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 becharging your clients.
First of all, what’s your ideal salary?
Think about how much you’d like to beearning per year. Then, consider the costs of doing business, including thingslike laptop purchases and repairs, subscriptions to any software you mightneed, allowances for uncollected payments, and so on. Also make sure you factorthings in like healthcare costs and self-employment tax.
Add all the new bits on to your originalideal salary, and that’s the salary you should be aiming for. Then, calculatehow many hours you’ll be working per year, taking off vacations, holidays andsick days.
Divide your adjusted annual salary by thebillable hours per year, and that’s the salary you should be aiming for perhour!
How to price projects
Now you know what your hourly rate shouldlook like, you need to know how to apply it to specific projects. Think abouthow long you will take to complete the project by breaking down the tasks.
Consider the following questions:
- What value and skills do youbring to the table?
- Will the project requireadministration work or additional tasks?
- How often will you be speakingto the client?
- What is the client’s specificbudget?
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, aclient will definitely be willing to pay more. When applying to a job ornegotiating with a client, assert yourself and show exactly what you bring tothe table.
It’s important to not underestimateyourself. Make sure you come across as confident and can prove that you havethe requisite skills and abilities. If you stand out above the rest, clientswill be willing to pay extra to hire you for high quality work.
A golden rule of pricing as a freelancer isthat if you don’t ask, you don’t get! Asking for money can always benerve-wracking, but the worst that can happen is that you lose a client. And ifthat client was going to be underpaying you, then you’re better off withoutthat 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.