Putting a price tag — the right one — on your creative work is a subject many creative professionals approach with anxiety and doubt. While you as a creative would want to be paid fairly for your time and expertise, you also do not want to price yourself too low or out of a market.
To give you an idea of how to price your creative work, here are five solid things to know to help you get started.
1. Know your worth
The first step to pricing your work is knowing how much you should be paid. This can be tough, but there are some basic principles that you can use to get a good ballpark estimate.
First, consider your experience and skills. How long have you been doing this type work in this industry? What are your credentials? What are your niche skills? What types of clients have you worked with in the past? All of these factors will affect your hourly rate.
If you're not sure what your rate is, chances are you might be a little green but also, there's no harm in asking around. Find out what other creatives with similar skillsets are charging.
2. Decide on a pricing strategy
There are a few different ways to price your work — some people charge by the hour, other people charge by the project, and several charge by a combination of both. It's important to decide which strategy works best for you and your clients.
Our advice is to price by the creative work, instead of by the hour. Once you take into account reasons 3-5 below, you'll realise why. For one, not all works can be billable (let's say you're doing research or KYC for your customer) and your service guarantee is also not something you can quantify in an hourly method.
Another tip is to establish a range. This way, you can offer discounts for bulk orders, or charge a premium for rush jobs. By having a range, you're giving yourself flexibility to work with different budgets.
3. Factor in your allowable time
You might be offering a product, but your customer is really buying time.
You probably want to accept all the work that comes your way but then you'll soon realise as a one-person show, or as an expert in one sector doesn't mean you'll be able to serve every type of need or client.
There are types of jobs you can charge more for and certain ones you can charge less. You'll need to factor in the amount of time you need to research/understand your new client (you should frontload this cost) and also factor in how long it takes to get the work done for them.
Make sure the time you factor in is only accounted for in an 8-hour work day. For example, if the work takes 10 hours to finish, it's not a one-day job, it's two days. That means it'll cost more.
Over time, certain jobs might be faster for you but maybe only because you're really good at it already (don't discount yourself). If your client is asking for a rate that's lower than is allowable, don't be afraid to negotiate. Be firm, but not pushy, since you don't want to burn bridges with potential clients.
4. Consider what else you're offering
Part of becoming strategic about your pricing is understanding what your customer is really buying from you. When you understand what someone is buying, and it's in line with the goals of your business, pricing and negotiating becomes second nature.
So ask yourself: What's included in the price? Just the final product? Files? Copyrights usage rights? Do you charge extra for overnight deliveries?
Alternatively, consider package deals. This could include a discount for pre-paid packages, or a package of services. This way, you can make money whether or not the customer buys everything in the package.
5. Inject value into your client's experience with your service
By injecting value into your client's experience, you're making them happier and more likely to refer you. You can do this by offering a VIP experience, or by adding extra services that they didn't expect.
By doing this, you'll be building a loyal customer base that will appreciate your work.
Be much more strategic about the pricing of your services. If you're not strategic, you'll end up working for free or barely making enough to cover your costs. Over time, once you've owned your niche and built a name for yourself, you can also own your rates and stand by them.
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