First, the 3 Pricing Models.
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.
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.