Wherever you are on the path of a creative entrepreneur, establishing your payment rates is one of the trickiest parts. This isn’t an easy subject, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the question: “How do I set my rates as a freelancer?”
1. Consider your value:
Don’t undersell your value. You need to set rates that allow you to thrive, not just survive, while still attracting clients.
So you need to take into consideration the value you’re providing to the client, by solving a problem for them. For instance, if you’re designing a website landing page, you aren’t just doing design work. You’re actually helping the client convert those who arrive on that landing page into paying customers.
It’s a balancing act, because if rates are too high, you may not be able to attract clients. If you set rates too low, you may not make enough to be profitable. Even the most veteran freelancers still worry about the reactions of clients to their price quotes, or spend a lot of time thinking about how to justify their freelance rates. That’s part of process.
2. Experiment with your rates and maximize your income:
You also need to understand your costs of doing business. You have to ensure you establish your minimum freelance graphic designer salary, for example, that you will pay yourself after all your costs are covered. After all, once you understand what your minimum is, everything above that is profit.
You need to be clear and consistent with your worth – mention it in your proposal, and use your freelance contract for support. This holds true whether it’s an hourly rate or per project, so that you can clearly explain to clients why the rate is set at those numbers, and what they can expect from the fee.
3. Factor in your experience:
Good work has a price tag. If you’re a new designer, for instance, and you want to gain experience, you may be willing to do work at a lower price in order to build your freelance portfolio website and gain experience.
But remember that providing your clients with good design, or any form of freelance work, is a valuable service and you deserve compensation. The client is receiving a benefit by having quality work done without the expenses that come with having an employee on staff.
So your freelance graphic designer hourly rate, or that established by any creative entrepreneur, needs to be fair and reasonable. Sell your clients on your dependability, responsiveness and unique skill set.
4. Be flexible:
There are other factors that play into establishing freelance rates. You can look at some work from a project perspective, and charge for the entire project. You can consider hourly rates.
As a designer, you can establish a freelance graphic design price list to cover all of the services you offer.
5. Consider retainer agreements:
As you get more clients, and consistent work from those clients, you can also consider entering into a retainer agreement.
Some clients may prefer that kind of arrangement, in which you are guaranteed to be paid a certain rate in exchange for a preset number of hours or projects per month.
Depending on the agreement, you can be paid a lump sum up front, to cover work for an entire year. You can get monthly payments, even establishing a mechanism to automatically receive freelance recurring payments. You can also be paid a fee for being available to the client.
Retainers can be a great way to ensure you have one form of consistent cash flow.
Do you have more tips on setting freelance design rates? Make sure to share with us in the comments below