Everything You Need to Know: What’s the Best and Average Project Manager Hourly Rate? What are Typical Project Management Fees?

If you’re planning to go into project management either as a full-time employee with a firm or as a consultant, how much can you expect to make? If you are an employer, HR, or hiring manager, how much should you pay your project managers?

In this article, we’ll give you complete answers to the following:

  • Project management consulting rates
  • Typical project management fees
  • Types of project management fee structure options
  • Average project manager hourly rate
  • Example of a project management fee scale

project manager hourly rate

Average Project Management Fees – Percentage, Hourly Rate, Salary

Wondering what to pay for an hourly rate for project manager consultants? Interested in a full-time project management job and wondering about average salaries? Interviewing for a consulting position and want to know the average project management consultant salary?

Read on for those answers and more! 

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Trends in Project Management Job Function

Few job roles can contribute as widely to an organization’s productivity as a project manager. The Project Management Institute (PMI) notes that 93% of organizations state they use standardized project management practices.

For any type of project to run smoothly, it needs expert planning and execution, and that’s the role of the product manager.

Not only is this a lucrative career, with the hourly rate for project manager consultants increasing over the last year (per 2020 DPM Salary Survey), there is a growing gap between the need for skilled project management professionals and the number of people available to fill that role.

This gap will continue to increase project management consulting fees and contribute to the role of project manager being a very promising career path.


Project Management Consultant Job Description

The project management consultant job description can be varied according to the type of project being undertaken. Some projects involve large scale construction, in which case a project manager needs to understand how to coordinate various contractors.

Other projects are more digital in nature, requiring some expertise in business technology in the project management consultant job description.

Overall, a project manager for any type of project needs to have the following traits.

Excellent Communications

Project managers are coordinating with multiple people to get a project planned and executed on time and budget. This requires them to be excellent communicators that possess the ability to clearly and coherently state objectives and instructions, and follow up continually.

Leadership Skills

Included in project management consulting fees is the understanding that the project manager is going to handle all aspects of a project and see it through to fruition. This required leadership skills and an attitude that “the buck stops here.”

Organizational Skills

Projects have multiple moving parts from the initial planning and analysis phase by ensuring all people being impacted by a project are properly trained. Superior organizational skills are a given in any project manager or project management consultant job description.

Example: Project Management Consultant Job Description from Indeed

We reviewed the job search engine Indeed to find an example of a project management consultant job description in a live job posting.

Project manager job responsibilities:

  • Provide input to and update program roadmaps
  • Develop and maintain processes for managing intake, prioritization, planning execution
  • Demonstrate measurable progress toward KPIs and delivery of work
  • Understand basic financial models, P/L, and cost-to-completion projections
  • Manage day-to-day operational aspects of multiple projects
  • Report findings by creating useful and appropriate data outputs and visualizations
  • Hold teams accountable to make and meet commitments
  • Track program schedule, budget, quality, and risks
  • Utilize change management techniques and processes

Experience/Education Qualifications

A review of a variety of project management consultant job description listings showed that companies typically ask for 1-3 years of past project management experience for standard project management positions.

For more senior positions, you may see requests of at least 8+ years of project management experience required.

Some project management consultant job descriptions will ask for a bachelor’s degree, but others are more interested in the skills a project management candidate has, such as Excel or technology skills.

You’ll also find that certain job postings request PMP® certification or another type of project management certification.

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What is a Project Fee?

A project fee is generally the cost paid by an organization for project management services.

Project fees are related to projects where an ongoing project management consultant salary isn’t being paid to an employee, and instead, a company is paying a fee for a project management consultant.

Project management consulting rates can vary according to the project needs, the expertise required, and the overall scope and timeline of a project.

The project management fees percentage or flat rate fee that is charged does not typically include costs for project materials, software, or other budgetary needs. Rather, it’s the direct compensation to the project management consultant.

In the case of additional expenses, like travel or hotel costs, a project management consultant may fold those costs into their overall project manager hourly rate or flat rate fee, or they may bill for them separately.


How Do You Charge Project Management Fees?

If you’re a project management consultant, or interested in becoming one, you’ll want to decide exactly how you’re going to set up your project management fee structure.

There are different approaches you can use, and you may use more than one type of project management fee scale, depending upon the type of project you’re being hired to head up.

Here are some of the standard ways to charge project management consulting rates.

Hourly Fee

Hourly project management rates are typically done if you are unsure how long a project is going to take or if the scope of the project could potentially change.

An hourly rate for project manager consultants is also often used for smaller projects, where charging a percentage of the overall project cost would not make sense.

Flat Fee

A flat fee for an entire project is typically desirable for the client if they have a large-scale project because it allows them to know exactly what they’ll be paying and they can budget accordingly.

For a flat fee project management fee structure, a project manager consultant needs to accurately estimate their time and expense for managing the project so they can be sure they won’t end up making less than they expect.

It’s helpful to include a contingency in any project management fee scale agreement that includes additional compensation if the project scope or timeline is changed.

project management consultant salary

Project Manager Hourly Rate & Typical Salary

Percentage of Project

A popular fee structure for large projects and projects that can easily change in scope or timeline is charging a project management fee percentage.

Charging your project management consultant salary as a percentage of the overall project cost can ensure a fair rate if the project changes to require more oversight or a longer time commitment.

The project management fees percentage format is a standard used for construction projects.

Day Rate

Rather than charging a project manager hourly rate, a consultant can choose to charge a day rate for project management services.

This will also typically be done for smaller projects or as an add-on to flat fee contracts as a contingency for changes to the project that require more time than agreed upon.

Milestone Payments

With any of the project management fee structure options above, a project manager can also request milestone payments, so they’re not waiting until a project is completely finished before being paid.

