As a freelancer, you’re responsible for setting your rate and determining how much to charge your prospective clients. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, and if you get your initial pricing structure wrong, you will find yourself spending a lot of time on a specific project without earning enough money. It’s equally as important to offer good value for money, as freelancing is competitive, and if your quote is too high, potential clients will look elsewhere for their desired services. Here are seven secrets to guarantee your next freelance job provides an accurate estimate.
1. Fully understand the scope of the freelancing gig
Before taking on a particular project, you need to fully understand that you are capable of delivering the work that you quote for. Many projects are multi-layered and can prove to be complex in nature, so you need to sit down and work out exactly what tasks are required of you and how long it’s likely to take you to complete the work. If you misunderstand the scope of the project, you won’t be able to accurately estimate how long it will take you, which proves challenging when it comes to putting together a quote.
2. Understand the timeline for delivery
The next thing you need to know is the expected timeline for the delivery of the project that you’re taking on. The first thing you need to be aware of is your capacity. If you have several other big projects on at the same time, you need to be aware of your other deadlines and balance the work appropriately. If your client is expecting the work to be delivered fast, you need to factor this into the cost and quote for it accordingly. However, if it’s not a rush project, you still need to ensure that you have the capacity to take it on and complete it in a timely manner.
3. Reduce dependencies
The more control you retain over your projects, the easier it is to deliver on time. What’s more, the fewer people you need to hire to work with you, the more money you get to keep for yourself. While dependents might enable you to take on more work, it’s also added stress and pressure that can cost you clients in the long run. The other thing to consider is that if you outsource some of your work, you may be subject to additional costs that you didn’t necessarily budget for. Again, this influences what you should charge for your work, so be sure to bear it in mind when preparing an estimate.
4. Break the work down into smaller pieces
With any new project, it’s a good idea to break it down into smaller pieces, or milestones, as this will give you a good understanding of how much time it will take you to complete. What’s more, compartmentalizing your projects will allow you to plan your work efficiently, as you might even be able to complete parts of ongoing projects simultaneously (if you need to use a particular software for certain tasks, for instance). When you’ve put together a plan of how long you think it will take you to complete the project, you’re in a much better position to provide an estimate for the work.
5. Know the market rate for freelancers and the freelancing gig
When you’re new to freelancing, you will have to rely on the market rate to set your prices and to provide estimates for any work that you carry out. The best way to know the market rate is to undertake some research and look for freelancers with similar skills and experience to you and look at what they charge for their services. You should also make a note of their client base (if you can see it) and how much positive feedback they’ve received. You can usually get a good feel for whether or not someone offers good value for money by reading their profile, and you can then begin to plan your prices accordingly.
6. Know your minimum rate
Although you need to understand what the market rate is for the services you’re offering, you also need to work out what your minimum rate is. It’s very common for clients to negotiate with freelancers, so you need to enter conversations about potential projects with your minimum rate in mind. If you aren’t aware of this, you could end up taking on work that really isn’t worth it (from a financial perspective), so you need to fully understand how much you need to work for to cover your costs and to make a decent amount of profit for yourself.
7. Account for additional expenses
Regardless of the type of freelancing work you undertake, there are always likely to be more costs than just your time. Whether it’s the cost of mobile internet, third-party applications that enable you to carry out specific work, or perhaps payment and invoicing services, your freelancing business occurs additional expenses that you might not consider from the outset. When providing an accurate estimate, you need to understand what your additional expenses are, so you can factor them into your quotes. This way, you won’t undercut yourself and leave yourself exposed upon completion of the project.
Providing accurate estimates to your potential clients isn’t straightforward, as there are lots of things you need to consider. Generally speaking, you need to understand your personal situation and research the market in which you work to get a good idea of the price that you need to charge for your work. You should ensure it’s accurate, competitive, and provides good value for money. If your estimates are good value and work for both you and the client, it’s a sure-fire way of winning business for yourself.