Pricing Your Services

Pricing is both an art and a science.

Most freelancers look around and see what others are charging. Or they use one of those “rate calculators” (we really don’t recommend those).

The big problem is most freelancers look at themselves and the market rather than the value they bring to their clients. We’ll show you how to charge for the value you bring to your client’s businesses, which will not only make you more money, but also get you better clients, more creative freedom, and higher conversion rates.

Our Views On Pitching:

Whether through 4+ years of in-depth articles, premium courses, the conferences and events I host, or my podcast, my #1 goal is to help you become a more successful freelancer.

Brennan Dunn

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Should You Work For Anything But Cash?

Sooner or later, we all get asked to switch up the way we bill for a client. We might be asked to sacrifice revenue in exchange for equity (this is usually accomplished by painting a very rosy picture of the future.) Or maybe defer payment now until our client can afford to pay us back (at a premium, or with interest) later.

Depending on how smooth talking or respectable the client may be, all of these propositions include moving some of the risk that the client typically shoulders over to you, the consultant.

So I’m generally risk averse, especially when we don’t have much control over the outcome of the underlying investment. If you’re waiting to get paid until either your stock is worth something or the client can afford to pay you, you’re betting on the client’s ability to sell and make a profit — something that you, the silent “investor”, generally has little influence in!

Should Freelancer’s Bill By The Hour?

Most of us bill by the hour. In fact, a quick database query of Planscope shows that 81% of my customers bill hourly.

Billing for your time is foolproof. Your clients can inflate their projects as much as they’d like and you’re protected. In fact, more stuff to do = more money for you, so you’re actually rewarded for scope creep.

But if you bill by the hour, you’ll eventually get your first disgruntled client who doesn’t like that “Meeting” showed up as a line item on an invoice. Or you start realizing that you’re losing money because you’re getting better and faster at what you do. And there’s all those pesky time logs you need to remember to add.

How To Sell A Startup Client On Value

So if you’ve been reading my work for a while, you know I’m pretty gung-ho about what I like to call the “financial upside” you deliver to your clients.

The ROI. The real reason they hire you in the first place. etc.

But over the months, I’ve got a lot of really good feedback and criticism around this, and I’d like to take a few moments to respond with some tips that I hope will help you if you’ve ever questioned, “How on earth do I figure out the ROI of this project?!”

The Definitive Guide To Project Billing

Today I’d like to, once and for all, answer a question that I’ve been asked hundreds of times.

“Brennan, how should I bill my clients?”

Hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, per feature, per project. There seem to be a limitless number of ways to charge your clients. In this post, I’ll overview the pros and cons of each, and end with my recommendations.

Should You Charge More For A Rush Job?

Recently, Margaret wrote me asking —
“Brennan, what do you think about charging more for a rush job??”

Have you ever seen the bill for an emergency room visit in the ol’ US of A?

A few months ago, I made the mistake of shaking off a rug outback at 3am (don’t ask.) Former asthmatic me couldn’t take it, and I ended up checking myself in to the ER to get the steroids I needed to breath right again.

They did the usual tests and diagnostics on me, and eventually a physician hooked me up to a breathing machine, wrote me a prescription, and sent me on my way. Well, a few weeks later I saw the bill — it was close to $5,000 (thank GOD for insurance.) …I could have got the same treatment and the exact same prescription at a primary care doctor for substantially less.

Being able to breathe in the middle of the night is pretty important, but the amount of people who abuse the ER and check themselves in for the slightest problem is staggering. As a culture, we don’t like to wait.

And the same can be said about clients.

A mentor of mine once told me, “There’s important, and then there’s urgent. Most people think their important projects are urgent.”

Clients generally want to kick off projects ASAP. They’re excited. They’re eager. And that’s typically not a problem — unless, of course, you’re already booked. But sometimes, there’s a legitimate, time-sensitive reason behind an urgent request.

So what are your options?

  • Work longer hours (at the cost of your health and happiness)
  • Kindly ask your current client to delay (at the cost of their happiness and your relationship with them)

There is nothing wrong with doubling or even tripling your rate when a client insists on immediate gratification. Simply explain that they’re inconveniencing you and the clients who have been patiently waiting to work with you.

There needs to be some financial pain associated with urgency. If you’re willing to take on rush work, don’t be afraid to put your foot down and charge more. And if you don’t want to work nights and weekends and don’t want to bump back your current clients, sometimes the best option is to just say, “I’m sorry. I’m unable to work with this project timeline.”

Have you ever charged more for a rush job? What was your experience like? Sound off in the comments below!

Could you do me a favor? This little weekly mailing now goes out to over 3,000 freelancers each week… My (ambitious?) goal is to hit 10,000 by the end of the year. I just launched a spiffy new website last night, and I’d love to get the word out:

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