When you first start freelancing, one of the first things you’ll probably struggle with is deciding how much to charge for your services.
After all, there are a good number of factors that have an effect on what that price should be. These could be things such as where you live (your market), your past experience, the skills you have acquired, and more.
It isn’t an easy thing to figure out, and you want to make sure you are getting paid what you are worth. At the same time, if you set your prices too high you might find yourself without enough work to pay your bills.
This is where people often get caught up in charging hourly for services.
The Problem With Charging Hourly
Charging by the hour might be a simple way to bill your clients, but it isn’t necessarily the best way.
If you don’t know exactly how long it will take you to perform your tasks, you might think charging hourly is the way to go. But, after a while, this can put a limit on how much you can earn. You can only work so many hours without losing your mind. The only way to make more is to work more hours.
This is why you should stop charging hourly for your services and instead begin charging by the job. The beauty of charing by the job is that you can earn a much higher hourly rate without your clients feeling gouged. In addition, as you become more experienced at what you do, you can charge even more.
If you’re still charging hourly, here are some tips to help you change your billing model and start earning more for your services.
1. Ask Others
Many freelancers know and make friends with other freelancers. Use this to your advantage by asking others how much they charge for similar services. This can help make sure your rates are similar to others in your field.
2. Do Research
There are plenty of different ways you can check out what other freelancers charge, even if you don’t know them personally. You can look for information in news articles, magazines, and search the internet. You can also ask a marketing consultant or firm how they set their prices when they submit a bid to their clients.
3. Use a Calculator
I am not saying you should use a desk or hand-held calculator. What I am talking about is the use of a pricing calculator.
A pricing calculator asks you some key questions that you may not even have thought of in order to help you come up with pricing for your services. Some of those questions include how many days of the week you plan to work, vacation days, sick days, and even your expenses. Then, they do the calculations for you.
Once you fill in the blanks, you can still make price adjustments on your own if you wish. Although the figure you get may be an hourly rate, using this method can, at the very least, give you a bottom line or starting point to determining what you should be charging.
For example, when pricing by the job instead of the hour, estimate the length of time the job will take and multiple by your hourly rate. Check out a pricing calculator, such as Beewits, to help. If that figure is below what the pricing calculator gave you then you can adjust to make sure you are a little higher than that.
Be careful! Using this method means you need to very accurate when determining the number of hours a project will take. You should always error on the side of caution and over-estimate how long it will take in order to prevent yourself from working for too low of a fee.
4. Stop charging hourly, rather, Negotiate
You need to be willing to discuss your rates with clients. You should not be afraid to ask for what you are worth and stay firm on your bottom price.
Don’t be wishy-washy or hesitate because if you do you could find yourself getting paid much less than you deserve for the services you provide. The first few times you have to negotiate a price with a client may be a bit uncomfortable for you, but after you have done it successfully a few times you won’t have any problem doing it again as you need to.
5. Be Flexible
Your time is a valuable asset not to be wasted, but you also need to build a little flexibility into your pricing.
Know what your bottom dollar is, but don’t start there when you submit a bid for a job. In fact, you should start at or close to the top of what you wish to be paid. Then, as you negotiate, you’ll have some wiggle room on the charge for each project.
6. Ask for the Client’s Budget
When you are first determining how much to charge for a job you could ask the client what their budget is or what they have previously paid other freelancers. You may find out their budget for the project is even higher than what you were going to ask for. This means more money in your pocket!
7. Additional Charges
What do you do if your client needs the work to be completed by a shortened deadline? Or if the project is a giant PITA (you know what I’m talking about!). This is when you charge more or add on additional fees.
I alway charge a rush fee if a client needs a shorter turn-around on a project that requires longer hours or rearranging my other work. If your client baulks at the figure, let them know the request is not reasonable based on a normal schedule.
When you are asked to complete a rush job you should get paid extra for it.
8. Consider Giving Yourself Raises
As your demand and skills increase over time it becomes necessary to raise your rates for each project. This not only helps you to increase your income, but it also allows you to get paid what you are worth for the job you do.
In addition, when you have a needy client who requires more of your time through meetings and emails, charge them more. All of these meetings and messages take time too and you should be compensated for time spent.
9. Choose Your Wording Carefully
One of the ways you can get away from charging hourly is to be cautious about your wording. Don’t ever tell them how long it will take to complete a project. Instead, just bid on the project. This way your client can’t divide the project price by the length of time it takes and become offended by an “hourly rate”.
Simply tell them you need a few days to work them into your schedule (they don’t know how many other jobs you have lined up) and can have the job done by a certain deadline for the agreed upon amount.
When you are a freelancer you want to ensure that you get paid well for the services you provide. It is possible to get away from charging hourly and make sure you get paid what you are worth.