How to Price your Work as a Freelance Graphic Designer

Finding a good balance between how much you work and how much you are paid is one of those things that freelance graphic designers need to learn on their own as they grow. Only you know how much you are worth. But it does depend on a few factors that help figure that out. Asking other designers how they do it can give you a good idea for how to do it yourself. Asking mentors and teachers how they suggest you do it can also help. Today we will explain some important things about pricing your work as a graphic designer which will hopefully help you figure out how much to charge for what kind of work.

How your qualifications affect pricing

The amount of money you spent on your studies is one of the considerable factors when knowing how much to charge. If you did a four year Bachelor’s degree in a prestigious design school and it cost over 45 thousand dollars, then you are more suited to charge 1000$ for a logo. In another case, if you are a self-taught designer who has taken some courses online then you are more suited to charge 200$ for a logo. This situation changes as you grow in your field. If you start off as a self-taught designer but then do some really amazing jobs that your clients love, you can easily scale your prices up to reach even as high as a designer with a degree.

The charging by the hour conundrum

One of the worst things that freelance designers do is charge per hour. Let me explain why. When you are new and don’t have many clients you sometimes fall into a pit of doubt if a design is ready or not. It might also happen that you don’t know how to communicate with difficult clients. New designers take longer to get things done. When you get better at your craft, you take less time to create amazing things. So how does charging per hour work when the situation can change so much? Not only does it change, its different for everyone. It’s unstable and uncontrollable. You don’t really know how long sketching for a logo will take until you’ve done it a few times. Let’s say a client hires you for 12$ dollars per hour but tells you that they’ve only got 200$ for the project. What do you do if you take longer than the hours covered by that amount? Charge more? They won’t pay you because they don’t have any more. Do you work for free until you’re done? Do you abandon the project? Either way, you have either succeeded in disappointing that client or making yourself feel terrible. If you are very experienced and designing a flyer takes you one hour, it would make no sense to charge per hour! Why should your work cost less when it takes you less time to do? And also, would you ever tell a client, “that will take me an hour”? Never. You tell them it will be half a day, so that way you can double check your work, take a break in between, have a coffee before sending the final designs, etc. Working per hour is a conundrum that all freelance designers should stay away from. So how should it be done? You need to charge per project. But how much per project you say… There are a few ways of figuring that out.

Write down all your data

To better know how much your work is worth and how much to charge, you have to write down how long it takes you to do everything with every single client. Create a spreadsheet where you can fill in how long it takes for research, sketching, drafting, skype calls, actual digital designing, revisions, etc. This is the only way to know how long projects are really taking. Also in the spreadsheet add how much you are being paid. Hopefully, you are charging per project! Once you have analyzed a few jobs you will know better how much your time is worth. Calculating how much you made per project and then putting into account all your overhead will make it even easier. This might be more a complex calculation, like how much electricity are you using per hour with your computer. Or if you are working in a coworking space, how much is your per day subscription. Is what you are charging, covering all the costs?

Pricing per project with options

After you have analyzed all that information, you will be able to package projects into different categories for example. For example, a simple logo in a flat design with two revisions is worth so much, a complex 3D logo with infinite revisions is worth more and so on. When you have all your processes in a spreadsheet you can figure out how much to charge according to your client’s project. And also that way, you can send them options. If they want a social media pack you can offer a 2 template pack or a 6 template pack.  

Raise your prices regularly

As you grow as a designer, so should raise your prices. When you notice that you are working a lot but you aren’t really covering costs, it’s time to raise prices. If you move into an actual office or hire helpers and staff, it’s time to raise your prices. Never raise them too much for your regular clients though. Let them know with time that you will be putting up your prices for new clients but only a little bit for them. Always keep your regular clients happy, but also demand respect for your time and worth.

Putting prices on your website

When adding prices for projects on your website, don’t put the prices as an unchangeable number. Always put a price as the lowest possible with a + sign next to it. That way you can explain to clients that the price on the site is for the basics of each project but each design has its particularities and those are added on.

Over to you

How do you charge for work as a freelance graphic designer? Have you had the bad experience of charging per hour and then it not being worth it at all? Tell us your experience in the comments!  

By Orana Velarde

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