Negotiating costs: What are you worth?

I find that figuring how much to charge someone is one of the most unsettling things about freelance work. Quote too much, and run the risk of scaring the client off; quote too little and you will feel as though you’re working for nothing and the job will leave a sour taste in your mouth.

It is difficult because everyone has different  financial requirements. Some people offer their servies for free, for the experience. Some charge less than they can live off, trying to do other people favours and build their client base. Some charge too much – and attract fewer clients.

You should quote a rate that you are happy working to, and your rate may even differ from job to job.

Negotiations – is it all about money?

If you are too rich for a potential client, then it may be the sign of an incompatible match, but try negotiating before you step away from the partnership. People are reasonable, and it is the considerate thing to do. Even if the partnership doesn’t result in any work, the client will remember you, and remember how you dealt with the situation. If you can afford to do so, offer a payment plan, where they pay you instalments instead of a lump sum, or offer an exchange, if they are an expert in a field that you need work completed in.

Turning down a contract

If it comes to stepping away from the client, due to unresolved financial expectations at the outset, consider it a good thing that the issue arose before any real work was done. There is nothing that makes for a more miserable contract than a mismatch in expectations. If the client went ahead with you at the price you were asking for, and been unhappy about the amount they were paying, they would probably make your life a living hell for the duration of the job, to make sure they got what they considered their money’s worth. But if you reduced your rate to a level they were happy paying, your work would potentially be sloppier, or you might even subconsciously treat them less professionally, because you are upset they don’t consider your skills and time worth more.

If money is an obstacle, then it is probably a sign that it is not the right contract for you.

Online opinion

There are so many different schools of thoughts when it comes down to actual rates to charge for freelance work – just google it.

Here’s a few interesting articles on the subject, and feel free to post more in the comments, if you think they’ll help others investigating what to charge for their time and expertise.

How do you charge for your freelance jobs? By the hour, flat quoted rate, a combination of both or some other model entirely?


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