For many gig workers, especially for those in creative services, setting your prices may feel daunting. But until exposure pays the bills, you’ll need to get comfortable with charging for your work.
Here’s how to set your prices––
Believe In Your Work
To survive in the gig economy, reach deep down and find your inner voice of encouragement. You have a service or product people value. Don’t deny them the reward of paying for it.
Determine What You’ll Offer
Before you can price your work, you need to determine exactly what you’re selling. If you’re a freelance photographer, are you selling a 1-hour or 2-hour photo session? Do you photograph people, events, or real estate? Does the price include post-editing? Once you begin to ask yourself questions around what service is for sale, you’ll quickly learn you have a lot to offer. And the more detailed you are, the easier it will be to set your prices.
Calculate Your Costs
Ignoring your own business expenses is a fast way to go broke. Every penny spent on equipment, subscriptions, training, and beyond must be factored into your prices. Say you spend $300 a month on graphic design software and complete two client-based projects every 30 days. Your price needs to be at least $150 per client to break even. But wait! You also pay $50 a month for the internet use a $5,00 computer for your gig. You’ll need to factor these expenses into your minimum break-even price as well.
Shop and Compare
While you don’t want to compete solely on price, as your expenses and skills are unique to you, finding out what other people charge offers an excellent price guide. Explore gig websites and call comparable freelancers to note their rates. But be realistic with your comparisons. If you’re just starting out and only have two years of experience, don’t price yourself against those with 10 years of work history.
Set Your Price and Adjust
Once you know your expenses and the competition, setting your own price is relatively straightforward. But this isn’t a one time ordeal. You’ll need to revisit your rates regularly. Your costs may increase each year due to inflation and aging equipment.
If you’re thinking all of this seems like a lot of work and time-consuming, you’re right. Managing your prices is just one of hundreds of business tasks you’ll have to manage as a freelancer. This is why you shouldn’t price yourself too low. Now, grab your camera, pen, paintbrush, or whatever tool of the trade you use and get to work!
This resource guide was produced by Thomas Guzowski, Associate Director of Marketing, Communications, and Events. Guzowski also freelances on the weekends.