Talking about money is difficult, awkward, and even worse when you don't know what to charge. I've definitely struggled with this in the past, and as a result, I've worked for much less than I should have.
If you're just starting your freelance career, or you're unsure what to charge for a certain project, consider these 6 factors when talking to your clients about money.
1. Industry standards
First things first, you'll want to have an idea of what others in the industry are charging. There are many ways to do this, such as a Google search or perusing through online freelance networks, but my favorite is to just ask around. Be sure to ask someone with comparable experience to you, and be prepared to work for a little less if you're just starting out. Once you bulk up your portfolio, you'll be able to charge more.
2. Key deliverables
Next, think about the assets that you'll be providing the client. The more assets you provide them, the more time the project will take. And once you have an idea of what to charge hourly, the amount of time you spend creating them will give you a rough estimate of the project's overall cost.
It's also a good idea to ask the client what kind of budget they have in mind. This will help you factor in how many deliverables you're willing to offer within their range.
Does the client expect a project turnaround of a few days, weeks, or months? Typically, you can charge more for a faster turnaround. You'll also want to consider the amount of research you need to put into a project before you begin.
If you're not sure how long a project will take, you might consider using an hourly range. For example, let's say you want to make $40/hr, and the lowest you'll go is $20/hr. You suspect a project will take anywhere from 20-25 hours. So, use an $Hourly x Time equation, and round up the hours to get the closest amount in your range.
In this scenario, you'd be charging at least $500, where the lowest you'll work for ($20) is multiplied by the max time spent (25 hours). This way, if you only end up working 20hrs, you're still within your $20-40/hourly price range.
4. Amount of revisions/edits
You'll want to be transparent as to how many revisions/edits your project package includes. Further, be clear if you or the client will be dictating that. In many cases, clients might not be aware of what's considered a "revision". This is especially true if you're in the graphic design or illustration industries.
On the other hand, you might find yourself wanting to placate the client by making a revision anyway, despite it being outside of the scope. Stick to your guns by setting clear expectations from the beginning, and have a backup plan in the case additional revision requests do arise.
5. Ownership & usage
More exposure equates to more value. If you're working on a project with a bigger client, consider whether or not your assets will be global, used one time, or as a part of their brand. Additionally, will you be handing over the rights to the assets, or keeping them for yourself? Typically you can charge a little more for the client to purchase the asset from you.
6. Presenting a pricing model/proposal
Sometimes clients prefer to know all of their options, so it's best to present them with different scenarios. For example, if you're a photographer, you might offer one price that includes photo styling and another that doesn't.
Try out a "tiered" system, similar to the way a subscription-based service works. I personally create 3 different pricing scenarios for my clients, explicitly outlining what services each one includes.
How do you approach the money talk?