Automan_Empire - 1:38 am on Oct 25, 2005 (gmt 0)
You may feel "new" but don't let your client sense that- even this friend of yours!
Billing all hours at the regular rate then discounting it, even to zero, is a good idea!
As far as your pay while you are learning, try to quote a reasonable flat-rate of hours for the job or subtask. If you figure it will be a 10-hour job once you are up to speed on that particular task, bill 10 hours at the regular rate. Keep track of the flag time (actual time) spent, to help you refine future estimates. You may take twice as long to actually do the job as someone experienced would, but the customer doesn't need to see either that, or your "discounted training rate," for this would only diminish your professional stature. While you are learning, you "eat" the excess time that goes unbilled. When you are really good, you can consistently beat the industry-standard flag times for jobs, but you don't LOWER your rate then- that is your PROFIT for having paid your DUES.
Building or repairing a complex thing, be it a green widget, a website, or a program, is the sort of task that inherently defies estimating accurately how long it will take. Experience in the business makes the process smoother and more accurate. While you are gaining that experience, don't be afraid to ask for, and receive, adequate compensation for your work!