How to Calculate Hourly Rate for Freelancers

This showed up in my RSS feed. It seems like someone was just asking about this. I’d say this is a pretty good formula for a starting point. Of course, you’ll have to be realistic about your costs and what you think you can reasonably make based on your experience level.

Eee, definitely be realistic about your expenses.
That’s a fairly thorough explanation, as long as you have the experience to know what some of the unlisted things fall under.

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I wish it were so cut and dry as factoring your expenses and possible billable hours.
I cant directly discus pricing or rate of pay, but I can say a senior level designer in my market area would be underselling himself at that rate of pay (working purely as a freelancer).

I feel your quality of work and speed of delivery have a lot to do with how much one can charge.

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When you are self employed or a freelancer, pricing is one of the toughest issues we face. Do you do straight hourly pricing? Project pricing? Value pricing? Some combination? How do you factor in your experience? There are a lot of designers out there that would be way undervalued at $75 an hour, for example, and there are designers out there that would be screwing clients to charge them $75 an hour.

The client is always the wildcard in pricing. I’ve had people tell me I’m way too expensive, and I’ve had people tell me I should be charging more. What is your work worth to the client?

All that said, the infographic in the link was a formula to determine an hourly rate. The individual will have to determine the numbers to plug in.

At least it gives the freelancers here something to chew on, and maybe lead a few not to undervalue their time or assume you can make a living off of $5 logos. Why, that’s 15 logos per hour bought and paid for. Like that happens.

Yes, but then of course it’s not only the designer but the market and client type that also factor. I could charge more than twice what I get here in rural Pennsylvania for the same work/client type in, say, Southern California. And, in any market, a designer can net a higher rate when doing national/global corporate work than when serving small businesses and local organizations.

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Yep, I agree with both points.

One more point, when you’re self employed or a freelancer, you need to make sure you’re saving for retirement. If you are employed, your employer may be making matching contributions to a retirement plan. If you’re self employed, that’s another expense you’ll need to make up. Whether you take that out of your salary or factor that as an expense is up to you, I suppose. But it’s something you need to take into account.

The school I attended said to charge 3x what you think your time is worth.

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Hard for me too, that.

I’ve been doing this for 21 years and have been self-employed for 15 of those years. Do NOT price creative work at an hourly rate! You are not being paid for time. You are being paid for your expertise and the value of what that design will do for someone. It is a problem you are solving for the client. For example: What is it worth to your client to look more professional so they can get better clients or be taken more seriously?

Having said that, I take into consideration the investment of my time that is required, but I price based on value. Your pricing is also based on your skill level, geographic area and other factors, of course.

Save hourly rates for text edits or extraneous revisions, but not where you’re creating a design.

Design isn’t just cosmetic; it’s a form of visual communication to attract a certain audience to make them feel a certain way so that they take action and the client gets results.

When a client objects to pricing, it is because they do not see the value. You have to make them see the value. You have to ask the right questions up front and you need to sometimes put it into perspective. For instance, I have a client that is an organization, and one membership to that org is $7,500. They want to redo their branding. I offer a package deal for just under that, which includes more than a logo (a small brand guide, stationery package, Word template, email newsletter). Just one new membership would pay for that.

…and to expand on what was mentioned above, if you’re self-employed, you have to pay estimated taxes, your own health insurance possibly, general and professional liability insurance, and save for retirement. If you’re not taking those costs into consideration, you aren’t going to be profitable, and if you’re not profitable, what’s the point?

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