Freelance Questions: Raising prices and learning to code

SillyGrrl.com // Freelance Questions: Raising prices and learning to code

Ashley said, “I want to quit my day job and support my family entirely with my freelancing. We have a TON of savings…I am currently earning about half of what we need from my freelancing…but I’m also only freelancing part-time. I want to take the leap, but I’m also thinking I should re-price my website and blog designs accordingly before I do so, which means I could lose clients. I track my time and know my hourly rate…but sometimes a website takes 6 hours and sometimes it’s 26! I want to offer package pricing, but that makes it hard, you know?

Thanks for your question Ashley! First, you should definitely raise your prices to your post-escape rate before leaving your job. You’re right, you may lose some clients, so you want to have an idea of how many will stick around once you’re freelancing full-time. The ones looking for a quick, cheap design will probably fade out and you’ll be left with less clients, but higher-paying projects.

As far as pricing goes, I know my hourly rate and I know how long it takes to build different parts of a site. So I charge base-rate, which covers the site mock-up and revisions (to which there is a limit) and then I add on for pages, dropdown menus, galleries, ecommerce. If you look at my portfolio you’ll see I don’t list any rates. This is because every site ends up taking a different amount of time depending on the size and how picky the client is.

Here’s an example: Say the hourly rate is $50. It takes me about 6 hours to do a mock-up with three rounds of revisions, 1 hour to style a drop-down menu, and the site has 4 pages (1 hour each). That comes out to 11 hours, which would be $550.

Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. There’s nothing more annoying then getting to the end of the project and realizing you paid yourself $30/hour intsead of $50 because you dropped your price and the client wanted a bunch of extras.

Samantha said, “First, how did you learn your mad web skills? Have you found that it’s fairly easy to find work as a freelancer (do most people just find you via your website)? Do you think your location matters at all when it comes to freelance work? How do you keep your freelance projects organized? I think your blog is great, and it’s really inspiring to see how you’ve gone freelance and made it work.

Thanks for your questions Samantha (I know there were a couple more, I’m holding those for next time :)

I learned my mad web skills by making a really ugly sites on gURL pages and Angelfire when I was about 13. I would see sites with different features and look at their page source and research how to recreated what they’d done. Now I hone my skills by looking up information Stack Overflow, w3Schools and CSS-Tricks.

I’ve been working as a freelancer for about two years and my blog has been online for over five, so when I started offering design services the audience was already there. Now I don’t have to do any marketing at all – clients come to me. Because of this, most of my clients are online, so I can work from anywhere and location isn’t a factor. Though even my local clients communicate via email the majority of the time.

To keep my freelance projects organized I use two things – Google Calendar and Weave. I use Google calendar for scheduling – I set the event to show all day and make each project a different color. Then I use Weave to track tasks, hours and income.

If you have a design, blogging, freelance, coding, or aerial-related question, feel free to submit it here and I might just answer it in an upcoming post!

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Comments

  1. says

    Thank you for the informative post. I was wondering… I’m working as a freelancer at the moment, all my clients are locally based at the moment, but I’m sort of hatching a half-formed plan of moving my business online, in order to be location-independent. Do you have any useful advice on how to do that? I’d really appreciate any pointers :)

  2. says

    I never thought to look at my prices like that! I currently just have a general set price and tack on additional charges for extras. Looking at it from an hourly standpoint makes a lot of sense. This post was extremely helpful. Thanks Sarah!

  3. says

    This helps a lot! I would love to learn more about pricing/ freelancing. I am about a month away from finishing my graphic design schooling and so am just on the cusp of putting more serious effort behind my freelancing. The one question I always have is how the heck to you find clients? You say that you have them now, but how did you go about finding clients when you first started out? I am working on building a portfolio website, which I will link to my blog, FB, etc, to let people know about it. What else should I be doing to bring in traffic?

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