Billing

Hi, Im new to freelancing. What happens if you told the client it would take approximately 2 hours however it actually took 4 hours or more? I feel like I can only charge for what I quoted if I want them to keep using me & I want to give them a really nice product. Any one else have this happen and how did you handle it? Did you just take the hit and try and make up for it later?

thanks
Felic

Yup.

If the job goes over budget due to something a client does, I’ll tell them so and then let them decide if they want to proceed.

If it’s my fault, I’ll eat the time.

There are some jobs that take more time than anticipated and some that don’t take as long as expected. As time goes on, one gets better with the estimates. The goal should be getting it right while knowing that it’ll never be perfect. In the end, if it balances out, everything is good.

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Exactly, as Just-B says, if it is down to you, you swallow it.

Additionally, the other thing to consider; as you said, you are new to this. By definition, you are going to take a lot longer to do something than those of us who’ve been doing it for years. Your client should not have to pay for your inexperience. That said, your hourly rate should be nowhere near that of someone with a few decades behind them, with all the experience and knowledge that goes with that.

Again, as Just-B said, experience will teach you how to estimate your time more accurately, We’ve all been there and had the same frustrations. Part of you taking longer, is you learning the ropes. It takes time, so, as I say, you can’t expect your client to pick up the slack.

What is your experience thus far? Education plus a few years of studio experience is the ideal before embarking on a freelance career. That way, you get a feel for all the machinations of running a business – which is what freelancing is – as well as for learning how to design in the real world, with real world pressures. The same rules apply as for starting any other business.

Stick at it, it’s a hard slog, but it’s like learning any other skill; you’ll plateau for ages, then with enough practice (and the right knowledge), things click into place and you are suddenly at the next level. Then you’ll plateau again, etc. It’s never an even curve.

Good luck.

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I wish we could charge clients for all the press “mistakes” we make on their print jobs…
Or better, Adobe. But that’s a whole different rant. LOL!

Thanks guys, I only charged what I quoted.
I have years of experience but have always worked for someone.
Im sure I’ll get better at it & I have a contact who has freelenced on the GC for a while who Im having coffee with next week to give me some pointers.
Appreciate your Tips!!

If you have the requisite experience, which it seems you do, then the one thing I learned after my first year working for myself, is know your worth and don’t underestimate / undercharge. I think when we first start out, there is a tendency to be over cautious for fear of losing, or not even getting, clients.

After my first year of trading, I found I was charging far too little. I got work, but it was lower-end work. My accountant told me to double my rates. ‘What? Double?’ Says I.

He was absolutely right. Of course, you can’t take the p**s and start charging high-end agency rates, but if you are charging low, people assume that is your level. If you charge at the higher end, people also make the assumption that you must be good. You have to be able to back it up, but almost immediately, I got better clients and far more satisfying jobs come in.

The other advantage, of course, is that by charging a bit higher, you have ore margins to swallow the time when you do find you have underestimated.

Have faith in yourself – as I say, as long as you can back up the higher rates, but I am guessing as you have done things the right way around and worked for someone else for a few years, you have made a measured decision to go it alone.

Good on you. It is not an easy thing to do. I remember I had a mortgage on a flat in London to pay when I decided to take the leap. Scariest thing I’ve done, but, also the best thing I ever did. Wouldn’t swap it for anything – and I just closed my 30th year of trading and the end of my last financial year (god, I’m old!). It gets easier the longer you are at it.

Good luck.