So you’ve decided to go rogue. Forget traditional employment working for some company, you want to work for yourself. Freelancing is an option for many different types of jobs, and it can give you a lot of flexibility and freedom. You can make all your own decisions, including how much you get paid. You want to be fair but also keep your profit margins as high as possible. It can be difficult to set and negotiate a rate that works for both you and your clients, so here are some tips.
Research Market Value
You know what you’d like to get paid, but do you know if it’s a reasonable rate? Do some research to find the market value of your work and what is the average rate that freelancers get paid for it. This will give you a place to start, but it doesn’t mean you’ll charge the same price…
Know Your Worth
Your experience and skill levels will affect the rate you charge, and it will be above or below the average rate accordingly. If you’re highly experienced, you should expect a higher rate. You should never accept less money than you think you are worth (within reason, of course – we all think we’re worth a million bucks). Another way to think about your worth is to consider your previous salary at a job and what you were getting paid by the hour. That might also be a good starting point, but you should charge at least 25 percent more to make up differences in costs, time, and value.
Think It Through
You could determine a flat rate that you charge all clients, or you could determine the price on a per-project basis. If you do this, spend some time thinking it through before going to your client with a quote. Consider how many hours you’ll spend at each stage of the project and any additional costs you’ll incur. Write it all down so that when you’re negotiating, you can show your client exactly what their money is buying from you – lots of times people don’t realize all the work that goes into a project (no matter what that project is).
Be Confident and Firm
When you speak to your client and begin negotiating, it’s important that you act confident and warm. You should be firm without being closed off to compromise, and you should be friendly without letting your desire to please get the best of you. Don’t offer any “one-time” deals or special breaks – the client will only expect the same in the future, and others might, too.
If your client doesn’t want to pay the rate you’ve come up with, it doesn’t mean you have to lose them as a customer. Being open to compromise is just good business, and being unwilling to compromise may only result in no deal at all. If you don’t necessarily want to lower your rate, you can consider other compromises, such as slightly reducing the scope of the project, or shortening the timeline.
Charlie Adams is a marketing professional and business entrepreneur who loves to generate content with the intent of helping other business professionals.