Setting Rates as a Freelancer

One of the hardest things about being a freelancer is setting your own rates. As a writer, do you want to be paid by word or by hour? As a general freelancer, how much is your content and hard work worth? You never want to come across too arrogant and risk being shot down by asking for too much, but aiming low means you could be getting ripped off.

Let’s talk about how much you should be charging your clients.

First of all, what’s your ideal salary?

Think about how much you’d like to be earning per year. Then, consider the costs of doing business, including things like laptop purchases and repairs, subscriptions to any software you might need, allowances for uncollected payments, and so on. Also make sure you factor things in like healthcare costs and self-employment tax.

Add all the new bits on to your original ideal salary, and that’s the salary you should be aiming for. Then, calculate how many hours you’ll be working per year, taking off vacations, holidays and sick days.

Divide your adjusted annual salary by the billable hours per year, and that’s the salary you should be aiming for per hour!

How to price projects

Now you know what your hourly rate should look like, you need to know how to apply it to specific projects. Think about how long you will take to complete the project by breaking down the tasks.

Consider the following questions:

  • What value and skills do you bring to the table?
  • Will the project require administration work or additional tasks?
  • How often will you be speaking to the client?
  • What is the client’s specific budget?

Pricing is always very situation-dependent, so you have to maximize your salary but not put the client off. Deliver an estimate at first and offer to negotiate if the client seems skeptical.

Show off your talents

If you’re selling yourself well enough, a client will definitely be willing to pay more. When applying to a job or negotiating with a client, assert yourself and show exactly what you bring to the table.

It’s important to not underestimate yourself. Make sure you come across as confident and can prove that you have the requisite skills and abilities. If you stand out above the rest, clients will be willing to pay extra to hire you for high quality work.

A golden rule of pricing as a freelancer is that if you don’t ask, you don’t get! Asking for money can always be nerve-wracking, but the worst that can happen is that you lose a client. And if that client was going to be underpaying you, then you’re better off without that job!

In summary, working out rates is a difficult thing to do. You need to base it on making a living for yourself, as well as adapting it to fit the client’s budget and the extent of the project. Just like all other things to do with freelancing, you will get better at feeling it out with time and practice.

Freelancing is a job. If after a time you are not able to get the rates you want there are two options:

  • Learn new skills to be able to ask more.
  • Change your activity.

There is nothing worst than work with the feeling that you are loosing time.

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