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Freelamce Rates

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum' started by GraphicsDiva :o), Dec 15, 2006.

  1. GraphicsDiva :o)

    GraphicsDiva :o) New Member

    Hi There
    Looking for some advice on "What to charge". Have taken on small freelance jobs over the years during full time employment. I am now considering registering as a sole trader and unsure of the going rate.

    Have searched the web and seem to get lots of varying information....any suggestions? I have a potential client looking for hourly, daily, weekly and monthly rates.

    I am based in Scotland and have approx 15 years experience in Graphic Design. Thanks :confused:
  2. MickeyFinn

    MickeyFinn Administrator

    Well done!

    Welcome to the forum!

    Deciding on charging is one of the biggest nail biters so I am not surprised you would like some advice.

    Hourly rate really depends on a few of things:

    1 - Your level of experience.
    2 - How much do local competitors charge?
    3 - How much does the client need you!

    So in answer:
    1 - 15 years in the industry is great so there should be no worries about commanding top whack for your time.
    2 - Call a few competitors, get out the yellow pages and get online and either call them as a mock lead or be upfornt and tell them what you are up to! If you are honest and tell them you are a freelancer and am looking for rate info you may even pick up some work - stranger things have happened :)
    3 - This is for you to decide! Prior knowledge of the client's set up and work flow may mean you will do more work in less time so could command a slightly higher wage.

    Of course hourly rate should be higher than daily rate which should eb higher than monthly rate. A good way to start might be to take your permie salary (before tax), divide by 12, add a bit (15% maybe) for the risk of being a freelancer and the fact that your client will not be paying employers NI etc and that could be your starting point as a monthly rate.

    Good luck :D
  3. GraphicsDiva :o)

    GraphicsDiva :o) New Member

    Thanks for the info! Have my calculator at the ready!
    Yeah, it's a tricky one, too cheap and you're not valued, too expensive and you don't get the job! Or they want you to do a two hour job in 30 minutes!
    I'm sure I'll get a better idea of it all as I go along. Thanks again for the speady response :D
  4. glebe digital

    glebe digital Member

    You might find this helpful........a freelance friend of mine put it together, it works. :)

    Add your total living costs.

    equipment/software(divide this by 12) and use that figure
    dog food/cat food
    you freaking name it, ... if you have to buy it, ..it should be on this list.

    You shouldn't be asking 'why?', but if you are, ..it's because YOU NEED TO HAVE MONEY FOR IT OR IT GOES AWAY FROM YOUR LIFE.

    Now, ..take that total and divide it by how many hours a week you will consistantly spend at work. 10? 20? 60+? what is it?
    Whatever it is, .. commit to it and treat it like the job that it is.

    Okay, ..for illustration purposes, ..let's create an example 'portfolio' of a guy we'll call Sam Sphere.

    (all arbritrary figures, ..insert your own)

    rent/mortgage: $750.00
    insurances: $200.00
    car: $400.00
    gas: $80.00
    food: $200.00
    equipment: new mac pro. purchased w/credit purc. $4200.00/12 = $350.00
    utilities: 350.00
    dog/cat: 40.00
    total: $2370.00 !!!

    okay, ... Sam Sphere needs to make $2370.00 just to keep things par.

    Let's say this person is very average and does a perfect 40hours of work a week.

    4 work weeks in a month [ 40h x 4weeks] = 160hours.

    If our person only made $2370.00 a month he'd be making $14.81/hour and unable to go to the movies. A very unhappy girlfriend/wife is in the making for Sam, ... count on it.

    Let's call the figure above Sam's Monthly Hourly Need or MHN, ..in this case: $14.81/hr

    We don't want to be like Sam .... so, .. we ask, ..'what would I like to make?" "what will this market bear based on my level of skill" ..or " how much do I need to make an hour to save x amount and still buy a few things from time to time?" Basically, .. this is a personal decision, ..but one that's also based in reality. Very frankly, ..if your not that good at what you do, ..or there's a million others offering the same service, ... you simply can't expect to much. In that case, ...the market will determine what your price is going to be.

    Let's assume you don't suck and your customers only have a few to choose from in the field of arch.vis. Let's also throw in the fact that your pretty good at what you do, ..so your the 'go to guy or gal.' That's good. Considering those facts, ...I'd say a good rule of thumb is to determine your desired hourly at 2.5x your MHN. Again, ...you make this decision, but be real about it.

