Advice for charging first client freelancing

Hello all

As a second year student in my final year, I have made contact with my first client freelancing. This means it’s time to undertake something that is not the easiest of tasks, and that is setting out a rate to charge the client. Through research, I understand that a definite rate that I must adhered to doesn’t really exist. I also understand there are more than paths to choose in terms of setting out rates because of certain factors, so if anyone has any tips for starting out charging clients, I would really appreciate it.


Freelancing is a Business.
Do you have a business plan in place?
Have you done the research to determine how much money you need to bring in to cover your expenses, most especially the taxes on your income?

Probably not. You are still a student who is taking on side work rather than actually freelancing.

Get yourself a copy of The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. Overviews of different types of client relationships, pricing, legal issues, sample contracts, etc.

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The GAG handbook is a great resource.
For experienced designers.
A design student still in school? All I can say is adjust accordingly. There is so much about the field of design that just is not taught in schools. I’d highly recommend working in the field for a couple years (or more) with someone who knows what they are doing before entertaining the idea of freelancing.
Been in the print business over 20 years.
The GD industry is devolving rapidly as more and more students try to reinvent the wheel.

I’m unsure why this is difficult for so many beginners. You charge what you think it will take to make it worth your while.

Yes, the GAG handbook is a great resource, but as a student working on a freelance project, you’ll need to, as PrintDriver mentioned, adjust your rates accordingly.

Graphic design rates vary enormously depending on location, extent of services, reputation, etc. Some have set fees, but most freelancers start with an hourly rate they’d like to make. This doesn’t mean they charge the client by the hour, though. Instead, it means that once a project is well-defined, it’s a matter of quoting a price that reflects the amount of time and expense that will likely be put into it.

Just a word of warning: projects have a tendency to take longer than initially estimated. Once you’ve been doing this for a few years, experience makes accurate estimates easier. Just remember that clients (in general) have a tendency to delay, change their minds, ask for extras, throw obstacles in the way and otherwise inhibit efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In other words, if you think a project will take 10 hours to complete, it’s often more realistic to quote a price for 15.

Oh, yeah. Contracts. Make sure everything is in writing before proceeding — these written documents tend to head off all kinds of problems.

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Do one thing, for whatever job you are doing for him search it online and see the standard price. You have to offer him a low price as he is your first client. If you charge him more then he will not order from you or recommend anyone to you anymore.

Bad advice.
First of all, most pro designers do not publish online pricing. As in none. That is why we recommend the GAG handbook. And you sure don’t want to be basing your pricing on the pricing used on crowdsourcing sites.

As a freelancer you are IN BUSINESS. You need to make a living wage, which means accounting for your overhead. If the client does not want to pay what you need to earn to make a living, find better clients. That is, after you gain enough experience to be actually doing the freelance work to begin with. The better paying clients can see right through a newb to the field.

This is a 2-year old thread.

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Thank you for the information, I learned something new for myself

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