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Freelance Web Developer Best Practices? 438

SirLurksAlot writes "My last employer had to make a series of budget cuts, and I was laid off. I have been on the job hunt since then; however in the meantime I have begun freelancing as a Web developer. This is my first time in this role and so I would like the ask the Slashdot community: are there any best practices for freelance developers? What kind of process should I use when dealing with clients? Should I bill by the hour or provide a fixed quote on a per-project basis? What kind of assurances should I get from the client before I begin work? What is the best way to create accurate time estimates? I'm also wondering if there are any good open source tools for freelancers, such as for time-tracking and invoice creation (aside from simply using a spreadsheet). Any suggestions or insights would be welcome."

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