There's always been a notable discrepancy between what one freelancer will charge versus another. Freelancers often email in and ask, "Would you charge for this?" All things considered, really there is no one answer that works for everyone. I know that can be frustrating especially if you're new to freelancing, I felt the same way when I first started (don't worry, I'll hook you up with some ideas - keep reading).
Getting advice from other designers in the field isn't a bad idea but I'll warn you to expect to get A LOT of different responses - freelancers just have different ways of handling this, and that's fine.
In the end, the key to remember is that it's your decision, you have to be comfortable on how you charge clients and when you charge them. If you're on the fence, or if you really need some ideas on how and when to charge, here are a few ideas that may help you...
If You're In Doubt Whether to Charge or Not, Consider the Following:
- How long did it or will it take you?
- How many hours did it take you to learn/master this skill?
- How technically specialized is what you’re being asked to do?
- How much time, money and energy will you be saving the client?
- How many other people can do this skill?
- Is what you’re being asked to do enjoyable or mind-numbing?
- Do you like the client; do you enjoy working with her/him?
- Does the client provide you with referrals?
- Does the client either frequently ask for freebies or hint she/he wants one?
- Does the client understand and respect the time and expertise that will go into what’s being asked?
My Personal Philosophy:
I typically give clients a 15 minute grace period whereby I’ll make changes, fixes or help them out however I can without charging them. This however is contingent on a few unwritten rules...
- Is actively working with me, has worked with me recently or has occasionally referred business over to me.
- Isn’t asking something that is incredibly time consuming, technically challenging or mind-numbingly brutal to do.
- Doesn’t abuse my generosity.
- Respects and understands what goes into the task(s) I am being asked to do.
- Asks politely and respectfully.
- Isn’t expecting but hoping I will help her/him.
- Isn’t expecting me to drop what I am working on and help them asap – they are patient.
- Knows that if she/he has additional work/revisions, I will bill them.
Don’t expect clients to volunteer to pay you. In my over 10 years as a freelance graphic designer, I’ve NEVER had a client volunteer to pay me for work if they thought they could get for free - they're not going to do it for you either.
It's not that these clients are horribly nasty people, they just want to get as much out of me or you as their freelancer as they can. It's OUR own responsibility as freelancers to learn how to stand up and defend our interests (even if we're new to the industry or shy) - that's what I developed with Verbal Kung Fu for Freelancers.
PS - If you're tired of clients taking advantage of you or you just want to develop more confidence in dealing with them, pop on over to Jacob Cass' Blog "Just Creative Design" - you can read his review on the Verbal Kung Fu for Freelancers and score BIG with sweet discounts on all Being a Starving Artists Sucks products.