The Freelancer Grind: Setting your rate

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So, this is a tough one and something I've struggled with for years. There are a few different ways of applying a fee for your services.

You can set a day rate, which is most common, basically saying how much you want to charge a day, and then times that by how many days are needed on the job.

An overall project budget; this is a figure you allocate to the full amount of time spent on a project. Sometimes you also have longer contracts or buyouts too.

Now, when it comes to setting a fee, it comes down to a few different factors:

Your experience/skill level

The more experience you obtain the more money you can charge. This relates to the amount of time you have put into your skillset, generally meaning the more experience, the better, more efficient you are at the job.

The client/agency

This is pretty simple, you need to understand a small design studio of five people will have a smaller budget for their freelancers compared to a massive 100 plus global agency. So keep this in mind when setting your rates.


Geographically, where you are based makes a difference. So, you have to find out your local market prices. The rate you offer as an artworker, for example, can differ from living and working in London to living and working in Prague, for example.

So, ask around, do some research looking into what full-time job wages are, this is easier to find, and then work out how much you should be getting paid on average.

Ultimately, the best way to price is to work out how much you want to be paid an hour. Then times that by the number of hours you need to work on the project.

Agencies, clients and recruiters will try to beat you on price. So, sometimes, you may want to go in a bit higher than your rate to leverage this and be willing to negotiate.

For example: If your rate is £200. You may want to go in at £225, meaning if the client says it’s a bit too high, you have the leverage to say you're willing to go down to £200.

But, in some cases, the client will go with the original rate you proposed, which is a bonus for you! Remember, your rate increases with experience, always be willing to renegotiate.

Read the previous parts of The Freelancer Grind guide on:

Making a clean and simple résumé

Creating an eye-catching portfolio

Understanding your role as a freelancer


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