As a designer, I’ve spent a good time trying to figure out what to charge, what’s fair and trying to be nice to everyone. Instead of basing my rates off of the current market rate or even a fair price in exchange for the work put in, I’d charge based on what I thought would get the client to easily say yes, or what I thought they could afford. As a freelance creative, there are so many things wrong with that. Below I am going to share my experiences and give a few tips on setting rates and getting what you deserve.
What’s the Going Rate?
Do some market research and find out what a person with your expertise and experience makes per year in your state. Find out the average salary both hourly and annually. This will help you to set a fair and competitive rate for services in your industry. In addition, find a few people that work in your field as well, find out their rates and pricing as well. From my personal experience after doing this, it really opened my eyes and I came to the realization that by low balling, I am not only cheating myself, but the client as well. Here’s the reason why: If you’re cheap, there’s a few things that just don’t go hand in hand. For me it was that I was cheap and gave good quality, but with being tied down with tons of projects just to pay my standard bills it was hard to get everything out on time. Below is a diagram to better explain what I mean here.
This diagram was shared with me by one of my close friends years ago. It helped me to understand about setting my rates and how it all goes hand in hand. You can give someone a fast, cheap product, you’re more likely to lose quality. If you have great quality work, with cheap prices, you’re more than likely going to have to wait awhile and last – if you want something timely and good quality, it’s simply going to cost you.
Take the time to sit down and write out all of your bills – and I mean ALL. Find out how much it costs you to live and maintain the essentials you need to work and produce at a high quality. This will help in setting your as well.Being a freelancer the main things I need to work are high speed WIFI, a MacBook and a phone, aside from other standard monthly bills. If you have set your prices so low that you struggle to keep the bare necessities, you need rethink your strategy and review your rates. I am a firm believer that artists should not have to struggle, especially once you get to a certain level in your career. There comes a time where you have to look out for yourself and stop trying to be nice in business.
I Got the Hook Up
Part of knowing your worth as a freelancer includes not giving out hookups and discounts to people all the time. This decreases the value of your work and people begin to expect something for nothing. You don’t want to end up always getting the short end of the stick and begin to burnout and lose passion for something you love. I’ve been in situations where I wanted to help someone and found myself doing a website in exchange for a pair of flip flops. I look back and think to myself, ” GIRL,what were your thinking?!” LOL. That’s a $2500+ project for a pair of shoes….sure, it was a nice, polite gesture, but it wasn’t fair to myself.
“I think I’ve realized that business and being polite [don’t] match. You can be fair, but me being polite was not me being fair to myself.” – Beyonce
Presentation plays a big part in actually getting what you’re worth. When going into meetings – look professional, no matter how well you may know the client. I am not saying wear a blazer, dress and heels all the time but, put your best foot forward.
When you present things to clients, pull out all the bells and whistles. Create a deck for your presentation to give to clients and use fancy mock ups where necessary.
Looking the part plays a big role in potential clients taking you seriously and valuing what you can provide for them.
By doing the above things – it will put you on the right path as a freelance creative towards getting what you deserve and being able to provide your client with the best service and experience when working with you. There used to be time where I was piled up mile high with work and could barely pay bills. You have to charge a fair rate to avoid that unnecessary stress and work with people that understand the value of what you’re giving them.
Feel free to share your client experiences below or comment for advice 🙂