Are Less Flexible

If you charge a flat rate, you may not have enough room in the budget to handle changes in the scope of the project. There’s a risk that if you take on a bigger project, you’ll spend more time and resources on it than you anticipated. However, it would be too late to ask the customer for extra money by that point. Therefore, it may be more challenging to meet customers’ changing needs while using a flat fee structure.

Greater Chances of Errors in Making Estimates

When the project is similar to the ones you’ve worked on previously or has a well-defined scope, it’s easier to estimate. Without this information, you may lose when trying to propose fixed pricing to the client.

Hourly Rate: Pros

Steady Income

Even if the business is sluggish, your employees can depend on a consistent income from hourly pay.

Comparisons will Becomes Easier

When customers seek a certain service, hourly rates are the simplest method to evaluate rival businesses. This strategy may make it simpler for consumers to comprehend your invoicing procedure, given that a fixed price does not necessarily reflect the cost of goods.

Businesses or freelancers get the benefit of Maximum flexibility

Charging an hourly rate provides the most flexibility. This flexibility might be vital while working on projects that change or evolve. As a result, the hourly rate pay system has become the norm for freelancers working on big or complex projects.

Hourly Rate: Cons

You will see a Downfall in Productivity

For your employees, an hourly wage can actually discourage productivity (above-average productivity). If you’re a business owner or shop owner, you may discover that your staff isn’t always eager to complete their work. After all, they’ll be paid the same wage as long as they’re on the clock.

You Need to Keep Track of Every Minute

First and foremost, hourly rate pay systems need constant vigilance over the hours you and your staff have spent on a project. Despite the fact that several technological tools make tracking time easier, it might nevertheless be more stressful than charging flat rates.

Which is a Better Flat Rate or Hourly?

There are benefits to both an hourly rate and a flat charge. Examine the pricing models to choose the best match for your small business and its customers. Customers have the option of choosing an hourly or fixed billing method. Ultimately, it would help if you charged your consumers a rate that works best for your business.

When you go by hourly pay rate (hourly billing/ hourly pay), you must describe the total number of hours worked, the fee per hour, and the specific tasks that were accomplished. Time spent on projects should be itemized and presented to the client in an easy-to-read format. This will make the payment process easier.

If your billing method is hourly fee type, you’ll need to track how much time you spend on each project. Use an invoice maker if you need an easy way to keep track of financial transactions. It automates processes, which means your money will run more smoothly.

In addition, you may go on with the process after you and the client have settled on a billing method and cycle—weekly, monthly, or whatever works best for both of you.


Whether you want to charge a flat rate system or hourly wage, a system must remain on top of all the necessary paperwork. When managing your company’s finances, Moon Invoice has a one-stop shop for all your invoicing needs.

Explore the features, get a free trial or contact us in case of any queries.