Pricing Your work

Should beginners or those people with less experience price their work lower than the more established professional? Don’t miss this important episode as John and Robin discuss the key questions to ask and the critical factors to consider when pricing your work, especially as a beginner.

  1. Jimmy

    I still think it’s much more difficult than that. Many designers have NO IDEA what their time is worth.

    It’s easy for self-taught beginners to charge $15/hour, $20/hour or $30/hour because they feel they’re not as good as other designers. But then when the motion graphic census comes out and says many people are charging $30/hour, everyone freaks out and proclaims this is extremely low and as an industry, we should raise our prices.

    My point is, it’s really difficult for beginners to find out how much they should make. And when questions like these are only answered with broad answers like “How much are you worth?” or “Are you delivering the goods?” It’s not gonna get them anywhere.

    • John Dickinson

      Hi Jimmy,

      for me the key is to negotiate a price that works for myself and for my client. If it’s 30 an hour and that’s work I can continue to do profitably, then that’s the right price. Having said that, it’s important to be honest with yourself about whether you really can work at that rate for a profit.

      I could recommend charging x dollars per hour but that has no meaning. What “the industry” is charging means nothing, it’s the people who are lean and mean, that do work the client loves at good value, that will set the price in the end.

  2. Paul

    I got a lucky break and the first major freelance I ever did told me their rates. (begin/mid/adv)
    From then on i’ve been charging the same and will upgrade to mid freelance rate in a year.

    Find out how much people charge , say your price to the client with confidence and try to stick to it. Don’t ever lower your price much and never undervalue yourself. Remember freelancers don’t get all the things full time workers do , also we are expected to work longer hours and within strict budgets / time constraints.

    Mo graph is a hard industry , but hey we love it.

  3. Simon

    I think another important point is that it is often hard to raise your price after you entered the market at a (too) low level. It is always causing trouble, especially for returning customers. It is hard to convince them that you are now worth more per hour because you can’t show them the value on top compared to the last time they gave you work.
    Also it is not very professional to charge different Customers different prices (returning customers the old Price and new ones higher Prices etc.). They will be upset if they find out some other customer pays less for the same kind of work. Also if a new customer comes by word of mouth he will expect the same low prices or will be upset again.

    In my experience the best way to get into the business with Low prices is when you show the real prices but offer an one time reduction or similar so the client will not be surprised that it will be more expensive the next time.

    • SmackDeuce

      I don’t know about that one. although an old post, I don’t think that is the case. I think it’s per whatever the complexity of the work is.

      I don’t think that people would be upset if you are charging more per hour or per budget % or whatever.

      Time can play a huge roll, too. If a customer asks someone skilled to do the work faster and they can, but are still doing other work then a person could charge more.

      it really depends on what the situation is and everyone has different situations from client to client.

      I don’t think they would be upset, then again they could be. consequently, it depends on the elements of the circumstance.

  4. coyote37

    thanks a lot for this one John! ;)

  5. Silver

    Great show. i love the fact the you get directly to the point on topics that are running around the heads of beginners like me.

    I’m just making my way in the world of motion graphics after i decided to change my career, and i still find it difficult to deal with customers who haven’t got an idea of prices out there OR what exactly they are looking for.

    what would be your approach with a customer who would leave it all up to you to decide on whats best?

  6. michael

    So the trick is, what is the best way to determine the prices of your market?

    I work as a freelancer for, currently, two larger companies. Both of which seem quite tight-lipped about their contracts. I don’t personally know any other freelancers in my field in my area, so I’ve been using advice from friends in other fields – obviously this is not the best way to go about figuring rates.

  7. Jonathan

    I think an important point to this discussion is that for beginners in the industry, they may encounter more clients that are smaller or have fixed budgets that can spent on production work. Here are a few questions you should ask your self.

    1. Can I give the client what they want?
    2. Am I willing to do the work for the price the client can pay?

    Remember there is always bargaining room, if not on price, then on the work itself. I personally like to look at freelance work and pricing on a per project basis. What does the client want, what kinds of resources do I need, what is the time line, etc.?

    That is my 2 cents


  8. jr

    When I did my first freelance job.. which is just a couple of weeks ago. my client asked me how much I charged for as my hourly rate. I had no idea of what to say , so I asked him how much they usually paid their freelancers. So I charged based on the lowest rate he gave which was 30euros an hour.

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