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How to Negotiate Your Price for Fixed-Price Contracts

How to Negotiate Your Price for Fixed-Price Contracts


Freelancers often face the challenge of determining and negotiating their rates for fixed-price contracts on platforms like Upwork. To help you navigate this process, we've gathered 11 valuable tips from experienced freelancers who have successfully negotiated their prices. From knowing your worth to implementing tiered pricing plans, these insights will empower you to make informed decisions and secure fair compensation for your work.


  • Know Your Worth and Be Upfront
  • Ensure Clear Communication and Transparency
  • Set Boundaries for Extra Work
  • Estimate Hours and Be Payment Flexible
  • Manage Workloads and Set Minimum Rate
  • Use Client Feedback for Pricing
  • Research Market Rates and Compete
  • Don't Undervalue Your Work
  • Price Confidently and Be Professional
  • Evaluate Work Effort and Long-Term Impact
  • Implement Tiered Pricing Plans


Know Your Worth and Be Upfront


I've used Upwork on and off for many years and find that some clients value price over quality. To make sure I get the right clients, I use the expert filter on the job search and evaluate what the client wants.


Fixed-price contracts can be daunting, but you have to know your worth and be willing to stand your ground. As a copywriter, I know what I deliver in terms of quality and use my portfolio and experience to justify my rates.


However, if I'm trying to break into a new niche, I'll happily drop my prices because the experience is more valuable than making a lot of money.


I've found the key to success lies in what you can offer and whether you're willing to drop your price in return for experience.


Being upfront about what you'll charge for the fixed-price contract gives the prospective client absolute transparency, and if a particular client doesn't want to pay that rate, there are always others who will.


Hannah Oneill, Freelance Copywriter and Marketing Strategist



Ensure Clear Communication and Transparency


I used to work on Upwork for years, and I've learned that it's important to put everything in writing when deciding and negotiating your price for fixed-price contracts. This means that you need to make sure that all the details of the project are clearly defined and agreed upon before you work. This includes the project, the timeline, the deliverables, and, of course, the price. 


I always communicate everything in writing and get confirmation from the client before I work. This helps to avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications down the line and ensures that both parties agree. By being transparent from the beginning, you can set yourself up for a successful and stress-free project.


Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing and Outreach Manager, ePassportPhoto



Set Boundaries for Extra Work


Be clear right from the beginning that anything extra or any additional work or edits will be charged separately outside the fixed price. This will avoid a lot of confusion and chaos later on.


Of course, you will not waste your time and expertise.


Aditi Mishra, Blogger, handmadeselling



Estimate Hours and Be Payment Flexible


As a finance writer, I always take time to consider the total number of hours I think it will take to complete a fixed-price contract before bidding on it. This helps me determine the optimal price that both covers my expenses and pays me fairly. 


If I believe the contract will take longer than estimated, I willingly negotiate with clients about providing a payment plan for work already completed. This makes sure that even in longer-than-expected scenarios, both parties can be satisfied with the outcome.


Lorien Strydom, Executive Country Manager, Financer.com



Manage Workloads and Set Minimum Rate


When deciding and negotiating your price for fixed-price contracts on Upwork, one tip that can be helpful is to set a minimum rate you will accept for the job. For example, let's say you've been hired to write a blog post; determine an hourly rate you'll accept and figure out the time it should take you to complete the project. 


This way, if it takes longer than expected or additional requirements come up mid-project, you won't have to work it out of pocket—or worse yet, do hours' worth of work without pay. By having a defined rate from the start, freelancers can manage their workloads effectively and stay confident with their pricing decisions.


Michael Alexis, CEO, Virtual Team Building



Use Client Feedback for Pricing


Asking for feedback from previous clients is an effective way to set your price for a fixed-price contract on Upwork. Feedback can provide important information about the quality of your job and the value you deliver. This might assist you in identifying areas for improvement as well as justifying your pricing to potential clients. Good comments can also attract new customers through marketing.


Bruce Mohr, Vice-President, Fair Credit



Research Market Rates and Compete


One tip when deciding and negotiating your price for fixed-price contracts on Upwork is to research and analyze the market rates for similar services. Browse through other freelancers' profiles and look at their rates for similar projects, considering their experience and skill level. You can also check the budget of similar job postings by clients. 


This helps you gauge the price range for your services and enables you to position yourself competitively without undervaluing your work. Be prepared to justify your pricing based on the quality of your work, expertise, and any additional value you're providing to the client.


Matthew Ramirez, Founder, USMLE Test Prep



Don't Undervalue Your Work


As a full-time food writer and freelancer, my best tip when negotiating your price is to avoid being the best deal on the market. Just because another freelancer is offering a similar service for way less money doesn't mean that the price point reflects your value. Sometimes you need to remind the client of this, and you may lose some contracts, but you're better off building a clientele that understands what you bring to the table.


Paul Kushner, CEO, My Bartender



Price Confidently and Be Professional


Freelance Photographer, Videographer, and Graphic Designer here. My tip would be to not sell yourself short! Obviously, you want to land as many jobs as possible, but pricing your work too low isn't the way to do it.


Start by doing a couple of free projects for family and friends to build your portfolio, then price your work and time confidently when applying for gigs. This shows the job poster that you view yourself as a professional. If an Upwork job poster tries to negotiate your pricing too low, they're probably not a client you want to work with, anyway.


Tyler Greene, Owner and Writer, Greene Team Media LLC



Evaluate Work Effort and Long-Term Impact


Consider the amount of work and effort required to complete the project, as well as your own experience and expertise. Don't agree to a rate that is below market value or doesn't compensate you fairly. If you don't feel comfortable with the rate offered, negotiate for a higher one. 


You should also consider the long-term implications of what you are getting paid. If a client offers you too low of a rate, it may be because they want something they could get done with more expertise or in a faster time frame elsewhere.


Geoff Cudd, Founder, Don't Do It Yourself



Implement Tiered Pricing Plans


As a freelancer on Upwork, I've developed a unique approach to deciding and negotiating prices for fixed-price contracts. Instead of engaging in a back-and-forth negotiation, I create tiered pricing plans for my services. There's a lower plan with a reduced scope, a middle plan with the main scope, and a higher plan that includes the main scope plus additional services. I make sure that the middle plan is the most attractive option for clients, both in price and the services offered.


When a client wants to negotiate my rate, rather than compromising on the middle plan's price, I offer them the lower-priced plan. This allows me to maintain the value of my middle plan while providing a more budget-friendly option for the client. It's a win-win situation that eliminates haggling and establishes clear expectations from the start.


Madhav Bhandari, Head of Marketing, Early Stage Marketing