Freelancers in Philly Apparently Have It Good, New Study Shows
That’s if they’re earning the average national freelancing rate of $38 per hour or more.
A whopping 57.3 million Americans are freelancing nowadays. That’s about 36 percent of the U.S. workforce. And though freelancers are apparently making it work — more Americans are opting to freelance today than ever before — some gig workers have it much better than others. It all depends on where you live. A new study from the commercial real estate listings platform Commercial Café investigates how easy it is for freelancers to make ends meet across 34 U.S. Cities. If you’re a freelancer living in Philadelphia and earning the average U.S. freelancing rate of $37.87 per hour or more, things are apparently easy, comparatively speaking.
The study looked at average monthly housing expenses in each city and a variety of co-working options to determine how much freelancers have to earn per hour to make ends meet.
Housing and a Private Office
To rent an apartment alone in Philadelphia and simultaneously afford a private office at a co-working space, a freelancer would need to earn $42.6 per hour working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks each year.
And if a freelancer were to split housing costs with a roommate and simultaneously afford a private office, they’d need to earn $27.7 per hour. In both cases, the freelancer wouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of their income on these costs.
In comparison, freelancers in Manhattan, the most expensive place on the list, must earn $99.3 per hour to live alone and afford a private office. To live with a roommate and have a private office, they’d need to earn $59.7 per hour.
The next five most expensive locations for freelancers after Manhattan in this category are San Francisco; Boston; Brooklyn, NY; San Jose, CA; and, Oakland, CA. Philadelphia ranked 23rd most expensive. The few cities more affordable than Philly in this category include Portland, Atlanta, Nashville and Houston.
Housing and a Desk
To afford housing alone and dedicated desk expenses, a Philadelphia freelancer would need to earn $38.3 per hour, just above the average national rate. With a roommate, they’d need to earn $23.4 per hour. In Boston, the third-most expensive place in the category, a freelancer would need to earn $75 per hour to live alone and $42.4 per hour to live with a roommate.
To afford housing and hot desk expenses, a Philadelphia freelancer would need to earn $36.3 per hour to live alone and $21.4 to live with a roommate. For comparison, in Kansas City, Missouri, the cheapest city on the list, a freelancer would need to earn $23.5 per hour to live alone and $14.2 per hour to live with a roommate.
By the Hour
The study also examined how much a freelancer making $37.87 per hour, the average U.S. freelancing rate, would need to work to afford housing alone and the various co-working options.
In Philadelphia, a freelancer would need to work 45 hours a week to afford a private office at a co-working space, 41 hours a week for a dedicated desk and 39 hours a week for a hot desk.
Philadelphia managed to escape the list of top 10 cities where freelancers need to charge extra fees to afford housing and co-working expenses. The top three cities in that category are, again, Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston.
The report concluded that freelance workers should take advantage of locations, like Philadelphia, where the cost of living is low.
“As remote working and flexible hours become something both employers and employees value, a lower cost of living can encourage freelancers to gravitate towards emerging urban centers to avoid the difficulties raised by housing shortages in coastal areas,” the authors wrote.
To determine housing costs, the study relied on a RENT Café report, and to determine co-working expenses, the study relied on WeWork starting prices in each available city.
To view the complete study and more on its methodology, click here.