June 9, 2014

What to charge a client while freelancing?

Many of us has asked that same question. We make a branding for a new client which involves logos, typefaces, color palette, research and so on. Then the stressful question comes: “So… how much will be?” That moment we hesitate and don’t know for sure how much to charge. Well it all depends your skills and experience. Some of my fellows graphic designers says it depends how much effort you put on the project. Time is money but also the quality. If it’s something simple and quick, can be a low price (which that can be tricky). I always say to my client if you want something great and fast, it will cost more. Just like going to the Post Office, if you want your mail delivered fast, you are going to pay more; if you want to travel on a plane with luxury and relaxing atmosphere, you pay First Class, which is more expensive.

Take a moment to analyze the diagram.

Take a moment to analyze the diagram.

Just take a moment and evaluate your portfolio and compare with others potential designers. That way can have an idea how much you can charge. Some designers charge a flat hourly rate, some by project. That is something you must evaluate yourself depending of the client’s project.

Also you must considered where you live, your demographics. For example, if you live in a state which the average income is $25K, you cannot pretend to charge for a logo design very pricey because obviously the client will not afford it. If your work is worth more than $300, in this case for a logo design, well I suggest to look for clients through the internet… networking. Networking will open more options to search more clients. And that is where an online portfolio is essential these days. You can be working somewhere in Nebraska but have a potential client in New York and that client can absolutely pay your work what is worth it.

How much?


To conclude the never-ending question, the answer for that: it all depend of your work’s quality. There is no straight or one-and-only answer. Evaluate your designs, time management and demographics. These will give you an idea the values of your work. If you, designer, have tips for wages or rates a project, share it.

I want to share a nice point of view from Anthony Jones about freelancing:

The Starving Artist

This topic is about rates and wages that an artist should start to consider when taking on a new job. This is my advice, so take this as advice.

So let’s begin. As an artist you should know right away that you are valuable. You can recreate people’s imagination and ideas into reality. You are the one who brings people together to be able to all see the vision for the final product. This is valuable. Keep this in mind when you take new jobs. Think about how many hours you plan on slaving over iteration after iteration. Because even though you may have a voice, if you agree to whatever the arrangement are, you must live up to their standards. So make sure you are paid well.

Imagine a client asks you to do 50 hours of work for only $500 dollars. That’s $10 an hour. That is not enough. You can go get a job that could pay you as much if not more, without being an artist. I’ve seen people’s salaries as low as 30k a year. This is not acceptable especially if they graduated from a college that costs them 90k in loans.

I suggest the following to all my fellow artists, that the minimum for your time should at least be $30 an hour. I have seen people make as much as $200-500 an hour to give you some perspective. Now that may seem like a lot but some of these artists deserve it, but some don’t. Either way the flux in income needs to be equalized so we all benefit from this, especially artists who are just starting out. It’s not fair that people get paid dimes and nickels for stuff that actually has tons of value.

If you have quality work, I’d highly recommend charging in the $75-$150 an hour, Novices $40-$60 an hour, and beginners no lower than $30 an hour. I hope this guide helps you and informs you of your worth. Your time and skills are valuable, don’t lose sight of that.

Good Luck,

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