In today’s blog post & associated YouTube video I want to help you brainstorm how much to charge for your freelance services. Make sure you watch til the end because I’m going to give you a free calculations worksheet to use for calculating your freelancing profit goals!
This is for anyone to learn, whether you’re new to freelancing, experienced, or even a pro at it! No matter where you are on your freelancing journey, it’s a good idea to revisit your freelance service prices every 6 months or so to decide if it’s time to adjust them.
We will have 3 lessons today: you’ll learn about freelance service payment styles, how to do a reverse calculation to determine your desired hourly rate, and how to adjust your prices over time.
Keep reading the blog format. Or watch it over on YouTube here:
First things first, decide how you want to get paid. Which style is most ideal for you, where you’re selling, the services you’ll offer?
How do you prefer to get paid?
Which style can allow you to get paid closer to your worth?
Which website/platform are you selling on and what’s most popular there?
Is it a small project that’s easy to estimate how long it will take?
Is it a larger project that’s tough to estimate how long it will take?
Once you have thought through all of that, next you’ll want to choose how to get paid for your freelance services.
There are 4 payment styles to choose from:
Word count (or length) rate
On a freelancing platform like Fiverr.com, project rate and word count or length rate are most common. Whereas on a freelancing platform like Upwork.com, all of the above can be worked out.
Hourly rate or daily rate are nice to use if you have no clue how long the project will take you. Whereas a project rate is nice to use if you can easily estimate how much time a project will take you.
Word count (or length) rate is a super easy way to charge for writing, editing/proofreading, voiceovers, and spokesperson videos.
To give you an example, for most of my Fiverr videos I have been doing this for long enough now that I charge a Project rate because I know how long it takes me to film and edit a short video. But for writing gigs, I charge by the word count or page length. And if I am on Upwork, most buyers like to do an hourly rate because that’s how proposals are submitted, so I will do hourly there.
Think these things through and choose which is best for each of your services and where you’re listing them online.
Next up is to decide what to charge for your freelance services based on how much you want to make for the year.
One way to do this (if you’ve already had some experience freelance selling for a bit) is to decide how much you desire to profit that year. Then, do a reverse calculation to determine how much you should charge hourly to reach that goal.
For example, let’s say I want to make $50,000/year. Dividing that goal by 12 months, I would want to make greater than $4,167/month. On average, I complete 50 orders a month so dividing $4,167 by 50 comes out to needing to make at least $83/order. Most of my orders are short <1min videos that take me about 15-minutes on average to fulfill (plan/film/edit/deliver). So I can use this reverse calculation to decide that I should charge >$83 per video roughly. This is an hourly rate of $332 which sounds great to me! So now I know how to list my freelance services for a project rate or hourly rate. I can list them that way and when people message me before buying, I can always adjust my quote accordingly.
Of course, you’ll want to re-do this calculation each year as you get more experience, more orders under your belt, and more credibility.
Side note: keep in mind expenses, too. Personally, I don’t have many expenses for the services I offer. I already have my camera, tripod, and lighting. So I just pay like $10/mo for editing software - that’s it. But if you have more expenses, you’d want to subtract those from how much you want to make each year/month before doing the calculations.
Extra side note: Don’t forget that this is pre-tax and pre-investing in your health and future. As a freelancer, you’ll still need to pay taxes on this profit. And you’ll still need to cover your own health insurance and 401k or savings! You’d want to subtract those from how much you want to make each year/month before doing the calculations.
Want to do this reverse calculation for yourself?
I’ve made a free Canva worksheet for you to plug numbers into - the link to it is below - try it out!
Adjusting Prices over Time
As a new freelance seller, my #1 tip for you is start with super low rates. Why? It will allow you to get your first few orders quicker so you can accrue completed orders and positive reviews. Don’t charge your worth or your hourly rate yet. Just start small.
Then, every six months or so, assess how your gigs are doing and if you want to increase prices or not.
Reasons to increase prices:
Your time supply < demand (you’re spread thin and can’t make enough time to complete all the orders you’re getting)
You have gotten >25 5-star reviews
You have very little competition for that specific service
You are an expert in a specialized niche
You have done additional training or received more certifications for a specialty
You got a promotion on the freelance platform you sell on (for example you got Top Seller or Fiverr Pro)
Feel free to increase your prices whenever you want! And if it negatively impacts sales, you can always lower them later. Experiment and test things out.
Use all three of those things to help you with your decision on how much to charge for freelancing. And when in doubt, go with your gut feeling and experiment to see what works.
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