How we charge clients

<%= @topic_view.topic.title %>
<%= @topic_view.topic.average_rating %> <%= @topic_view.topic.posts.count { |p| !!p.custom_fields['rating'] } %>

We charge clients for Discourse customisations by billable hours. Before work on a project starts, we give a billable hours quote, based on our estimation of how long each task in the project will take. The price that we charge for each billable hour depends on the service level and any applicable discounts.


This is an overview of our prices. The service levels and discounts are explained in more detail below, as is our pricing philosophy. Please also note that our approach to pricing sits within our approach to project management, and that the rates mentioned here are subject to change.

We give you a quote for work based on our calculation of

  • Billable Hours. We define billable hours as the average amount of time it will take a competent worker to complete the type of task we’re billing for.

  • Rate. Billable hours attract different rates depending on:

    • The level of service:

      • Standard: $150 USD or $175 USD / hr

      • Budget: $125 USD / hr

    • The type of task: Software Development or Product Management

  • Discounts. We have two discounts: Popular Open Source (-20%) and Charitable (-20%).


Our initial quote is an estimate to give you a sense of how much the work will cost. A quote may be amended if the amount of time a task or series of tasks actually takes a component worker to complete is substantailly greater or less than what has been quoted. We try hard to get out estimates right to avoid this if possible.

We let the client know as soon as possible if we think a task will take substantially longer than the estimated time. This gives the client an opportunity to:

  • amend their requirements to circumvent the need for additional time; and / or
  • approve more billable hours on the task than initially quoted.

If a task has taken substantially less time than quoted, we also tell the client and only charge for the number of billable hours actually spent.

Prices in Detail

Service Levels

Standard Service

If you want to get Discourse work done right, to consistent professional standards, our standard service is for you. You will be assigned an experienced Discourse software developer and, if we judge your job requires project management, an experienced Discourse product manager.

Software Development Rate: $175 USD / hr

Project Management Rate: $150 USD / hr

Budget Service

If you want to get Discourse work done on a tight budget our Budget service is for you. You will be assigned a developer who is “in-training” when it comes to Discourse work. They are still getting to grips with the Discourse codebase so projects may take longer and have more bugs to work out in the testing phase.

Any work done under the budget service must be open source. The work has to be open source so we can effectively work with the developer “in-training”. This does not necessarily mean that the work will also attract our discount for “Popular Open Source” work. As explained below, we give this discount for open source work that is already widely used, or that we judge will be widely used.

If we judge your job requires project management you will only be billed for the hours the assigned Product Manager spends adding value to your project definition and trajectory. You will not be billed for any time spent teaching or managing the developer in-training.

Software Development Rate: $125 USD / hr

Project Management Rate: $125 USD / hr

Type of task

We provide two types of service which relate to the type of tasks we bill for: Software Development and Product Management.

Software Development

Our software development service involves building, fixing and improving Discourse and Discourse customisations.

Our software developers are experienced with the Discourse codebase. This means our code is:

  • written according to best practices in Discourse;

  • less likely to break over time; and

  • high performing.

Product Management

Our product management service involves

  • Discourse Project Management: Management of Discourse software development projects. This is described in some detail in How we work with clients.

  • Discourse Site Administration: Performing, or teaching, administration of Discourse installations.

  • Discourse Community Strategy: Advice on how to setup, build and maintain your community.

We don’t bill simply for communication. We’re not a law firm. We don’t strictly bill for every 7 minutes we spend chatting with you. We do bill for our project management expertise that adds value to a project by applying our experience:

  • with software development projects

  • working with online communities; and

  • working with Discourse

Not all Discourse software development projects require product management. Some are simple enough to just be coded and delivered. However, we find that most projects are not like this, even if they seem so at first.

If we determine that a project requires managing, the billable project management hours we quote are not severable from the billable software development hours. They come as a package. Billable project management hours are typically less than billable software development hours, and are often in the order of 1 to 3 hours. They are also billed at a lower rate.


We have two discounts: Popular Open Source and Charity, both of which mean your applicable rate will be reduced by 20%. The discounts cannot be used cumulatively.

Popular Open Source

If a task concerns an:

  • existing popular open source Discourse customisation; or

  • an open source Discourse customisation we consider will be popular


We give a discount to organisations or individuals we consider to be working for a charitable or otherwise socially beneficial purpose.

Pricing Philosophy

We determine our rates and discounts according to three principles, which are part of our broader philosophy as an organisation:

  1. Fair price. Pavilion exists to empower communities, large and small. We work with communities run by some of largest companies in the world and communities run by just one person. We’ve worked hard to offer our paid services at different levels to allow a variety of clients to afford them. We have consciously chosen to not just target the top end of the market, even though this would increase our profits. We don’t exist to simply squeeze as much profit out of the market as we can.

  2. Fair compensation. Pavilion also exists to empower our members. We believe that work should be fairly compensated and that unpaid or underpaid labour is exploitative. We also strongly believe that our services provide value for money. You may find cheaper prices elsewhere, however you will not find cheaper prices for the same level of quality, dedication and support.

  3. Sustainability. We open-source a lot of our work, and spend a significant portion of our time maintaining our open source work. For that to be sustainable we also have to charge a reasonable price for our paid services. Our open source and paid work are symbiotic with each other. This symbiosis also benefits our clients, by giving them a wider range of options to achieve their goals.

Feel free to respond below with any questions or reflections about our prices and how they fit with our pricing philosophy, and our broader organisationaly philisophy.