Any job you put in time, effort and expertise is valuable. Sadly, some clients tend to under-pay. As a freelancer, you don’t receive a fixed salary. The amount of money you make from a project depends on certain factors such as your experience, the number of hours you put in your job and the scope or extent of the project assigned to you.
From personal experience, negotiating my rates as a freelancer has been tricky. But negotiating a higher rate – even trickier. Negotiating a higher rate is something you take step-by-step. Here’s how I do it:
I take note of my minimum rate
You need to know the lowest amount you can charge for a project without suffering a loss. This is your minimum acceptable rate (MAR). Your MAR = (Annual living cost + annual cost / hours you work a year) + tax. This formula gives you an estimate of your MAR.
Have the figure handy. The MAR gives you the least amount you can charge for a project. Since you want to negotiate a higher rate, you need to make sure your rate doesn’t go anywhere near your MAR. So if your MAR is £50, you want to start negotiating from £150 for example, so you have room for negotiation.
Charge per project
When you charge per project instead of charging per hour you earn more money. There’s some sort of psychological effect behind charging per hour. The natural view a client has of charging per hour is that the project ought to be done within a shorter time and they don’t see any reason why they should pay for more hours. This makes them undervalue your work and look down on the quality of the project no matter how hard you work on it.
If you charge per project, the client feels that even if the project takes a long time to be complete, the project will be of value and they’ll feel more willing to pay. If you complete the project quickly, it’s a gain to you unlike charging per hour where you earn less when you complete the project quickly.
Show your client their financial gain
Help your client realize that they’ll make more money from the completed project than they’ll pay to have it done. Sometimes, negotiating for higher pay is all about perception. The client at the time may be so focused on the short-term loss or expense that she misses out on her long-term gain.
Adjust the scope of the project instead of the pay
Sometimes a client may come with a budget of how much she can pay for a project. Instead of turning the client down, explain how much of the project their budget can cover. So instead of cheating yourself by accepting the project as it is, clearly tell your client the scope of the project you can cover based on what they are able to pay. So if a client is only able to pay £30 for example, explain what services you can provide for that price.
Name your price
Some freelancers and blogger are afraid of quoting a high price. They think that doing this will scare off their clients. This is often not true. Naming your price pushes you to find people who are willing to pay your rates for quality work. You find yourself attracting high paying clients and keeping them. Accepting any price offered means you will always be working for peanuts.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comment section below please.