You know the feeling when you estimate projects for new clients: You run the numbers, and then run them again and maybe once or twice more. And yet your cursor still hovers over the “send” button on the email. I’ve been at the freelance game long enough to know there aren’t many constants, but estimate anxiety is surely one of them. When your mousing finger freezes up, it’s time for a reality check: “What’s the worst that could happen?” [Read more…]
A reader asks…Dr. Freelance: Yesterday I had an extended (almost 2-hour) meeting with a potential new client. The good news is that they have a project for me, assuming the estimate is acceptable, and they said there would be more in the future. The bad news is that the project is small enough that I can’t possibly recoup the costs for my time, because it would basically double the estimate. I know you believe you should charge for meetings, but how do I do that in this circumstance? I don’t want to price myself out of a freelance job!—Time Is Money (i.e., you can call me “Tim”) [Read more…]
Dr. Freelance: Like you, I prefer to give prospective clients a range estimate. But once they accept it, what number do I use to determine the amount for freelance project deposits? I’ve heard anywhere from 30-50%—I’m feeling comfortable with 35%, personally—but 35% of what? The low end? The mean? Probably *not* the high end.—Rachel [Read more…]
Dr. Freelance: I have a prospective freelance client — an author who needs his book edited — and he appears to have the money and desire to hire me. He keeps pressing me for a price estimate, but I haven’t seen the manuscript, just one sample chapter that I edited. I’m concerned about extrapolating, because it’s a long book and I’m not sure of the overall quality. What’s my next step?—Hurry Up and Wait [Read more…]
Dr. Freelance: You have probably heard this before, but I constantly look at the going freelance rates for a project on one of the industry rate charts, add up the average per page/word costs, then think, “I can’t charge THAT!” So I end up underpricing myself and throwing in freebies such as marketing plans and so on.
I am aware of the danger of undervaluing my work, but I have really yet to find a client who understands the value in what they are receiving and are willing to pay full price. I recently lost out on an editing project, which I’d priced at $1,500 for 80 hours, to another editor who charged $400. I understand that I need to do a better job of pricing accurately, but how do I avoid losing work to someone who’s supplementing their retirement income with a few dollars?—Shooting Myself in the Foot [Read more…]
In addition to the measurable facts of a project (work volume, meeting time, deadline, etc.), freelance pricing requires accounting for highly individual items that can’t be defined in hours or put into a spreadsheet—but will have an impact on how much you charge: [Read more…]