Whether you’re new or a veteran in the industry, creative pricing is a question you will find yourself grappling with. How much to charge will of course be a question. But there will be other questions. Should you charge by the hour or by output? How much of a down payment will your require? How do you charge extra fees? It’s unfortunately often just a guessing game.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Although we can’t give you a secret formula, we’ve rounded up some advice from creative entrepreneurs we like based on how they do it themselves.
One way for you to assign a monetary value to your work is by trying to find out the opportunity cost of doing creative work. Blogger and influencer Dani Barretto says her pricing strategy takes into consideration how much time she will be spending on the project.
If you have a full-time job as a writer where you’re paid by the hour, for example, you can determine how many hours it will take for you to finish a freelance project—from ideation to completion—and use your hourly as a multiplier.
You can use this formula even if you don’t have a full-time job, too. Dani, for her part, thinks of other projects that she would have to forgo by taking on an opportunity. That justifies her higher asking price for projects that can take months to finish, she said at our creative meetup in May.
Calculating based on time is not a perfect approach, of course. If you’re working fulltime in a ridiculously high-paying company, for example, is it fair to charge clients on smaller creative projects based on your bloated paycheck?
If time is something that’s difficult for you to assign value to, another approach is for you to set a value for your talent and experience. “There are tiers in the creative world that determine how much you can charge,” TV ad director Sid Maderazo said.
He emphasizes, however, that creatives don’t enter the creative industry and place themselves within a certain tier. “You don’t just land in the upper tier, it should be a function of talent and experience,” Sid added. For creatives, your portfolio often attest to experience.
The same is true for influencers. “When asked why my rate is such and such, I let them know that I’ve worked with these big brands, which also shows that they trust me enough and know that I provide quality work.” Dani told creatives at our meetup.
“At the end of the day, when you’re in freelance, sometimes you have to adjust. You can’t always sit on your high horse,” Sid argued. If you charge too much, you risk making yourself an outlier in the market, but you also don’t want to undersell yourself either.
When in doubt, it’s good to benchmark your prices with your peers. GetCraft Chief Network Officer Steve Aston recommends that freelancers go to events to meet fellow creatives and find out how they price their services. “Comparisons help you can justify your rate,” Aston said.
This is something that the GetCraft platform also allows you to do by giving you access to a list of creatives like you, complete with prices and sample work.
However you decide to price your services, it’s good to go into a client meeting with a floor and ceiling price in mind. This gives you enough wiggle room to make sure you don’t lose a client because you wouldn’t budge but also a signal of when to say no.