In our last post, we discussed how to set rates for freelance work, specifically if you are planning to charge by the hour.
But what if you want to charge by the project? Here are some things to consider if you’re not sure which is best for you.
Charging by the hour may be a good way to go with steady clients who bring you a regular and predictable work flow. It can be an easy way to predict revenue and time needed to complete each project. But, if you are particularly efficient with your work, and it takes less time for you to complete each project, you may be better off charging a set fee for each one.
A per project price is good for things you can produce quickly. But it’s not the best way to go with a new client or a new project. It often takes time to establish a way to work with each new customer, and until you have a sense of how efficiently you can satisfy each client’s demands, you should protect yourself with an hourly rate. “Project creep” can rear its head, causing you to add more hours of work to a project without being able to recoup the cost.
Experienced freelancers have learned to clearly define the scope of their services ahead of time to avoid misunderstandings. For instance, if you are a freelance writer given an assignment for an in-depth article, consider how much research you are willing to do, how long it will take to produce a first draft and how long it will take to incorporate the client’s edits and changes. Consider how many edits and revisions you are willing to do up front. Make it clear to your client that if the piece involves more revisions than originally itemized in the scope of work that you will add an additional charge for that service.
Clear expectations upfront can help you avoid awkward negotiations later. By putting some parameters around the project, the client can agree to a clear scope of work at a fixed price.
Freelancing offers innumerable benefits, not the least of which is flexibility in your work schedule, the excitement and challenge of new projects and the opportunity to do a variety of work. However you decide to charge for your services, don’t underestimate your value. Just because you may not keep “regular” hours doesn’t mean they are not valuable hours!