How much to charge for freelance work

One of the hardest things some working mums find when they launch a career as a freelancer is working out how much to charge for freelance work.

Charge too much and you won’t get much work. Too little and you could find yourself giving up precious time with your children for little reward – leaving you feeling disheartened. If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, find out what kind of things you need to take into consideration when quoting for freelance jobs.

What’s the going rate?

If you’re new to freelancing you need to find out what other freelancers of your experience are charging, and base your fees on that. So if someone with your level of skills is charging £40-50/hour, you need to be somewhere close to that.

However, when quoting for hourly freelance work, you also need to bear in mind how fast you are. If you can get more done in an hour than other freelancers can accomplish in two, charging strictly by time spent may put you at a disadvantage. Instead, consider the going hourly rate, and expected time most freelancers would take to complete the work and offer your freelance clients a project price for all the work.

What are clients prepared to pay?

It’s all well and good deciding that your hourly rate is £200 if the type of freelance clients you work for can’t afford or won’t pay that much. So think carefully about what type of organisations you want to work for, and what size budgets they can allocate for your skills when building your freelance client base. Then adjust your rates to reflect their expectations.

Some freelancers even go as far as operating a two-tier pricing system in which they charge large organisations that can afford it a higher rate, and offer more modest fees for cash-strapped smaller businesses, charities or organisations they really want to work with.

What do you need to charge?

When quoting for freelance work you need to take into account any costs you’ll incur when doing it. Most working mums rely on childcare when taking on freelance work, so you will need to cover at least the cost of that in your freelance quote. If you need to attend meetings you’ll want to include the cost of your transport and any refreshments too.

Once you’ve taken into account any expenses occurred you need to work out any other costs you have to cover, such as household bills, car repairs etc, so you can factor how much you need to earn a week or day, and base your quote on that.

How much do you want the work?

Sometimes a freelance job will come along that you really, really want. It may be a foot in the door with a new client, a chance to get more experience on your CV, or just a really fun freelance project that you want to work on. To make sure that you secure the job, you may want to offer a competitive quote.

Likewise, some freelance jobs just look like trouble from the start! You may find the client difficult to deal with, a poor payer or the work dull. In these circumstances, many freelancers will put their rates up a little bit, either to put off the client or, if they do win the project, to make the extra hassle worth their while.