IF YOU’VE EVER WORKED FREELANCE, YOU’VE PROBABLY GOT A HORROR STORY ABOUT WHEN YOU TOOK ON A PROJECT FOR CHUMP CHANGE.
..and wound up putting in countless hours including some sleepless nights, all with the impending sense of your own stupidity and rent still due. Case in point: when I started out after college and trying to make some money on the side, I once created logos, branding, and designed and built an entire website for a client for $460. We’re talking 60+ hours of work, which works out to around $7 an hour.
HOW TO SET YOUR RATE
So how do you decide how much to charge clients? This seems to be an almost unanswerable question, which crops up often over coffee with fellow freelancers. Asking for money is never a fun conversation to have, especially since many of us work with acquaintances, friends, and sometimes our own parents (although hint: you probably shouldn’t charge Mom to redesign her resume). But if you’re considering going full-time freelance, or if you’re just interested in solidifying your side hustle into a consistent source of income, there’s a way to find an answer—enter the freelance calculator.
It just might make your day. You start by inputting your current salary and how much you’d like to increase your income (if you want to make $100k this year, we say go for it. Crunch those numbers to see how much work you’ll need to do and at what rate). Then you fill in additional details—how many billable days you’ll put in per week, the rental costs of your office (for all you coworking space addicts), how many vacation days you’ll take this year, etc—hit submit, and boom! The calculator tells you exactly how much you should charge for your hourly rate.
Of course, determining a number is only the beginning of the process, but hey—it’s one less headache. For the more complex freelancer issues, consider these resources:
We’ve got our own section entirely devoted to freelance. Start with our Freelancer’s Guide to Budgeting.
Designlovefest has a great series on freelancing where they answer the most nagging questions. Their solutions are both stupidly simple and completely revelatory—they’ve saved me from major missteps on multiple occasions. Here’s one on how to say no when someone asks you to work for free and another on how to tell clients you’re raising your rates, but it’s worth reading through the whole archive.
If you haven’t discovered it already, The Freelancer by Contently is another great resource. They even have a rates calculator so you can check industry standards before quoting a new client.
This post was originally featured on Career Contessa (www.careercontessa.com/conversations/make-100,00-this-year) by Kit Warchol