Starting in the freelance business can set you back financially especially if you do not have a clientele list. When first starting off as a freelancer, prices may be reduced to get your name out there. This helps clients know that you work is of quality without them breaking the bank. A lot of freelancers do this, but it often happens when the quality of work is not matching the budget. It’s time to negotiate! Without proper negotiating skills it may be hard to increase prices. Continue reading to learn some tips on how to earn the pay you deserve.

  1. Minimum Acceptable Rates – the first step to figuring out what your rates should be, is to know what is the lowest you can go for each job. Doing this calculation helps put your priorities into perspective. You write down all of your living expenses, such as rent, groceries, gas, utilities bills, and etc. Next are the expenses to keep the business running, such as hosting site fees, software, supplies, etc. After adding these two numbers up, divide by how many hours a day you will be putting into completing your jobs. That rate should be your bottom line per hour. In order for your business to survive you cannot go below this amount. When starting off you might have been able to be flexible due to a savings account. Moving forward, freelancers should always adjust this number so they won’t be hurting their business.
  1. Work Hard – The service value is very important to the client. They want to know that what they are investing in is quality work. It is all about supply and demand. You have what they want and they are in need of it. Become in tune with what the client thinks. If you know what they want then it will be easier to negotiate with them. Some key points you will want to make is how working with you will benefit them. Stand your ground when it comes to your rates without being pushy. Be careful because being too persistent can cause the client to go elsewhere. Prior research is important.
  1. Be Clear – The relationship between a freelancer and client needs to be very clear. Never leave a meeting without knowing:
    • Method of Contact
      • Create a clause in the contact with proper approval dates as well. This is the best way to insure that the project is done on time.
    • Project Deadline
    • Expectations

The type of job will determine what is needed in the contract, and without a clear contract, it can cause misunderstandings, which could be cause for not getting paid or getting paid on time. The key is not to overextend yourself for little pay.

  1. Competition – Knowing the fees of the competition can help in many ways. One way is that you can market yourself better to a client knowing that the competition lacks in certain areas. Here is another area where research is important. Highlight those areas in your resume and portfolio that make you stand out when giving it to the potential client. When they do a side by side comparison you will become the better choice, even if your price is a little higher.
  1. Job Pricing – Stuck on pricing a job? It’s all in the math! Break down all the cost points that will go into doing a project. For example, software usage, computer programs, etc. The most important thing is to add all these costs and then setting a price that will not hurt your minimal acceptable price. Start at a high price point because a client will always want to negotiate; give yourself wiggle room that you can profit from.
  1. Skills – The key factor in negotiating is to obtain certain skills that back up your price increases. For example if you are knowledgeable about marketing that would be a key asset in web designing. A client will know that you are able to attract their targeted audience. Keep investing on your craft by attending conferences, taking classes, practicing, and attending workshops. It is always beneficial!

Hope that you found some of these tips helpful in negotiating project rates with clients. It is a skill in itself all freelancers must learn. Don’t stay stagnate, get more money!