One of common challenges of working freelance jobs is setting a price. While it might seem simple to align specific services with a fee, the fact is that for many types of freelancers—from graphic and web designers to copywriters and book editors—there’s no universal price tag for every freelance project.
As you begin to set your pricing structure, it’s helpful to think of the process as more art than science, with many nuances based on the specifics of each project. Below are three tips on how you can confidently set and negotiate your freelance rates with clients.
How to Set Prices for Freelance Jobs
1. Determine the Scope of Work
When a potential client presents you with a freelance project and asks what you’d charge, don’t be too quick to answer. While you may be eager to land the client and secure their business, it’s important to first get a clear idea of exactly how much work you’re agreeing to. With that in mind, before quoting a price, have a “scope of work” conversation with the client.
Your goal should be to find out the full range of the project’s requirements. This is because not every project with the same classification involves an equal amount of work.
For example, for blog posts, one client may require extensive research, interviewing, or integrating brand material into the article, while another may simply have you write short-form posts based on your experience. The word count may also vary widely between projects, and while some will be one-off assignments, others may require multiple submissions each month.
Ensure that both parties have a clear idea, in writing, of exactly what the deliverables will be and how many hours a project is projected to take. This due diligence will help clarify the full scope of work from the outset so that you can set a fair price.
2. Decide Between an Hourly or Flat Freelance Rates
Once you’ve nailed down the scope of work as accurately as possible, the next step is to determine how you will charge your rates. Two common fee structures for freelance projects are hourly rates and flat fees (also called “per-project fees” that offer the client one price for the full project, no matter how many hours it takes you to complete it).
Again, be mindful when thinking through which fee structure to offer your clients for various types of freelance projects. If you quote an hourly rate, most clients will still want to know approximately how many hours you anticipate billing to the job, which you’ll be able to estimate based on your earlier scope of work conversation.
A flat fee can also work well for clients, since they won’t get surprised by a big bill if a project takes longer than expected. But if “scope creep” occurs when additional tasks stretch the hours beyond those estimated for the project, a flat rate can backfire for the freelancer.
When setting a flat rate, use scope of work as your guide, and build in a clause to renegotiate if the scope expands beyond the hours that you’ve projected. Taking this “in-between” approach can help freelancers avoid getting stuck with extra unpaid work on a project.
3. Consult Industry Resources
When honing in on either your hourly rate or your flat fee for specific types of freelance projects, it’s important to be aware of general industry benchmarks. While there’s no definitive industry rate that will work for every client, you can still rely on some average or typical pricing ranges for projects if you know where to find them.
Freelance copywriters and editors, for example, can turn to the annual edition of Writer’s Market to confirm both per hour and per project rates for a wide range of writing services, from ghostwriting and proofreading to business editing, technical writing, web editing, and much more.
The book provides low, high, and average rates for each type of writing and editorial project, which gives freelancers an excellent starting point for fee negotiations. It also gives you leverage with clients, because you can quote a price from a definitive industry resource based on your experience level.
Set Your Freelance Rates With Confidence
While setting prices with clients may feel nerve-racking, over time you’ll discover a “sweet spot” in pricing for your client base. By keeping your fees flexible to account for scope of work and having an industry benchmark in mind for your common services, you’ll soon be able to propose your freelance rates with authority and gain respect from your clients.
Ready to find your next freelance gig? Check out Remote.co’s freelance job postings today!
By Robin Madell | March 19, 2021 | Categories: Work Remotely
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