Negotiating Your Rate as a Freelancer

Freelancing is not for everyone.

The workload in freelancing is, without doubt, one of the most demanding career paths you may decide to take. It requires a lot of flexibility in terms of working hours and catering to client needs. Often freelancers find their weekly schedule peppered with deadlines, projects, and job orders, requiring you to manage your time with expert precision.

Some freelance work tends to come in seasons, and whatever freelancers earn is directly proportional to the amount of work done. This is in stark contrast to office workers who have a set number of hours and scheduled work each week.

On top of that, freelancers are also not entitled to benefits enjoyed by most nine-to-fivers. Freelancers rarely get performance bonuses and health insurance, among other things.

If you’re a freelancer, these are only some of the factors to consider on how to rate yourself competitively and charge fees that are fair for both you and the client. These simple steps should be able to help you rate yourself fairly, satisfy everyone in the process and give you the best chance at a killer freelance career.

Determine the details of the job request and evaluate upfront the amount of work to be done. If it is a project, enumerate the steps and processes you will encounter from beginning to end. This overview of the project will help you figure out the overall cost as well as the timeframe that will help you fit it into your calendar.

Take your hourly rate into consideration. Your hourly rate factors in the amount of effort put into the job and also helps you figure out contingency plans in case something falls through. Getting jobs billed at an hourly or daily scale at Freelancer.com is now easier thanks to our desktop app that notifies the employer when you clock in for their job or project. Simply multiply your rate to the total number of hours it takes to finish the job or project.

Figure out your hourly rate based on the project and create a baseline of what is the most acceptable rate for you (or the lowest figure you will accept). Keep this in mind especially when it comes to negotiating for the job.

Ask the employer what his budget is for the project. Most of the time clients would have a ballpark idea of how much they intend to spend for the project. Just remember to ask politely because this is a sensitive topic to tackle with some employers. A rule of thumb when it comes to negotiation is that the first quote becomes the baseline for negotiation, it can become difficult to deviate too far from this initial price. It will often be easier to negotiate if you have a rough idea of what the client is willing to pay. When clients post a project on Freelancer.com they will choose their initial price range which will act as a guide when you are offering a quote.

If the client expects a quote lower than what you believe is fair, you may still be able to negotiate by providing details of the project that need to be done and cannot be cut. At the same time, inform them of the minimum and the industry average as well. It is better to compare to corporate options to provide a compelling argument that you are the best option.

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Drew Uy
Drew Uy Staff

Social Media & Communications Officer | Freelancer.com

TW & IG: @Ginuhit

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