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How Much Do Freelance Designers Charge
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How much should you charge if you start as a freelancer? How do you know if you’re charging too low or too high? When should you increase your prices? In this article, we’ll address these questions and more about graphic design hourly salaries.
If you’re just starting out as a graphic designer, the easiest way to get paid is to charge by the hour. At this stage, you’re still figuring out how long it will take you to complete a design project. That way, you’ll get paid for your time, no matter how many responses the customer gives.
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Hourly rates are also the most commonly accepted. Most clients will want to know from the outset, “What is your hourly rate?” They want to estimate how much they will need to spend to pay you for the design, they will most likely ask you to estimate how long you think the project will take.
Depending on the type of graphic design job you are hired for, it may make sense to be paid hourly. For example, if you are performing ongoing and consistent design work for a company, it is in both parties’ best interest to agree on an hourly rate for a certain amount of hours of design work. However, if you are working on higher value design projects like designing a logo and identity for a new company, creating a new packaging line for their products or a complete website redesign , then we recommend you consider a different salary structure. .
The first step is to research how much graphic designers are paying in your area. This will give you a basis for charging. An important factor in figuring out the minimum amount you should charge has to do with location and cost of living. Estimated hourly rates in Austin, Texas will vary greatly from San Francisco, California. You can even use the results for a full-time graphic design role to help you figure out a price range. You just need to do a little math to divide your annual salary into an hourly rate.
To start researching what graphic designers do in your field, try sites like Glassdoor, Payscale, Indeed, and LinkedIn. It can be helpful to start a Google Spreadsheet to keep track of the data you collect. Be sure to consider your experience level. If you’re a junior graphic designer, you won’t want to list a salary for a senior designer. Most of these sites allow you to filter by years of experience.
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Unfortunately, most of these sites are the best place to discover salaries for these positions rather than hourly rates. So let’s calculate the prime rate from this example. Here are the search results for
Now, this is just an example. Tailor your searches and salary calculations based on the averages you find for your area and experience level.
There are 52 weeks in a year, so divide $65,000 by 52 weeks. This comes out to $1250 per week. Since there are 40 hours worked in a week, now divide $1250 by 40 hours for a total of $31.25 per hour. This means you should expect to pay no less than $32/hour as a freelance graphic designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. But this is not a hard and fast rule.
As you can see from the chart, some graphic designers earn more, others earn less. What influences the date in one direction or another? It depends on the size of the company, industry, and your level of experience. There are many factors but this gives you a general idea of where to start.
Freelance Graphic Design Rates: A Practical Guide To Setting Yours
As a designer who has worked in the industry for many years, I wish I could give my ex this advice. Ask for more than you want. You should feel some discomfort with the set ratio, so you know it’s in the right spot. If you ask for exactly what you want and the customer agrees, you’ll probably be disappointed in yourself and ask yourself:
In fact, the longer it takes a customer to agree on payment terms, the better. If they say yes right away, chances are they’re willing to pay you more.
As a freelancer, you are a business owner, which means you need to work like a business. You don’t have an employer to pay for costs like software subscriptions, payroll taxes, or contributions to your retirement account. To be a profitable business, you need to factor these costs into your prices and make sure you have enough overhead.
When it comes to taxes, you need to make sure you have money set aside. When you work for an employer, they handle your payroll, including tax deductions. When you work for yourself, you have to pay your own taxes at the end of the year. If you don’t save enough, you could find out at the end of the year that you owe money.
Freelance Graphic Design Rates
Remember the hourly pricing example I suggested earlier for the San Francisco Bay Area? You’ll want to take that $32 hourly wage and add a cushion for taxes, expenses, retirement, etc.
Billable hours are more than just the time you spend composing a design in Adobe Illustrator on your computer. It’s also the time you spend researching your competitors and target audience, sketching out possible ideas, the time you spend creating presentations to share your work with clients, and the time you spend meetings with clients to discuss work and feedback. Just make sure you specify at the beginning of your relationship what you’ll pay for so it doesn’t come as a surprise to the customer later. They need to know that your time is valuable, every 15 minute call or meeting counts.
Sometimes, when you’ve been working for the same client for a few years, it’s hard to increase your prices, especially for work in progress. But if you’re an employee of their company, you can expect an annual raise of at least 2-3% to compensate for inflation, and maybe even up to 5% if you’re a top performer. . You can do the same for yourself as a freelancer.
Every year, notify your regular customers in writing that your prices will increase with the effective date. Make sure you give them enough notice, for example, maybe you inform them in November that your new rates will be in place the following January. The customer can refuse, at which point you have the right to negotiate new terms or waive them altogether.
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For new customers, continue to increase prices gradually. You gain valuable new experience with each client project and apply it to your next project, so price yourself accordingly. Unless a previous customer happens to refer and share their rates, new customers won’t know your rates have increased.
You only get paid for the time you work. This doesn’t take into account all the years of experience you’ve accumulated. You may have spent years learning design and developing your skills, but by charging hourly, you’re actually missing out on the opportunity to get paid what you’re worth.
Charging for hours will affect efficiency. If it takes a junior designer 3 hours to do work that a more senior designer can do in 30 minutes, why should they be paid less? Yes, you can simply increase your hourly wage and the problem will be temporarily resolved. But it doesn’t always work well. The higher your hourly rate, the harder it is for a client to accept the idea of hiring you, even though you have the experience to support pricing.
But the biggest problem with hourly rates is that they don’t take into account the value of the project you’re working on. For example, let’s say you’re designing a website for a client. What value will that website bring to their company? If they bring in thousands of customers over the next year, contributing to their profits, then your pricing will reflect the value you deliver.
How To Calculate Your Freelance Hourly Rate
Watch this video where Ran shows why she thinks hourly pricing is not the best way for designers to charge for their work.
Let’s say you’ve been designing for a few years and are fed up with the ceiling on how much you pay per hour. It’s there after all
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