The golden rules of setting and raising your rate as a freelancer

When it comes to setting and raising your rate with new or established clients, explore simple and effective freelance tips to negotiate like a pro!
The golden rules of setting and raising your rate as a freelancer

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Most freelancers charge around $21 per hour and work an average of 36 hours per week. But how come some freelance professionals earn as much as $500 in less than one hour of work?

Freelance rates depend on your skills and experience, as well as the types of services offered. A senior copywriter, for example, can easily charge over $300 for a blog post that takes less than an hour or two to write. How you promote yourself matters too.

Whether you're working with new or established clients, it's important to charge what you're worth. Keep these freelance tips in mind to negotiate like a pro.

Consider your skills and experience

First, consider your level of expertise. Are you just starting out or have you been in business for years? Is there any way to improve your skills so you can earn more?

If, say, you're a digital marketing professional, you may complete additional training to increase your worth. This industry is constantly evolving and changing. The only way to remain competitive is to keep up with the latest trends and technologies.

The Content Marketing Institute, for example, offers online courses on social media marketing, branding, storytelling for channels, and more. Google, Copyblogger, Hootsuite, and other top companies all provide certification programs.

These credentials can add value to your resume and make it easier to land high-paying clients.

Determine your hourly rate

Next, try to estimate your hourly rate. While it's important to consider the average freelance rate in your industry, there are many other factors to keep in mind.

Consider the following aspects:

  • Your experience and track record
  • Monthly expenses, including rent, taxes, software subscriptions, and more
  • The number of working days per month
  • Billable versus non-billable time

With these factors in mind, determine your minimum acceptable rate. Later, you may adjust it based on the client's requirements, type of project, and any additional services offered.

Don't base your decision solely on what other freelancers charge. A web designer located in Thailand, for example, may charge significantly less than one living in the U.S because of the lower living costs.

Decide how you want to charge

Another aspect to consider is whether you want to charge per hour or per project or set a fixed rate for your services.

For example, many freelancers charge a fixed amount for five or 10 monthly blog posts. Others send custom quotes to each client.

Note that hourly rates may limit your income potential. Charging per project is often a better option.

If, say, you take on a $500 project that you complete in six hours, that's about $83 per hour. Few clients would be willing to pay that much for one hour of work. However, if you charge per project, your clients won't know how long it took you to get things done.

Also, don't hesitate to increase your rates by up to 10% every year or so. This should be enough to cover the cost of inflation.

Get more freelance tips

As a freelancer, you have the flexibility to set and negotiate your rates.

Think about what you normally charge versus your expenses and then do the math. Try to determine what you should charge to reach the desired level of income.

In the meantime, check out the rest of our blog for other freelance tips. You may also want to try our accounting suite to streamline your day-to-day tasks, like invoicing and expense tracking.

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Our team of career freelancers writes about best invoice practices, what makes a great client, and repeats the mantra, "never work without a contract." We're opinionated about the future of work and will always be on the side of freelancers.
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