Examples of Standard Consulting Rates

I often enough get asked on standard rates for consulting, as well as for stipends, honoraria, and speaker fees. Documenting here for my ease of reference and in case useful for others, and looking forward to updating as I learn more.

Stipends vary a lot based on the type of work and time duration.

Honoraria are so often a thanks (often $250-1,000 for a presentation, grant review panel, or several days of work) that are viewed as in addition to a salary.

From what I’ve seen for consulting rates, these are normally first-and-only-job rates, and are often $100-125/hour for experts. Guidance like this example from NSF explains: “For consultants, you must ensure their services are justified; salaries are reasonable and within the NSF daily allowance of $600 per day; and project billing is accurate.” Also, the US Federal Government has general daily maximums:

Daily Pay Limitation: Unless specifically authorized by an appropriation or other statute, an agency subject to chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, may not pay an expert or consultant for any 1 day an aggregate amount of pay (including basic pay, locality pay, and premium pay) that exceeds the daily rate for GS-15, step 10 (excluding locality pay or any other additional pay). (See General Schedule pay tables.)

For speaker fees, I used to try and track a lot of sources to get a general benchmark. Doing so was complicated and less useful than the single benchmark presented by the always awesome Dr. Julian Chambliss, who provides an overview of his talks, audiences, and fees on his website. For many years, I’ve just referred folks to his site as a starting point for considering where they are speaking, type of event, type of presentation, etc.

Again, looking forward to updating this with more examples over time!