As a freelancer you are forced to learn new business skills because you are your own boss. When I first started making websites, I was really uncomfortable with the concept of charging people for my services. Granted, you should know that I am an introvert and being assertive is not my strongest trait. I had (and still have) a great mentor who always gave me great advice when it came to pricing my work. While I don't consider myself an expert in this area, I wanted to share some great tips that have worked for me. I am using web design as the example, but this can be applied to any area of work.
1. Research your area
One of the first things you should be doing is searching for local web designers and looking at how much they are charging. Doing this research allows you to see what competition is like in your area and give you an idea of what you should be charging. Different factors could affect this including the overall economy in your area as well as the demand and the demographic that you are reaching.
2. Know your worth
Once you have this new information under your belt, you need to ask yourself a few questions, such as: "Where do I stand?" "How confident am I with my work?" My wise mentor told me that, "low prices attract bad customers," and I completely agree. If you price yourself too low, customers will take advantage of this. I have noticed that these customers also tend to be more demanding . Don't price yourself too low because you feel you are not as good as other designers in your area. Take pride in your work and show this to your clients.
3. Give your clients options with packages
Package pricing has been the best method for me as a freelancer because you are able to control what you offer but still give options to your clients. Packages allow you to easily list out what you are providing for a certain price. I understand some people charge hourly rates, but even then, specifically listing out what you are offering is helpful because then any additional items can be an additional charge.
4. Ask for a deposit before starting
I learned this the hard way. If you are barely starting out, you might not have a contract completely set up, but you should at least take a deposit before starting any sort of work. The last thing you want is a client who never pays you or a client that changes their mind halfway and decides to stop the project.
There are many things I left out that are important, but I figured most people already know about making estimates and invoices. These are just a few tips, do you have any to share? Do you even agree with mine? I'd love to hear feedback either way.