How to Set Your Freelancing Fees

01 October 2011
kitties in a potOne of the inevitable questions that freelancers will encounter from potential clients has to do with money. How much do you charge to get the job done?

This blog post will walk you through the basics of setting your freelancing fees. No exact figures will be given. That part is for you to decide.

There are basically two ways to charge your client: by the hour or by the project. You may often hear the terms being referred to as "hourly jobs" and "fixed price jobs."

By the Hour

Some freelancing positions entail a variety of tasks and outcomes. Because the required output changes from day to day, clients pay you for the time you spend working for them. Many will expect you to commit to a few hours everyday to receive instructions. Most virtual assistant positions and data entry work are paid by the hour. 

The advantage of working on hourly jobs is that whether you can "deliver" or not, you will receive compensation. You need to convince the client though that you are a fast worker, and not a slacker. Most hourly jobs start out with a trial period.   

By the Project

Freelance work that requires a specific output are often charged by the project. Examples of the required output include videos, articles and web content.

  1. Charge per word. The cent-per-word payment method used to be a standard among freelance writers for conventional magazines. The same method is now being used by a number of freelance writers who supply web content. Depending on how good you are and how you market your skills, the charge may fall anywhere from 1 to 75 cents a word.

  2. Charge per article. Online article writers usually charge per article or per page. The assumption is that a "standard" article contains between 400 and 500 words, excluding the title. The going rate for article writing depends on the community or bidding site that you belong to.

    In Freelancer for instance, clients expect to pay only $1 to $3 an article, which is not much really when you consider the hours you spend researching the topic, writing the article and proofreading your work.   

  3. Charge per minute. Not to be confused with hourly work, the per-minute rate pertains to the duration of a final video. The time it takes to produce such video will of course range from a couple of hours to days and weeks. A lot of animation artists charge a fixed price for every minute of video or animation produced.

The fixed-price arrangement is more advantageous to the client than to the freelancers, because the customer pays for the finished outcome - regardless of the number of hours spent to accomplish the work. As a freelancer, you will not receive payment until you are able to turn over the output to the client's satisfaction and within an agreed due date.

Keeping You and Your Client(s) Happy

Setting your freelancing fees requires that you strike a delicate balance between the value that you can give to your client and the value that you assign to yourself and to your work.

Although cheap has long been associated with poor quality, it is not correct to assume that charging steep fees will guarantee the best quality either. You will just have to find a sweet spot that will keep both your client and you happy.

As you ponder on how you should charge for your work, don't forget to check out the post "Pricing Advice for Freelancers." *
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