How Much Should I Charge My Clients?

A (Simple) Guide for Freelancers

· tools,freelancing,thebusinessofUX

Deciding how much to charge your clients, as a Freelancer, can be a very loaded question. You might be tempted to ask:

  • How much can they pay?
  • How much are you worth?
  • What's the market rate for my services?
  • What would my salary be if I was working full time for this client?

While these are interesting and important questions, they're also really hard questions to answer, especially if you're just starting out as a Freelancer, and don't have access to the necessary data.

It's also a question that a lot of new Freelancers get hung up on. And while it seems really important to get it exactly right, findinging an approximately right answer - quickly - lets you move on to more important tasks sooner.

Fortunately, there's a better, faster, and somewhat easier way to figure out how much you should charge your clients:

How much money do you need to make?

Fundamentally, Freelancing is a business, and a business exists for two reasons: to satisfy a customer, and to provide you with an income. So by starting from the ground up - determining how much you need to make to support yourself - you can quickly figure out how to fulfill half of your business's purpose.

I made a spreadsheet that helps you figure out - in about 5 minutes - what your hourly rate should be, taking into account:

  • Your personal monthly expenses
  • How many hours per week you want to work
  • A rough estimate of your income taxes
  • How much time you want to set aside each year for vacation, sick days, "dry" periods and building up an emergency fund

The result is a quick baseline for what you need to charge your clients, on an hourly basis, for your Freelancing work, to earn an income that will support you and your financial needs throughout the year.


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