5 fee-setting strategies for creatives


“How I set my prices, in the beginning, was simple, I guessed.”

“I worry if my fee’s too high, people won’t hire me, if it’s too low, they won’t think I know what I’m doing.”


๐—ž๐—ก๐—ข๐—ช ๐—ช๐—›๐—”๐—ง ๐—ฌ๐—ข๐—จ’๐—Ÿ๐—Ÿ ๐—–๐—›๐—”๐—ฅ๐—š๐—˜ (๐— ๐—ข๐—ฅ๐—˜ ๐—ข๐—ฅ ๐—Ÿ๐—˜๐—ฆ๐—ฆ)

Sounds familiar? Your goal isnโ€™t just to pay your bills but to be paid what youโ€™re worth. Fee structures and norms vary widely, so itโ€™s important to decide on what suits you and your skills best. Will it be a project fee, hourly, quality-based, package-based, day rate, percentage of profitsโ€ฆ this should be all decided on what you think would benefit your business the most!

๐—™๐—œ๐—š๐—จ๐—ฅ๐—œ๐—ก๐—š ๐—ข๐—จ๐—ง ๐—™๐—˜๐—˜๐—ฆ

Whatever rate structure you choose, it should take into account the following factors:

๐—•๐—ถ๐—น๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฒ: Knowing how long specific tasks take, is extremely important for you, whether or not you actually quote an hourly rate.

๐—ฃ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ท๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜: Unless the client agrees to buy them, these could include supplies, ad space, domain names, photo research or any other expenditure you have to layout to complete the project. If you bring especially strong knowledge or skill to the task, such as photo research, your price might reflect that.

๐—ข๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ: This is a percentage of the proverbial โ€œwhat it costs to keep the lights on.โ€ It includes everything that enables you to live and be in business, from your mortgage or rent to your internet bulls to your accounting costs, equipment, marketing, and more.

๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐˜: This added percentage reflects your value: your experience, your specialty, or that certain something that distinguishes you. It may grow as you grow. How much you charge for profit also depends on industry norms, your region, your level of excellence and expertise, what you want your annual income to be, and what percentage of your annual earning time this project is likely to take.

๐—ง๐—›๐—œ๐—ฆ ๐— ๐—”๐—ž๐—˜๐—ฆ ๐—จ๐—ฆ ๐—–๐—ข๐— ๐—˜ ๐—ง๐—ข ๐—ง๐—›๐—˜ ๐Ÿฑ ๐—™๐—˜๐—˜-๐—ฆ๐—˜๐—ง๐—ง๐—œ๐—ก๐—š ๐—ฆ๐—ง๐—ฅ๐—”๐—ง๐—˜๐—š๐—œ๐—˜๐—ฆ

  1. ๐—ง๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ธ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฒ. Task by task. You can track it pencil-to-paper or use an online tool. Such as Harvest or Clockify.
  2. ๐—”๐˜ƒ๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ธ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ธ ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐˜๐˜๐—ผ๐—บ. Find a zone that reflects your value, but leaves room to negotiate. This means doing market research and getting a sense of job scope and, if possible, budget from the client before you crunch numbers. Going too low or too high causes stress and costs time. Also know your lowest number – the one you wonโ€™t go below, no matter how great the gig is.
  3. ๐——๐—ผ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ต๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ธ. Learn the benchmarks for rates in your industry. Check industry discussion boards and professional networking sites where people swap stories and strategies, and magazines, and books. You can even talk to like-minded peers on Wishu who offer services like yours.
  4. ๐—˜๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚โ€™๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต. Calculating and communicating your value to your clients is your job. Let the client know what your services are worth and why! A really good freelancer makes it look effortless. So making sure your clients know something of the skill and thought that goes into your work.
  5. ๐——๐—ผ๐—ปโ€™๐˜ ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ ๐—ณ๐—น๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป. In some industries, itโ€™s pretty much โ€œone price fits allโ€ for a given task. But if thereโ€™s a price spectrum, quote โ€˜em and you see โ€™em. Do you see hours of meetings and revisions in your future? Think of the cost to you of serving that client – the time you wonโ€™t have for other projects, plus the aggro factor. And if itโ€™s your busy season or youโ€™re cramming this wish onto a full plate, that can be another reason to raise prices.

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