Last month we looked at ways to figure out what to charge for your services. While the most important starting point is knowing who your ideal client is, of course there are always other factors to think about.
Whether you decide to charge by the hour or project, the first thing to decide is what your ground zero, bare minimum, hourly rate is.
What do you need to live on, pay taxes, insurance, overhead?
Use that as rock bottom, never tell clients what that is, and always negotiate up (way up) from that.
Things to consider:
Time frame: Anything with a fast turnaround has to be priced higher than something that has a longer lead time. Just make sure you’ve got the time for a tight deadline, and with the longer lead time, that you don’t screw around so that it becomes a tight deadline.
Pain in the butt factor: Marking prices up if it’s a project/client, you’re not thrilled to be working with. This should be unnecessary if you’ve taken the time to figure out who your ideal client is and stick to it. However, if you’re starting out and/or still testing the waters when it comes to your ideal client, pain in the butt pricing can help you either feel better about a project or your client will walk away because it’s too expensive. Pain in the butt pricing is also a good strategy if you’re working with someone who insists on multiple or endless meetings. At a high billable hourly rate, meetings become fewer and faster.
The opposite of pain in the butt pricing: I really want to do this project pricing. This is probably your ideal client, so they’ll pay what you’re worth. There could also be more projects down the line and remember it’s hard to increase prices once you’ve gotten started. Lastly, you don’t want to make yourself miserable somewhere down the line, when the inevitable glitches happen.
Other factors to look at:
Exposure: I write for a couple of local magazines for exposure to my target audience. The same for speaking gigs and workshops. In situations where it’s little money or pro bono, I’m careful to pick and choose those where my audience is likely to have people who fit my deal client profile.
The future: Things that you might not mind doing when you’re getting started, might turn out to be big issues later on. Clients (being clients) might expect you to drop everything else and pay the same amount as when you were starting out. Just make sure you’re comfortable with what you’re getting from the beginning.
Expertise: Your time, experience and knowledge is worth money. You’ve got something that your ideal client wants and will pay for.