Whether you’re a writer, designer, programmer, videographer, or another creative type, working as a creative freelancer certainly has its perks. You get to make your own schedule, take on interesting projects, and receive a paycheck for something that you love doing. However, one area in which many freelancers struggle is figuring out what to charge for their services. How to price services can be a tricky debate. It isn’t easy to strike the right balance. You want to be compensated fairly for your work, and of course, you want to be able to live comfortably and pay your bills. On the other hand, you don’t want to price yourself out of competition or give out an amateur rate. What are some things to keep in mind when figuring out what to charge your clients? Here are six things to think about.
- Will you charge per hour or per project?
An hourly rate is something that many clients can relate to; they probably bill by the hour, so when you do it, it makes sense. However, if your estimate for what an hourly project will cost doesn’t match reality, you risk upsetting your client or getting woefully underpaid. Many freelancers prefer to charge per project, but if a client requests a lot of changes, you may find that your project rate is too low. Ultimately, you’ll want to determine the scope of a project and how efficiently you believe you can get it done before figuring out which price structure works best for you.
- What’s the market value of the work you’re doing?
The market value is an average of what freelancers charge for the type of work you do, and while it doesn’t represent the extremes or take into account the specifics of each individual job situation, it’s still an important number to look at. What’s more, while you can price yourself above or beyond the average market value, you probably don’t want to stray too far from it. Charge too much, and your client may have sticker shock; go too low, and the client may wonder if you can deliver quality work.
- What exactly does the job entail?
Knowing what’s expected from a particular job can help you price it. Are you expected to simply complete and deliver a file? Or will you be expected to meet with the client several times and make revisions as requested? You’ll want to find out — and then price accordingly.
- Avoid surprises by going over your fees and billing before getting started.
If the client knows what you’ll be charging beforehand, you’ll save yourself a lot of potential hassles once the job is complete. As for billing, many freelancers will complete a job and then invoice the client. However, for bigger, more involved projects, you might consider a three-part payment: one third of your fee paid upfront, one third when your first draft or effort is turned in, and the final third when the last agreed upon revision is complete.
- Track your time and effort so you can price future projects more accurately.
Pricing is always a work in progress, and you learn more about what to charge with each project you complete.
- Remember that each project is unique.
A one-size-fits-all-pricing structure rarely works for freelancers. You’ll want to consider each job’s scope, as well as the budget that the client has in mind. Another big thing to think about is if the job is a one-off or if it will lead to more, perhaps consistent work.
Talking about money and fees can be difficult when you’re a freelancer. You got into your line of work to make a living out of what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about, not to crunch numbers. However, it comes with the territory, and knowing how to price your services is essential. Keep these six points in mind, and it should be a little bit easier.