    With that said, ... Sam's client hourly rate becomes [ $14.81 x 2.5 ] = $37.03/hour.
    Let's call this figure the Client Hourly Rate or CHR.

    So, ..armed with your own personal CHR, ... you can be sure that for every hour you spend doing anything remotely related to your work, ... your being compensated. Smile If you work more than 40hours/week ...they're ACCOUNTED for, ....note the word accounted has the word account in it. You don't work for free. Many unintentionally do when performing work on a project that went 'way over' the amount of time they thought it would. This is fine if you learn from it, ...but if you don't have to, ..then why not just circumvent the whole damn thing with proper/professional billing? Don't let it happen to you.

    Bill by the hour.

    *special note: If a customer doesn't trust your 'hourly accounting' , ...then take a walk on the job. If you can't get that level of basic professional trust, ... then I'd say you have nothing. Just explain that your a very consistant person and that from week to week your hours vary little, so they should never expect some insane invoice ! Make note to explain the exception of some occasional 'overtime' hours that become necessary with pertinent deadlines and desired extras.
    Everyone understands that.

    Also, ..... I'm not saying that 'bidding' for jobs by a single price isn't ever to be done, ... but this practice is really reserved for a very seasoned individual who has an accompanying reputation within a given industry. A known entity, ..if you will.
    Is that you? Could be and should be, .. it just takes time.

    I'm not going to elaborate on how typical it is for someone who bills by the 'job' with no real calculations behind his billing, .. but I'll assure you, ..it's no pretty picture. Can that person say that he's definitively making x dollars/euros an hour? He can't, .. because that figure is forever fluctuating, ..and usually decreasing with every passing hour he's not done with the work.

    Bill by the hour.
  5. darkside

    darkside New Member

    Once you have figured out what you want to charge per hour be it £30 or £100 you can still adjust it depending on the client.

    If you think the client is the type that is prepared to pay a bit more then charge a bit more!

  6. glebe digital

    glebe digital Member

    I think that can be a tricky approach, especially when you consider [from a client perspective] that consistency of costing is very important........say one job is done for £800 and the next for £400, if the scope/scale is pretty much the same they'll wonder if they got fleeced first time around. ;)

    Keeping track of 'variable rates' for different clients will pretty soon end in a fiasco, you might even loose a few clients that way.........people in business know other people in business, if it gets out that your rate is 'tailored to an ability to pay' then the work might dry up sharpish!

    For me, a flat rate for every client is the only way to go, whether they're a big corporation or a small business/individual, they all get the same level of service at the same price. :)
  7. johnnyrules

    johnnyrules New Member

    I charge a flat rate £12 per hour - Freelance rate.

    I also use £12 for a guide on working on projects, note thats just a guide, as projects sometimes change...

    Do not tailor your costs per client. You'll be guarenteed to loose your clients. If they know, and yes it is a small world, a very small world, you'll potentially loose alot of work and maybe get yourself a reputation and in some cases a friend (yes, clients can actually become your friends too!)

    The guy thats been rambling on about all that (what you pay, gas dog food etc) take some notes but not all. I've never sat dow and worked all that out. Even if i did i'de probably charge myself £48 for it :eek:). Just think about your old 40hour per week job, what did you earn, you'de you get by?

    Save some money for a rainy day too. Working cheap can harm you in the future. Value yourself
  8. Windy

    Windy New Member

    £12 an hour?!!! :eek: Bloody hell, I wasn't charging that low 10 years ago!

    In Manchester the avarage direct-invoicing rates are:

    artwork: £20-25/hour
    creative: £25-30+/hour

    If you're a limited company and go through the agencies (eg. Aquent) you can expect:

    artwork: £17/hour

    If you're not a limited company and go through the agencies, knock a few £/hour off that, unless you go through someone like Orchard who'll shaft you down to £13.

    I've been working around the northwest for 10 years now (since I was 18) and have worked for all sorts of places, from 1-man-bands to the big boys, and a few oddities in-between and the rates are pretty much settled everywhere. None of us compete on price because that'd be like shooting yourself in the foot!
  9. Windy

    Windy New Member

    PS, those rates are for going into a studio. Hourly rates for artwork/design are £50/60 from agency to client.

    If you're actually pricing a job, it can be a bit of a minefield. I can spend a day on a 4PP brochure for one client, but the best part of a week for another client.

    Just think of a number... ;)

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