From the very early days of freelancing, I have always struggled with pricing my services as a Designer. It's always been one of *those* topics that I could never just set my mind on and get it done. Questions like:
- How much do I charge?
- Do I charge per hour, or per project?
- What should I provide those potential clients when I get an enquiry if anything?
I often felt like I was being grilled when that design inquiry came in - like I needed to justify my pricing and my worth before I could even get close to "yes, let's work together". It was one of those awful feelings that I knew I needed to work on.
So in today's post, I want to go over 3 questions you should ask yourself when it comes to pricing your services.
How much do I charge?
Before actually setting a price and working out how much to charge, you need to work out what you are offering. My background is website design and so I started with compling my website design package. I listed out what the final deliverables would be and I worked out what I would need in order for me to deliver them. For example, I worked out I would need to collect some vital information - which I call client homework, and includes a discovery questionnaire and inspriation homework.
Related: Client Homework - What It Is And Why It's Important!
My other design packages came from adding and subtracting different elements, ie, brand design, collateral items, etc.
Check out my design packages.
Do I charge per hour, or per project?
In a nutshell.BOTH!
In the past, I have always provided a quote per project. This sounded like the best thing to do as every client is different, with different requirements and different budget sizes. This meant I would need to find out what was required and work backwards towards working out a quote. I spent a lot of time calculating and review the requirements and putting together the number of hours it would take to complete. I would then multiply this figure by what I want to be paid per hour.
Again, another hard question to answer is, what is my hourly rate? - I calculated this by factoring the demand for my design service, my experience and expertise, and also kept in mind that I would need to be able to support my little family as well.
This method initially worked out well as I was very thorough and my clients could get a very good estimate of what is involved, including timeframes as well.
However, as things progressed I began to find that I was being asked for the same thing or a slight variation repeatedly. I realised I wasnt being productive as it was taking me at least a couple of hours (if not longer in some cases) to research and ask questions, calculate, and then provide a quote, so I decided to make some changes. At this stage I had the breakdown (skeleton) of what a website design project entails, I know how long it will take me to carry out each task, and I know my clients contact me beucase of my experience and expertise. And so, I decided to price my service per project but noted that anything outside of the package details, will be charged at my hourly rate. i.e. If the client requires more revision rounds (post using up the set number then are given as part of the package) then these are charged for separately.
What should I provide those potential clients when I get an enquiry if anything?
In the early days, I used to set up a call with my potential client with a list of their basic requirements and I would match each requirement with an estimated price point. Then calculate the total amount and provide a final quote. I never used to have any prepared material that I could share with them. Then one day I created a "rate card" which detailed the individual project based on whether it was a branding project, website design or print design. This was pretty handy actually, but it didnt detail what each task involved.
So in a round about way, I went into the meeting only half prepared.
Then one day I decided to organise and streamline my process further and I also decided to share my pricing on my website. This was a first for me!
This meant I needed to know exactly how long each task would take, and split that down into mini-tasks. Each mini-task was then calculated in hours. Eventually, I had a nice little list of tasks, and mini tasks, with an estimated timeframe and price point for each element.
The reason I decided to share these on my website was all down to ease. It's easy for my clients to see what I charge, what they will receive, and what is involved on my part and theirs. Making this transparent to my clients meant there are no hidden costs, so no awkward conversations and everything is clearly stated.
It also helped to filter out the clients that were not a great fit for me. All round win-win I think!
Knowing and learning how to price your services is different for every business. It can come naturally to some business owners, so it's important to keep in mind there is no set way to make it happen or no set price that will suit everyone. It can be a case of trial and error at the start, and that is ok. Overall, I hope this post was helpful to you in some way.
How do you price your services? Do you share your pricing upfront? I'd love to hear how you go about it!
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