So after a few weeks or months, you’ve finally been approached by a friend, a friend’s uncle, or the owner of that ice-cream shop down the street to do a job. Graphic, web, app, either way Congratulations! It doesn’t matter if you went out looking for business or it landed on your lap, this is your first step to becoming an e-n-t-r-e-p-r-e-n-e-u-r.
Yes, I know, it’s a big word for some of you just starting out, but don’t get intimidated or go self-doubting yourself now. In fact, I speak for most freelancers when I say that the hardest obstacle is overcoming yourself, but that’s another article for another day.
Now, after you’ve had a sit down to go over the project and have a solid idea of what the requirements are, you’re ready to tackle the most important, and most frequently asked question of a freelancer’s career –
“What are your rates like?”
This is a tough one. I’ll bet most of you who’ve been freelancing for some time will be able to remember doing jobs where you lost time, energy and effort in return for chump change. I know I can. Several times in fact.
Step one: What’s your hourly rate?
For those of you who already know this, fast forward to the next step. But if you’re just starting out, this is the most important step you need to take. It’s not quantum molecular astrophysics, but failing to calculate a comfortable hourly rate may discourage you to get on board the freelancing bandwagon.
I once made the mistake of letting the client decide my hourly rate for me, never again. Unless it pays with 3 additional zeros and you can complete it with one hand on the laptop and another holding a slice of pizza, then by all means, take it.
But for us who are not so lucky, Motiv is a useful hourly rate calculator app that does the trick. There are only 3 sections you need to fill out. They take into account your preferred lifestyle, personal expenses and monthly costs. Be honest with yourself in section 1, this will help you calculate a desired lifestyle, not a life you see on MTV or VH1.
Step two: How much is this project worth to you?
Now once you’ve gotten a comfortable hourly rate, the next thing is to find out how much to charge your client. For this, head over to thenuschool. I really like the simplicity of this online calculator. It’s amusing, but very true to life scenarios. Unlike most sites that give you a dead deal formula, this actually combines the nature of your job, client size, the amount of interest you have in the project, and how it will impact your life. Just 5 simple steps, and you’ve got a solid project price for any type of client for any graphic design job!
Alright, so that’s it! If you’re having a tough time determining your charges, have a go at both steps. Even as I look at my current freelance graphic design rates, both sites have been extremely useful to help me gain some awesome insight into the way I charge my clients.