We provide a detailed overview of your Salesforce hiring options and breakdown the cost of hiring a Salesforce Consultant, Consulting Partner, or full-time Employee.
There are 3 ways you can hire Salesforce Consultants. The right solution for your business depends on the project complexity, size of team needed to meet the objective, and ongoing support you require.
At the most basic level, you can decide between Engaging a Salesforce Consulting Partner vs. Hiring Independent Consultants.
This is the most common model when working with established Consulting Partners.
The Partner will conduct a thorough discovery and present a State of Work (SOW) - 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 can increase the cost.
Engaging a Consulting Partner makes sense if you have identified a specific business need or new platform to implement and need multiple different Salesforce skill sets to execute on it.
This is more common with Salesforce Customers that have an ongoing monthly need, including Administrator support / maintenance, or help on basic, ongoing projects. (This can also be referred to as 'Managed Services', essentially outsourcing the day-to-day Salesforce work instead of hiring FTEs.)
Consulting Partners or Contractors will charge a flat monthly fee, which includes a set 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.
If you work with a Partner or Contractor on this model, you should negotiate a pricing discount that reduces the total cost per hour compared to what you'd pay if it was a pay-per-hour engagement.
This is less common for Consulting Partners and the most common structure for Salesforce Contractors (i.e. Freelancers) - it essentially means pay by the hour.
Time & Materials is the most flexible pricing model for Salesforce Customers, since it doesn't require a long-term commitment or minimum payment.
You are only paying for hours that have already been worked, enabling you to start and stop any time.
All engagements through FoundHQ are time & materials.
Independent Salesforce Consultants 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 the goal.
The longer the project, the lower the hourly rate!
There is a wide range of skills 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 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 also act as a Business Analyst and have the ability to work with your stakeholders to proactively identify workflows, automations, and enhancements to Salesforce while working 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.
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 write 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 cost $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 cost in the range of $115/hour - $140/hour.
(As a comparison, most Certified Consulting Partners will charge an hourly rate of $175/hr-$200/hr for Salesforce Developers.)
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.)
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.
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 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.
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.)
Here is a quick breakdown of the median salary for full-time Salesforce Professionals
across several of the top markets in the U.S.
Avg. Salesforce salary in New York
Avg. Salesforce salary in San Francisco, CA
Avg. Salesforce salary in Boston, MA
Avg Salesforce salary in Dallas, Texas
Avg. Salesforce salary in Seattle, WA
There are a few options when it comes to finding and hiring Salesforce Consultants.
We breakdown the right place to start looking but contact our team any time with questions.
If you are looking for a Salesforce Consulting Partner that can provide a team of Consultants for a specific project, you should contact your Account Executive or go to the Salesforce AppExchange.
For newer Salesforce Customers, we provide a breakdown of what the Salesforce AppExchange is and how you can use it here.
On the AppExchange, there are two places to look for Consultants:
The Partner Listings is a well maintained directory of Certified Salesforce Partners, searchable by their specific Cloud or Industry expertise, location, size of the Practice, ratings, and more. The listings are verified by Salesforce, so there are quality mechanisms in place to ensure accuracy of what's listed here.
These Consulting Partners are best suited for larger scale projects and you should expect to pay a premium when engaging this type of vendor.
The Salesforce Developer Consultant Listings are, unfortunately, more challenging to use. These are not verified listings and many of them are outdated, so you may find a Consultant that is no longer available. Additionally, you cannot contact through the profile pages, so you will need to manually search for that individual on LinkedIn or elsewhere.
You can Browse 600+ Salesforce Consultants available for projects on FoundHQ, which is the #1 Salesforce Freelancer platform.
Every Consultant Profile details their full work history, Salesforce Certifications, Salesforce Cloud expertise, location, and hourly rate while enabling you to schedule interviews directly through the platform.
Best of all - 100% of these Salesforce Consultants are pre-vetted, including technical skills assessments and reference checks.
Most recruitment agencies focus on full-time, permanent staffing for companies looking to hire employees onto their team; however, some also provide access to Temporary or Contract staffing.
The process is a bit more of an investment for hiring managers - schedule calls with the Recruiter, review resume submissions, coordinate interviews etc - but can be the right solution if you want a bit more of a hands-on approach. TwentyPine was founded in 2014 and has helped companies like ESPN, Workday, General Motors, and Yelp build their Salesforce teams.
FoundHQ is a Salesforce Freelancer Marketplace, offering directly access to a network of 650+ pre-vetted Salesforce Consultants available for part-time and full-time projects.
We partner with Salesforce Consultants looking for part-time or full-time projects, including work for Salesforce Administrators, Salesforce Developers, Salesforce Architects, Pardot Consultants, and more.