Negotiating Your Freelance Rates

Negotiating Your Freelance Rates: How to Work Less And Earn More 

Most freelancers sell themselves short – and if you’re reading this, there’s a big chance you’re one of them. Working endless hours, having no weekends off… 

That’s the harsh reality of most freelancers.

But what if you could work half the hours you currently do, yet get the same salary? 

That’s what we will help you achieve. In this post, you’ll discover how to negotiate your rates and get paid what you deserve!

Most Employers Asking for a Discount Are Willing to Pay Your Desired Rate

Most clients have the budget to pay your standard rate; however, they believe you are willing to work for less – and they’re usually right!

It’s vital to stand your ground and don’t sell yourself short because it will make you look:

  • Unprofessional
  • Desperate

Neither of which is a good look.

If your dream is to become the best graphic designer possible, and help your clients achieve their goals, then never lower your standards.

How to Negotiate Freelance Rates with a New Client

The proper negotiation skills will allow you to work less – and earn more!

In this section, you’ll discover the best actionable ways to negotiate your rates like a pro, and get the rate you always wanted.

#1: Position Yourself as a Professional

This is the most critical step in the negotiation process. It’s all about positioning. You must position yourself correctly – as a valuable asset, not a burden.

Positioning yourself as an asset for a company will help you:

  • Have long-term relationships with customers
  • Move faster in your career
  • Get your desired rate

Here is how most freelance graphic designers “sell” themselves:

bad positioning graphic designer

As you can see, this positioning brings no value to your clients and does not separate you from the rest – anyone can create a bunch of graphics.

Now compare it to the proper positioning you can see below.

proper positioning graphic designer

You can immediately see the unique selling proposition, and the value.

To get this right, you must shift your mindset and view yourself as a professional. Here are a few questions that can help you with that:

  • What are the company’s main goals and objectives?
  • What relevant results can I bring to my clients?
  • What separates me from my competitors?

#2: Understand Your Client’s Needs

You have to tailor your message to your audience.

We highly recommend that you do your research before you hop on a call with a client and figure out ways you can help them.

This can significantly increase your chances of having a successful call since it helps you:

  • See precisely how you can be a valuable asset
  • Better estimate the client’s budget
  • Get to know the client’s business

Your next step is to hook the price to the results you can bring. For instance, here is an example of how NOT to do it.

bad presentation of pricing

As you can see, your client is paying for logos, social media posts, etc. Now compare it to this one:

hooking price to results

In this example, your client is paying for DOUBLE their current following on social media, getting more impressions, and beating competitors with better designs. 

Of course, you shouldn’t scam people or promise results you can’t bring – this will only backfire and lead to a bad reputation. However, if you’re confident with your skills and you’ve previously achieved great results, you should definitely go for it.

#3: Be Firm, Yet Flexible

You have to be firm and stand your ground when it comes to your rates. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t adjust to the client and the project. 

After all, the most important thing is not only to get paid, but also to enjoy what you do.

comparing two projects

Which project would you rather get?

The second one, for sure! Even though the price is a bit lower, It gives you a much better environment to work in, and allows you to finish your work while doing what you love.

(You’ll also be able to finish the work sooner, and move on to the next project.)

We’re not suggesting you lower your rates – just don’t be silly about them. If it’s only a little lower, but included with it is a bunch of great benefits, it’s definitely worth it.

#4: State a Specific Price, Not a Range

Offering a range to your potential clients suggests that you’re either indecisive, or desperate for a job – both of which are unappealing to the clients. That’s why we advise stating a specific number you want.

Here is an average freelance rate for graphic designers – around $30 an hour.

average freelance rate graphic designer

You can easily compare it with your rate to know whether you charge less, or just enough. Of course, if you’re very skilled, your rates will be much higher.

Not Sure What’s Your Hourly Rate?

It can be difficult to estimate the time it takes you to create a project and how much to charge for it, especially if you’re used to getting milestone payments.

But knowing how much your time is worth is critical, since knowing this will help you to:

  • Stop selling yourself short
  • Look more professional (you won’t hesitate when a client asks about it)

We’re going to use Atarim’s time-tracking feature to help you figure out your hourly rate. To start tracking time, we need to head over to the Dashboard Inbox, or Boards.

Atarim inbox

Once you have found a task you would like to track time on, you can click the “Add Timer” button in the attributes of the task.

add timer to a task

This will add this task to your “Active Timers” in the bottom left of the screen. This only becomes visible if you have one or more tasks added.

running timer in Atarim

To add another task to the active timers, we can click on another task and hit the “Add Timer” button.

► Note: You can only have one timer running at any given time.

active timer

That’s it.

Now you just have to calculate your hourly rate by dividing what you’re getting paid by the number of hours you spent.

This will ensure you won’t be selling yourself short when asked, “What’s your hourly rate?”

#5: Be Prepared to Walk Away

Not all clients will want to work with you for your rate.

There are some clients that can’t appreciate the quality and hard work you’re putting in the work you do – and they don’t deserve you!

Don’t downgrade yourself or try to please everyone for fear of not having enough money.

There are plenty of clients who are willing to pay your rate – or even higher. Just move on and find someone who will appreciate your hard work and pay you what you deserve.

What About Renegotiating Rates with Existing Clients?

If you’re selling yourself short, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Everyone has made this mistake at least once in their career, and most freelancers don’t even realize it. Fortunately, you’ve decided to change it, so what can you do about it?

The most important thing is to bind your increased rates to the value you provide. 

You need to show your clients that you can now bring much more money to the table than you did when you first negotiated the rate. Aside from money, you can also leverage newly obtained qualifications and experience.

Make it mutually beneficial – not just “I want a higher salary,” as most freelancers do.

Quick Tip: Be patient, and don’t renegotiate your rate after only a few weeks or months – it shows you’re there just for the money.

Conclusion – Stop Selling Yourself Short

Most freelancers lack negotiating skills, and work for pennies while being stuck in their careers, working with less-than-acceptable clients. The most common problem we see is not knowing what to charge, and trying to please every client as a result.

Here is the reality – some clients are there just to scam you. 

You can’t do anything about clients like that. They will only waste your time and money. Instead, find clients who value quality and want to make an impact.

The key aspect is knowing your rate so you don’t sell yourself short. 

And that’s exactly what our tool can help you achieve! 

Atarim is the leading visual collaboration platform trusted by 13,000+ agencies worldwide (web dev, design, and beyond), supporting project delivery for 1,200,000+ of their clients. Atarim’s groundbreaking platform can help you accurately find out your hourly rate and better organize your work. 

One of the unique and revolutionary features of Atarim is that it has been built on the foundation of point-and-click collaboration – allowing clients to point at what they’re referring to and then immediately leave feedback, say what needs to be changed, etc. 

Agencies, developers, and project managers use Atarim to eliminate the need to rely on guesswork and endless back-and-forth email communication. 

Try Atarim for free, figure out your hourly rate, and maximize your productivity now.

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