In the past week, I’ve received three different questions about freelance pricing that were essentially the same: new freelancers who want to know “How much should I charge?”
I don’t mean to be dismissive to respond, “It depends.” Pricing is one of the tougher items to figure out when you’re breaking in, but the main thing to remember is that you can always go lower—raising your price after cutting a deal is very difficult.
But where to start?
- There are a few websites out there with “average” price ranges that people charge, such as Writers Market’s and Editorial Freelancers Association’s “Editorial Rates” chart, among many others.
- Folks like Lori Widmer at Words on the Page and Jenn Mattern at All Indie Writers have a wealth of posts about pricing and estimating freelance jobs. Anyway, search “pricing” and you’ll have more than enough fodder.
- At the risk of hat-tipping myself, I’ve blogged on several occasions about freelance pricing and estimating here on Dr. Freelance, such as here, here, here, and here. And past Freelance Forecasts might give you some ideas, too.
It’s worth looking at any or all them to determine the ballpark you want to be in. At some point, you just need to dive in. Even within my own business, there’s a lot of variability: Depending on the project specifications, the timeline and the client, for example, I might charge as little as $200 or as much as $1500 for 500 words. It also depends on how busy I am. On the other hand, there are some things that I do for free if I think it makes business sense.
I know that’s kind of a broad-if-not-wishy-washy answer to “How Much Should I Charge?” but ultimately the best deals are the ones that make you and the client feel like you’re getting value from it. It gets easier with time to figure out your sweet spot in freelance pricing, and you also become more confident about negotiating.
A belated Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that 2012 is your most successful freelancing campaign yet!