Freelance 101: Build your Hourly

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Build your Hourly

Now that you’ve gotten your business plan/dreams down on paper, you’ve got to determine how much to charge. This is probably the hardest part determining how much your work is worth! I personally bill hourly and would suggest to price yourself that way too. Simple because changing a flat rate can really screw you over at times- with some clients it might only take 12 hours to design a logo, and with others 25 plus hours. Therefore if you bill yourself hourly, firstly your clients will respect the time you put into the work, and also personally you’ll be more accountable to working productively. It’s so hard to give a ball park of what exactly to charge because it’s honestly different with every person, depending on your experience, living standards and the area in which you live. My advice is for you to do some research online to figure out how much people are charging at about your level of experience. Also take into account that if it’s your first year or two freelancing probably charging $150/per hour won’t get you very many clients, if any at all. A couple of great post that really go into the detail of it all, and can help calculate your hourly is over at The Design Trust or Vale Design

The one thing I can say about pricing is that you need value yourself- the work, effort and time you put into it. It took a long time for me not to feel nervous about pricing myself high. Learn to see your own self worth, and value to work you do. I see great designers out there that are designing and charging only $20USD for ready made logos on Etsy. I don’t want to hate, but first off, that’s just lowering the standards and prices for good design by providing such ready made logos. Secondly, ready made logo services are for boring companies like Vistaprint, who actually don’t really care about design- they’re like the corporates of the fast food industry- undercutting all worth and value for quality food. Ready made, cheap prices= undercutting yourself and the design industry.

I think the first time where I realized I should be pricing myself quiet a lot higher was when I realized that my work is pivotal for a company’s image. As designers we play a huge part as to how others view and see the company. That value we give to a company is really unmeasurable and can make the world’s difference for them. If it places such value on a company, why shouldn’t we learn to value our own work. The busier I got, I started raising my prices and realized that people were still willing to pay, because my work was worth it! I did undercharge at the beginning, but the good thing about that was I got to build my portfolio and experience the industry. Though, my confidence in myself as a designer has grown significantly since then and I hesitate far less quoting on projects. When you show your potential clients how much you’re worth by pricing yourself higher, they will also see and value your work for what it really is, hopefully too.

Read More, Internet Less

1. Handbook for Pricing & Ethical Guidelines by Graphic Artist Guild
The GAG’s purpose is to promote and protect the social, economic and professional interests for all creatives alike, graphic designers, illustrators, animators, etc. They aim to improve the working conditions and raise the standards for the entire industry. This book is as it suggests- a guideline for pricing and ethical rights as a designer. All I can say is it’s saved me from selling out myself far too many times!

It’s so very important to love and value ourselves, outside and inside the world of design. I’m telling you guys this in hopes of helping the ones that are just starting off, so they can just skip the step of a lack of self worth! Or maybe it’s just all a part of the journey?

Let me know your thoughts, and pass this on to a designer friend who needs to hear this! Also thanks to all of you out there reading this and for your wonderful feedback thus far. Ps. If you have any other freelance questions you’d like me to answer send them my way!

x. Bee