Working in the gig economy as a student has been a great experience, but it definitely has its downfalls. Something I really struggle with as a writer and a freelancer is figuring out how much to charge for my services.
It’s a slippery slope. On the one hand, you need to eat. On the other, set your price too high, and a potential client will look elsewhere. Set your price too low, and you will have too much work and no money, and you will be undercutting others in your industry who are also working the freelance/contract circuit.
There are three things I take into account when I am setting my price for a job
How much is the client able to pay?
This is a really important one to consider because if you charge too much you will lose a potential client. However, you need to eat and pay rent, and it isn’t fair for you to have a massive amount of work while the client puts their feet up and pays next to nothing. A good way to gauge this is to ask the client if they have thought about a potential price range and see if it is in the same ball park to what you would charge for the project.
How much value will you deliver for the client?
If you are running social media for a start up, and it is the only form of advertising they are engaging in, and they are relying on YOU to sell their product, then that work is worth more. A start up that is undertaking a variety of marketing and advertising activities, and using social media for part of it, will naturally be willing to invest LESS money because they have other avenues to make money out of. Have an idea of how much money the client wants you to earn for them before you agree to anything.
What will I get out of it?
Is the gig in your dream industry? Will you be meeting amazing people and connecting with potential future colleagues? Is it something that you will enjoy? If a job ticks all of these boxes for me, then I will happily knock a little off my hourly rate so I am a more attractive candidate for the job. It’s not necessarily the best way to make money, but those contacts and the experience can be used as an investment in yourself. It’s up to you what the investment is worth sacrificing though. Likewise, if I don’t really NEED a job, or I am not super interested, I will ask for a little more. After all, there is nothing for me to lose.
Next, you need to decide whether to bill hourly, or in a singular lump sum, or whether you would like to establish a monthly retainer. This is something to chat with the client about as well, as they may have their own expectations.
Coming up in the next instalment about working in the gig economy: How to negotiate with a client.
How do you decide what to charge when you are doing a freelance gig?