This is often done for larger, longer-term projects. Milestones will be built in during the project planning phase, and once reached will result in a certain percentage of the overall project management consulting fees being paid.

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What’s an Average Project Management Hourly Rate?

AGS has reviewed multiple resources to bring you the most accurate information on the project manager’s hourly rate.

It’s important to note that project management consulting rates can vary according to several criteria, including:

  • Expertise type needed for a project
  • Timeline, budget, and scope of the project
  • Whether or not the consultant is certified in project management
  • Experience level of the project management consultant
  • Geographical location of the project

Salary.com

According to Salary.com, the average hourly rate for project manager consultants is between $59 to $74 per hour, with the median hourly wage being $66.00.

Upwork

On the freelancer site Upwork, the project manager hourly rate charged by consultants varies widely and is between $30 – $155 per hour.

Business 2 Community

According to Business 2 Community, the typical project management consulting fees by experience are:

  • Basic Project Management: $30 – $60 per hour
  • Intermediate Project Management: $60 – $100 per hour
  • Certified PM Practitioners: $100 – $150 per hour

We’ve averaged the various sources above to give you a good idea of the hourly rate for project manager consultants that you can charge if you’re a consultant or expect to pay if you’re hiring one.

The average project manager hourly rate is

$56.00 to $108.00 per hour.


Example Project Management Fee Scale

When it comes to your scale for project management fees percentage, how detailed you get with your fee structure will depend upon the types of projects you typically work with.

For example, the typical project management fees for small and mid-sized projects will differ widely from large-scale construction projects or multi-location technology upgrade projects.

Whether you’re charging a project manager hourly rate or using a project management fee scale by percentage, you need to begin with an idea of the types of projects you plan to work on.

Smaller Projects – Project Management Fee Scale

If you’re working on projects that are smaller in size and cost, such as $5,000,000 and under, then you may only need to provide two or three percentage levels based upon project size.

According to Home Advisor, the average project management fees for construction project management are:

5 – 15% of the total price for small projects (less than $500,000)

5% or less for large-scale projects ($500,000 to $5 million and higher)

Larger Projects – Project Management Fee Scale

When you’re working with large scale projects, especially those connected to education or government, you’ll often find that they have pre-approved standard project management consulting fees that consultants must agree to.

These board-approved fee schedules are typically tied to construction projects; however, they can give you a general guide for creating your own project management consulting rates by percentage for large projects.

We’ve reviewed several university project management fee schedules, and here is a typical project management fee scale by the percentage of project cost:

project management fees


What’s an Average Project Management Consultant Salary?

Project management consultants can choose several ways to enter this career path.

They can work for a company that provides project management services to other organizations. Or they may be hired and paid a project management consultant salary by a large organization that has project managers on staff.

The third option is to freelance and have a project management consulting business. In this case, a project manager consultant will need to factor in their business costs, self-employment taxes, etc. into the annual project management consultant salary they make.

Here are the average salary amounts you can expect to make in your role as a project manager.

Salary.com

According to Salary.com, the range of a project management consultant salary is $66,591 – $88,774 per year, with the median at $76,115 annually.

Glassdoor

Glassdoor lists an average project management consultant salary ranging from $71,000 to $138,000 annually. The average base pay for the project management consultant job description is $100,235 per year.

Digital Project Manager Salary Survey Results

The Digital Project Manager took a survey of hundreds of participants from around the world to come up with average project management consultant salary data.

Here are their findings in a few different countries on what project management fees earn for consultants in annual salary:

  • USA Project Management Consultant Salary: $32,000 – $210,000/year
  • UK Project Management Consultant Salary: ₤21,620 – ₤117,000/year
  • Canada Project Management Consultant Salary: $40,000 – $110,000 CAD/year

Average salaries for project managers in each country:

  • USA: $76,632
  • UK: ₤39,468
  • Canada: $68,869 CAD

We’ve averaged these varied resources to learn the standard project management consultant salary. If you’re working in this career field, you can expect to make:

Average salary for project management consulting of

$72,714 to $95,000 per year

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Conclusion | Typical Project Management Fees, Rates, and Salary

Based upon today’s current demand for project managers and the gap between that need and the number of qualified project managers available, the project manager hourly rate and salary will continue rising.

This is also a field that has plenty of room for growth and the ability to get in without a college degree and instead leverage things like technology knowledge and a project management certification.

In fact, with a PMP® certification, you can demand a higher project manager hourly rate or project fee. And as in most fields, the more experience you have the higher your project management consulting salary prospects.

We hope this AGS insight article on a typical project management fee scale, project manager hourly rate, and average salary for project management consultants has given you insight into what to expect when entering this career field or when hiring a project management consultant.

How much does a project manager make per project?

For large projects, a project management consultant will typically charge a percentage of the total project cost for the project management fee. A project that is $2,000,000 in total cost, will have an average consultant fee of 3.50%, which would be $70,000. An hourly rate for project manager consultants averages $56.00 to $108.00 per hour.

Do project managers get paid well?

The average project management consultant salary, according to an average of data from Salary.com, Glassdoor, and the 2020-2021 DPM survey of project managers is between $72,714 to $95,000 per year.

What is included in project management fees?

Each consultant can decide what to include in their project management fee scale. The project management fee will typically be the consultant’s payment for their services and additionally may include incidentals such as travel, hotel, or other expenses.

Should I charge per hour or per project?

Project management consultants will usually charge by the hour for smaller projects or projects without a clear timeline. With larger projects, it’s standard to charge per project and base project management consulting fees on a percentage of the total project cost.


Authors: Ogbe Airiodion (Senior Change Management Lead) and Francesca Crolley (AGS Cloud Content Producer)
Content on Airiodion Global Services (AGS)'s Airiodion.com website is copyrighted. Questions? Contact Airiodion Global Services (AGS) .

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