Salesforce Consultant Hourly Rates

Cost to hire a Salesforce Consultant

First, the 3 Pricing Models.

As discussed in our overview of Engaging Salesforce Consulting Partners vs.  Independent Contractors, there are a few structures for how these relationships are priced:

Fixed Cost Project:

For established Consulting Partners, this is the most common.
The Partner will conduct a thorough discovery and present a State of Work (SOW) - essentially, a proposal outlining the specific deliverables, delivery timeline, and total cost.
Theoretically, the total cost is the full expense even if the project takes longer; however, Customers tend to identify new needs along the way, which alter the SOW and ultimately increase the cost.

Monthly Retainer:

This is more common with Salesforce Customers that have a consistent monthly need, which can include support, maintenance, or help on basic, ongoing projects.
A Consulting Partner or Contractor will charge a flat monthly fee, which will include a certain number of billable hours you can utilize each month - you pay the monthly fee even if you don’t hit the number of hours and if you exceed the number, you begin paying by the hour.

Time & Materials (i.e. Hourly):

This is less common for Consulting Partners but some offer this structure - it essentially means pay by the hour.
A Consulting Partner will set their billable rate and you utilize them for as many or as few hours as you want, only paying for hours worked.

Independent Salesforce Consultants work exclusively on a time & materials billing model. This means that all projects are based hourly and require no upfront commitments or minimums.

Typical Hourly Rate for various Salesforce Consultant skill sets

Most Independent Salesforce Consultant will have a standard hourly bill rate; however, there are a few variables that can impact what they charge: duration of the project (total # of weeks) and weekly utilization (# of hours per week).

Since Contractors don't have the stability of a full-time salary, consistent work is king and the longer the project, the lower the hourly rate.
Saleforce Administrator

$85/hr - $115/hr

Cost to hire a Salesforce Administrator

There is a broad range of skill sets that fall under the Salesforce Administrator job title, so hourly rate will depend on seniority and overall scope of work you are expecting this individual to perform.

A safe estimate for a solid, mid-level Salesforce Administrator (3+ years of experience) that can help with support, maintenance, configuration, and AppExchange integrations is around $85/hour. You can likely find a Jr. Administrator in the $65/hour-$75/hour range but these individuals will need clear direction from your team and concentrate mostly on basic support, maintenance, reporting, and dashboards.

A senior-level Salesforce Administrator (5+ years of experience) will often double as a Business Analyst and have the ability to work with your stakeholders to proactively identify workflows, automations, and enhancements to Salesforce while also work self-sufficiently alongside Salesforce Developers and remaining hands-on with complex configuration work. A Sr. Salesforce Admin will start around $95/hour and can range up to $115/hour but you should expect anyone at the top end of that range to play the role of a CRM Platform Manager and contribute to product strategy and roadmap initiatives as well.
Salesforce Developer

$90/hr - $130/hr

Cost to hire a Salesforce Developer

A strong Salesforce Developer can either focus exclusively on production or they can help you prioritize features, streamline your Dev Ops process, and contribute more proactively. If you're looking for a Developer just to knock out code, you can easily set them up in JIRA, assign tickets with deadlines, and let them work on their own schedule - this will often reduce the hourly rate they charge because it's more flexible.
Additionally, companies that need a production-focused Salesforce Developer have a lot more options, since many Developers that have a full-time job are interested in side projects to work nights/weekends.
In general, expect a mid-level Salesforce Developer Contractor to be $90/hour - $110/hour.

If you have especially complex work (dealing heavily with integrations, use of custom APIs etc) or want a Senior Developer that can contribute to platform strategy alongside your stakeholders / Administrators, you'll be targeting 5+ years working on the platform and a track record in client-facing roles. These Senior Developers fall somewhere in the range of $110/hour - $130/hour.

(As a comparison, most Certified Consulting Partners will charge an hourly rate of $175/hr-$200/hr for Salesforce Developers.)
Technical Architect

$160/hr - $185/hr

Cost to hire a Salesforce Technical Architect

There are two types of Salesforce Architects - a Solution Architect (strong business knowledge and understanding of what the platform can do) and Technical Architect (similar business acumen & platform expertise but can also be a hands-on Developer). This will be the biggest factor as it relates to hourly rate.

