There are 3 main things which the webmasters look at before hiring a freelancer:
– Your resume, CV, portfolio, reputation etc. I.e. everything which can help them appraise your competence as a freelancer
– Your interest in and understanding of their specific project
– Your price
And it is not necessarily in that order. Some will look first at the price, others will be most interested to see that you understand their project, third will want to see that you are an expert. Regardless of which criteria is most important for your potential customer, all of them will have a big influence on their decision.
This article will help you win 1/3 of the freelance battle by giving the most appropriate quote.
The best quote is not the lowest quote
Even if the buyer of your freelance services values the price as the most important criteria, he does not always look for a low quote. Of course the customers in the freelance market can’t or don’t want to pay too much, otherwise they would contact some big company. Most of them want reasonable price.
What does reasonable mean? It’s not about how much you want to take or how much you think is fair. It’s not about the market prices, about how much effort is included or how professional you are. It’s about how much the customer think is fair. A reasonable quote must meet the following requirements:
– Does not include overcharges
– Is not too low. Your client does not want amateur to work on his project
– Does not make them feel scammed
– Does not make you feel underpaid
So how do you know what price to give?
Simple, ask them what is their budget! No, it’s a joke of course. I fact, it’s good to avoid asking the customer what is their budget. Direct asking may make the customer feel pushed.
Sometimes you will have “hints” about your client. They may give approximate budget themselves. You may know them from someone else. If you work on a freelance site, usually the projects have approximate budget or price category. In this case it’s easier. But knowing that is not enough.
Calculate your optimal quote
This is really simple. As a freelancer you must be able to estimate the amount of work involved in the project. You probably have average hourly rate. Multiply the hours to your hourly rate and you have the basic quote. Add to this any fees you may need to pay – for credit card procesors, bank wire, check fees, western union, escrow fees if any and freelance marketplace fees if any.
Now you have your optimal quote. But as said above, such a quote is not the best. Sometimes you may earn more, sometimes may need to work for less.
If you have a fair hourly rate (i.e. not too different from the market) your optimum price will not be too low, neither will be too high in the eyes of your customer.
Going below your optimal quote
Just like you have average hourly rate, you must have a minimal hourly rate. This is a price of your freelance work under which you won’t agree to work. For example it can be 70% of your average hourly rate. Do the calculations from the previous item and you will have your minimal quote.
You may need to quote between your minimal and optimal price in case you:
– are looking for longer term relations with the client
– are desperate for new work
– think the project will help you build expertise or portfolio
Even in these occasions, you need to do it only if you feel the customer won’t accept your optimal quote.
Going above your optimal quote
This is the best scenario. Sometimes the customer will be prepared to pay much more than your optimum price. Sometimes you will know that because they have stated what their target budget is. Sometimes you will be able to judge by the timeframe they offer or by their previous projects.
Being able to receive more does not mean you should overcharge your customer. It is just a nice way to receive a better payment than usual which will allow you also to do a better job. Try giving higher quote only if you feel your potential client is willing to pay more.
Don’t stick to your optimum price, calculated by your hourly rate. This is the market, something costs as much as someone is willing to pay for it. Be flexible when pricing your freelance quote.