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How much should you charge your clients?

How much should I charge my client? A question many beginning freelancers are always concerned with.

If I could just say, “You only need to charge this for this,” I would. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. I do however, have some nice little pointers for you to follow that will make the whole process much easier.

Now some people like to charge an hourly rate which is fine, but to me it’s not very effective business wise. It can overcomplicate things with the client later in the project, especially if you end up adding extra hours. I believe clients like to have a nice solid up front price from beginning to end with little to no changes. So if you like the hourly rate, but are still having trouble, try Freelance Switch’s hourly rate calculator for some guidance.

The Pricing Elements

For starters, you need to know what project you have. So after the brief is all filled out, you’ll need to assess how much work you will have. What is your time and effort worth to you for this project? If a client came to you for work, they obviously have some faith in your abilities, so don’t sell yourself short.

You’ll also want to figure out how much your experience is worth. If you just started, you don’t have much experience, so your cost will be lower in this area compared to someone with a few decades under their belt. If you are in high demand, you’ll really want to add a little more money. Let people know your worth.

The size of the business that came to you also matters. If they are a giant company like a fortune 500, then you will naturally charge a lot more than a small business.

The time it will take to finish a project is a big deal too. If you have a lot of time that’s good, but if the client wants something in a few days, you will probably want to charge more. This is because you will have to but off other projects just to focus on the one. You will also be putting all your efforts into the one so you can get everything done on time.

The Technicals

After you are done figuring out a cost, present it to the client. Don’t get negotiated down. If this is what you believe you’re time and efforts are worth, you shouldn’t feel like you need to change the cost.

No matter what, you should always accept some sort of down payment before you start a project. This is to make sure that the client is serious about the work, and that if something happens, your time was not wasted. Some designers take 50% of the total cost, but it’s really up to you. I divide my total cost into plans sort of like a lay-a-way.

One of the things I like to do is divide up the payments with the parts of the work I do. For example, I need the first payment to start the work, I need the second payment after approval of the sketches so I can start on revisions, and I will need the final payment to send final work and files. Whatever you work out is up to you, just make sure you get that first payment before you start anything.

It’s also a good idea to convert the cost if you client is in another country. That way if the value of money fluctuates from one place to another, the agreed upon price is solid.


In the end, the price still remains up to you, but at least now you have a little more insight. One thing you want to keep in mind is that you don’t want to under or over charge. If you under charge, the client may think your work is cheap and not worth it. On the other hand, if you over charge, a client may say something bad about your work versus costs. It’s really up to you though. With time and practice, you will find a solution that works for you, and that’s all that really matters.

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