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Aug 30, 2023
Pricing and Value: 7 Approaches Freelancers Take to Set Rates

Pricing and Value: 7 Approaches Freelancers Take to Set Rates


To shed light on the complex task of setting fair freelance rates, we've gathered insights from seven industry leaders, including founders and consultants. From understanding pricing from a client's perspective to leveraging market research and transparency, this article offers a wealth of knowledge to help freelancers navigate their pricing strategies.


  • Pricing Based on the Client's Perspective
  • Delivering Value Through Outcome-Based Pricing
  • Utilizing Resources for Pricing Decisions
  • Implementing a Value-Based Pricing Model
  • Establishing Income Goals and Open Negotiation
  • Accounting for Freelancer's Additional Costs
  • Leveraging Market Research and Transparency


Pricing Based on the Client's Perspective

I used to base my rates solely on an hourly perspective. Having been an hourly worker for several years, this seemed to make sense. But I left thousands of dollars on the table by not understanding the full value I brought to my clients.


Now, I think about my services from the client's perspective. What problems am I solving for them? How much money do I save them versus having them hire an agency or in-house employee? How much revenue will my work bring for them? Understanding the client's needs and perceptions allows me to price my services and justify my rates.


Alli Hill, Founder and Director, Fleurish Freelance


Delivering Value through Outcome-Based Pricing

As a communications and PR consultant, the most important goal is to deliver value to the client. Before setting a rate, it's necessary to understand what challenges are being solved for the client. 


This could be communicating with journalists about a new service, reworking website copy to convert more leads into customers, or building a newsletter that creates repeat business. 


Once the expected outcomes are determined, an estimate of the hours needed to achieve that goal is created. There is a minimum hourly rate that is acceptable, and that rate is multiplied by the hours expected to be dedicated to the project, budgeting in a few extra hours as a contingency for roadblocks that may arise.


Mandy Menaker, Founder, Mandy Menaker Communications


Utilizing Resources for Pricing Decisions

There are actually a lot of resources available to find real-life pricing data for freelance services. 

For writers, many websites have rate databases where freelancers submit information. You can see a range of going rates for different projects based on publication. 


I also recommend networking with other freelancers, particularly in private social media groups, so you can ask sensitive questions without potential clients seeing them.


Lauren Ward, Writer and Content Strategist, Write With Lauren


Implementing a Value-Based Pricing Model

It's paramount to calculate your base rate based on your experience, skills, and the overhead costs of running your business. This reflects your intrinsic professional value.


You must be in sync with the current market rates. These rates fluctuate depending on geographical location, the scope of the project, and the industry. For instance, according to a 2022 report from the Freelancers Union, digital marketing consultants in North America typically charge between $50 and $200 per hour.


Always remember the client's goals and budget. Each client is unique, and while some may hunt for the most affordable services, others may prioritize expertise and quality over cost.


A strategy that has been found effective in implementing a value-based pricing model. It's a win-win approach, where services are priced based on the perceived value to the client, rather than purely on hours spent.


John Cammidge, PPC Expert, jcammidge


Establishing Income Goals and Open Negotiation

I set clear monthly income goals and establish the number of hours I'd like to work within the month. Market value and my target clientele's budget also play a significant role in my decision-making process. 


However, what truly sets me apart is my unique approach during pitches. Rather than proposing a firm rate, I start an open conversation, gaining insights into my clients' specific objectives and financial capabilities. 


By collaboratively devising a tailored solution that meets both their needs and mine, I've achieved a remarkably high closing rate. I believe this approach encapsulates the essence of fair pricing and mutual value delivery.


Tim Pelletier, Owner and SEO Consultant, Tim Pelletier Consulting, LLC


Accounting for Freelancer's Additional Costs

As a freelancer, it is important to keep in mind that pricing should consider factors like tax and healthcare that are usually handled on the employer's end. First-time freelancers often overlook these considerations and request the final pay they are accustomed to receiving at 9-5 jobs, rather than realizing they are now responsible for additional costs. 


Freelancing can be less steady than more traditional jobs, especially in the beginning, and it is important to determine pricing that sustains you through fluctuations in workload. When figuring out your pricing, base it on your new reality as a freelancer rather than on the structure as a salaried or hourly employee.


Julia Kelly, Managing Partner, Rigits


Leveraging Market Research and Transparency

To establish my freelancer rate, I began by reaching out to fellow freelancers within my field and local area to gauge the prevailing market value. Through these valuable conversations, I could derive a clear understanding of the rates that were being charged for similar services. 


I further refined this information by calculating both my day rate and hourly rate, ensuring that I set a competitive yet fair pricing structure for my services. This thorough process enabled me to determine a rate that aligns with the market while valuing my skills and expertise appropriately. 


I believe in cultivating a culture of honesty and transparency when dealing with clients. By openly discussing timelines, interests, and capabilities, I aim to help clients recognize the tangible value they receive for their investment. This approach fosters trust and fosters strong, lasting relationships with my clients.


Bernice Chao, Author, The Visibility Mindset