Three Basic Rules for Freelancing Online

Rules for Freelancing

We receive a lot of questions from freelancers via Freelance with Us. We’ve answered grammatical queries, questions about how to find clients and more. But the most common question we receive is about how to set freelancing rates.

There’s no cut and dry method to setting your freelance rates. That said, there’s a bit of a loose “formula” you can use when you’re working out a quote for a prospective client. It’s not always black and white, but read on to find out how you can set freelance rates that will pay off.

What’s Your Hourly Rate?

If you’re a new freelancer, you left the rat race for a reason. Maybe you wanted to get away from an evil boss, or maybe, like most of us, you’re an introvert who’d rather deal with people from a distance.

Or, in some cases, you may have discovered that there’s quite a bit of financial freedom associated with freelancing. You’ll work long, tiring hours, but those hours are ones you’ve set.

Regardless, you want to get paid, right? Let’s say you were making $14 per hour in your old position. In the United States, especially, freelancers need to pay quite a few taxes. To maintain that $14 rate, you’ll need to set a goal of no less than $20 per hour as a freelancer.

Of course, you’ll want to get a raise. With a raise in mind, let’s imagine you’ve set yourself a freelance rate of $30 per hour. Sound good? Okay, let’s move on.

You Won’t Be Working Hourly

When you begin freelancing, the first thing you’ll realize is that a large percentage of your clients will prefer to pay on a fixed price basis. For example, maybe they’ll pay you $50 for a 1,000-word article. Though possible, it’s rare that you’ll find a client who pays you hourly unless you’re working as a virtual assistant or something similar.

So what do you do with the fixed price projects? Well, it’s simple. You estimate the length of time it’ll take you to complete the project. A simple blog post like this one may take you a half hour to complete, in which case you should charge a minimum of $15 to your client. Don’t forget to account for platform fees or PayPal deductions as well as the dreaded “scope creep.”

For longer, more research-intensive projects it’s not so simple. Let’s imagine, for example, that you’re working on legal documents for a personal injury lawyer. If you do your job right, you’re going to need a few hours to complete a 1,000 word piece. In that case, you should charge accordingly – say $60 minimum.

There are Exceptions to Every Rule

We all have a few long term clients that we occasionally offer different rates. For instance, say you have a client who’s working on a health and beauty website “on the side” of his 9 to 5 job. Or a client you’ve worked with for years who’s reliable and pays promptly.

Don’t make the mistake of losing out on work because you won’t meet your hourly quota. Those jobs are your bread and butter – the dependable ones that you can count on during a dry spell. You may charge them less, but remember that a lower hourly rate is better than no hourly rate.

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