Pricing Formula for Freelance Designers?

Hello fellow designers! I am currently in my senior year of design school and I’m working on my thesis project. I’m hoping to get your help with some things to help me with my project.

I am creating an app that can help young designers become freelancers and one of the features on the app would be some kind of pricing guide/calculator where they can type all of their information in to help come up with a price.

So I know there are some calculators out there, but I just haven’t found one I liked, that’s why I’m wanting to create my own. However, I need all of the information before I can do so.

I was just hoping to see if anyone out there had a good method to price themselves when they are doing freelance work and what things to consider.

I’m hoping to base it off:
Type of project
The type of client
Hourly/project based

If any of you have any advice, I would REALLY appreciate it.

Thanks so much!

My formula is simple: my price per hour multiplied by how many hours I think the job will take plus an extra 20% to cover all those unexpected gotchas and client hassles that nearly always happen.

Just-B’s answer seems perfect to me. I rarely used a fixed rate, you just never know how many back and forth you’ll have with a client, and at a fixed rate - there’s no incentive for the client to make a definitive, quick decision.

If you bill hourly, the type of project becomes a bit less critical (from a pricing standpoint), everything bills itself appropriately, IE the business card job comes out at a fraction of say a menu or a booklet.

I don’t change the rate based on the client. A pharmaceutical company doesn’t pay more than the local pizzeria. I worked for a printer that would up the rate based on the client’s occupation or for the event in which the piece was being used for. It bothered me. If I take 30 minutes on a piece for a wedding, and 30 minutes on a health care brochure, the price should be the same.

Yes, I neglected to mention those freelance jobs that are billed by the hour. Most clients want to know up front what something will cost them. Other clients, for various reasons, are fine with an hourly rate, which makes things a whole lot easier. I have a couple of those kinds of clients now, and it’s nice.

I offer one round of changes, up to 15 minutes, on the house. This way the customer gets a chance to refine the work without being billed. And more often then not, i’m willing to go over that 15 minutes, or perhaps even offer one last minor change at no cost. But my proof emails always mention my policy, and i’m prepared to enforce them with clients that are relentless with changes.

And my hourly rate services come with an estimated cost based on the job. I wouldn’t want to pay someone without at least knowing a ballpark figure. Sometimes my hourly rate, by itself, looks like a scary number, but when see the speed in which the work is completed, it’s a fair price.

I don’t recommend student designers start off as freelancers. They spend far too much billable time reinventing the wheel. If a designer has enough experience under their belt to give professional freelancing a go, then they already know how to bill for jobs and don’t need a generic calculator.

Alas, there are far too many students and not enough design jobs where they can get that experience. If ever this profession needed a licensing bar, it is now.

I have one client that doesn’t care about cost as much as they care about quality and meeting deadlines. It’s a longterm relationship where we’ve built up trust and no longer bother with the formalities. They send me work and tell me when it’s due. I send the finished work back, and they pay whatever I ask.

I have another client that routinely sends me overflow work. It’s hit-and-miss stuff that’s typically deadline oriented or that they’re having trouble doing in-house. They don’t want to bother with cost estimates — they just need the work done. They also know my hourly rate and never question the amount of time I put into it.

These are exceptions, though.

What might be the first clients name. and… contact information…

I could use a few more clients like that, Definitely a keeper.
I also do overflow here and there for my prior employers. They always pay. When they pay, is a considerable variable.

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