Technical Architects are often found in larger Salesforce orgs, where the scale and complexity of the work warrant someone that can not only spearhead platform design but also account for integration strategy, data management, proper documentation standards, and longer development cycles. You will typically engage a Technical Architect to work alongside other Salesforce professionals, setting strategy, scoping work, and directly managing Developers while contributing to some hands-on work. However, if you are working on smaller engagements, you're better off pairing a Solution Architect with a Developer.
Expect a Technical Architect to cost around $160/hour - $185/hour and a Solution Architect hourly rate to be $130/hour - $160/hour.

(As a comparison, most Certified Consulting Partners will charge an hourly rate of $250/hr-$350/hr for Salesforce Technical Architects. Properly evaluating the type of Salesforce Architect you need and devising the right resource allocation strategy is the single most cost effective hire you can make when determining Salesforce resource strategy.)
Solution Architect

$130/hr - $160/hr

Cost to hire a Salesforce Solution Architect

While a Salesforce Technical Architect is typically reserved for larger scale projects & teams, a Solution Architect is beneficial for both startup & enterprise orgs.
(Note: companies will frequently hire for 'CRM Product Owners' or 'CRM Platform Managers', which bring a similar skill set to a Solution Architect.)

Solution Architects understand the full capabilities of Salesforce and will strategize and architect a long-term product roadmap; however, they look at problems through the lens of a business stakeholder. While they know what can be done with configuration vs. custom development, they need to be paired with a Salesforce Developer or Technical Architect to create in-the-weeds technical specifications for how to customize the platform.
Often, Solution Architects will work in tandem with Administrator & Developers, helping direct strategy and Project Manager the deliverables and project scope.

There are two types of Salesforce Architects - a Technical Architect, who can also be a hands-on Developer, and a Solution Architect. This will be the biggest factor as it relates to hourly rate.

Typically, Solution Architects will be around $130/hour - $160/hour, depending on the size & complexity of customers they have worked with in the past.

(As a comparison, a Consulting Partner will often bill their Solution Architects at a rate of $250/hour - $300/hour.)
Pardot Consultant

$90/hr - $120/hr

Cost to hire a Pardot Consultant

Pardot Consultants also come in two forms - individuals that are more 'application focused' and help to implement the system or 'campaign strategists' that are focused more on Demand Generation, lead nurturing, lead scoring best practices, and e-mail / conversion tactics.

While there are some individuals that can do both, you will typically find this blended skill set more in the early-stage startup context. It's best to define if your challenges are more technical / systems focused or Marketing Operations oriented - often, the best Technical Specialists will come from a background working at a Consulting Partner (therefore, implementing new Pardot instances for a living), whereas the best Marketing Operations Strategists will have worked as a Manager/Director of Demand Generation inside a company in the past.

In general, Pardot Consultants are $90/hour - $120/hour but as you start to look for more holistic Demand Generation / Marketing Operations strategy, expect the hourly to increase and fall in the range of $120/hour-$145/hour.
Marketing Cloud Developer

$100/hr - $145/hr

Cost to hire a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Developer

Similar to the two different Pardot skill sets, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Developers come in two forms - application specialists / implementers vs. campaign specialists.

Application Specialists / Implementers will often come from a Consulting Partner and their focus is on deploying, integrating, and setting up Salesforce Marketing Cloud in new environments - a big part of this skill set is the ability to work with Product Engineers to design and set up custom integrations and work with APIs.
A Campaign Specialist is partnering with the Marketing team to build and deploy campaigns - they mostly live in HTML, CSS, and AmpScript.

Regardless of which type of Marketing Cloud Specialist you need, the platform has grown in complexity, so individuals with exposure to the full set of feature will often command a premium rate - this includes Mobile Studio, Interaction Studio, Datorama, and others.

Depending on seniority, expect a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Engineer to fall somewhere in the range of $100/hour-$145/hour with the lower end of that range being more on the Campaign side.

(As a comparison, most Certified Consulting Partners will charge an hourly rate of $175/hr-$225/hr for Marketing Cloud Engineers.)