Freelance Pricing 101: The Ultimate Guide on How to Price Yourself

Last Updated:

We may receive compensation from the below providers if you purchase through the links provided. 
 Read more here

The interest in freelancing is constantly increasing, and experts see a bright future for the industry of $6.7 billion in total worth by the end of 2025. How can it not be when the average net monthly salary for a freelancer in the US estimates at $6,269?

However, we cannot ignore the fact that such research found that over 60% are unsatisfied with their job salaries. One of the leading issues in freelancing is the salary. Many struggle to determine the appropriate fee that will be adequate for the time and effort they put into the projects. Many feel underpaid or guilty when they propose different rates. 

If you don’t know how to price your services as a freelancer or struggle with them. We’re breaking down the main pricing models in the freelance industry and determining the freelance rates according to a given formula. 

So, let’s begin! 

Identify the Framework – Hourly/Project-based

You have two different ways to assign your pricing rates: hourly or per project. The freelance audience online is divided into two opinions when it comes to the freelance day rate vs hourly rates because both come with their own strengths and weaknesses. 

We decided to review them both, so check them out below!

What are the Pros and Cons of Hourly Pricing?

The advantage of hourly pricing is that the total price of the project is usually always bigger than when charged per project. Additionally, the client respects your time more with this type of pricing, and they won’t be nagging you with questions and meetings because every second counts. 

One significant downside of hourly pricing is that once you get better with the service you offer, you will deliver better results faster and faster, but the salary remains the same. However, if you have a contract with your client, the hourly rate should be increased accordingly.

What are the Pros and Cons of Project-based Pricing?

One of the best perks of charging per project is that it’s easier to increase the freelance rates than hourly pricing. 

But, this type of pricing is more complex because it involves elaborate estimations to ensure you don’t end up underpaid, so it’s not a beginner-friendly pricing model.

How to Decide Your Hourly Rate?

There’s a simple formula that determines freelancer hourly rates, which requires finding the X and Ys. First, you need to estimate your fixed monthly expenses. That’s the X, and let’s say it’s $3,000. 

Then, you establish a working pattern or the Y. Do you plan on working for 8 hours for 5 days or less? In our example, we’ll take 8 hours Monday to Friday because it’s a generic pattern. 

Finally, you use the X and Y to estimate your weekly and monthly working hours as in the example in the bracket:

8h * 5 days = 40 hours per week

20 days * 8 hours = 160 hours per month

Once you’ve established your working hours, we can estimate your costs. To do so, you need to multiply your costs by 3x and then divide the total amount by 160. 

3x $3,000 = $9,000

$9,000 x 160hs = $56.25

Your hourly rate should be around $56.25. 

We stick to this formula because it proved to cover your expenses, considering any situation, including sick or catch-up days. It’s important to always leave room for such days because anything can happen, but you still must be on time with your delivery. That’s rule number one in becoming a successful freelancer.

How to Estimate Your Project-based Rate?

When determining your project-based rate, you have to be careful with the estimation to include everything because you might not meet the deadline or get underpaid for the project.

Namely, determining the project rate begins by breaking it down into three major components:

  • Time: You must estimate how much time you need to complete the entire project;
  • Money: You can use the hourly rate to estimate the money needed
  • Project Evaluation: You must evaluate the project

Basically, during the project estimation you need to figure if you’d need more people to include to complete the task which affects the time and vice versa. So, let’s see how experienced freelancers estimate the project.

Divide the Project

Firstly; you must thoroughly explore the entire project and make sure you understand everything your client wants and asks for. Then, start planning the project realization. 

Usually, the easiest approach in project planning is breaking down the batch into the main components and then determining how much time you’d need to complete the batch.

Solo or Team Effort

It’s really important to be realistic because you’ll most likely fail to meet the deadline, feel burnout, and get underpaid. Also, if you’re a first-time freelancer, then you shouldn’t accept solo gigs on big projects. 

If you really want a big project for experience, for example, you can create a team. However, since having more people on board affects your time, make sure to recalculate the time needed to complete the project and set a new deadline. Additionally, you need to estimate the expenses for their services.

Consider Client Meetings and Revisions

During the project, you should know that you will probably have many client meetings and expect to do revisions after completing the task. If you set a fixed price, make sure that you include the revisions in the price, as many beginners fail to do and end up feeling underpaid. 

Since it takes lots of time to revise the projects, you need to estimate that 20% of the time spent on the project goes solely on revisions and client meetings.

Add Holidays to the Equation

Freelancing is the same as any regular 9-5 job. Therefore, make sure that you estimate everything that comes with it, including the holidays. Take time to relax and recharge your batteries because overworking is unproductive and unhealthy for your physical and mental health.

You also need to consider unwanted scenarios like sick days or catch-up days. Sometimes you might need a bit more time to recover or get stuck with the project, so make sure that you can balance everything out and meet the deadline. 

Estimate the Profit

Before we get into estimating the profit, you should have estimated the project costs by now. If you haven’t, please do so.

Once you do, you add the profit to that rate. Namely, many freelancers stick to a 10-20% profit which is normal since many others don’t add profit at all. 

However, we’re still sticking to the 20% or even more, especially if you see a needy project or client in the picture. Experienced freelancers say that profit percentage can move 400%+ for some companies or high-rated freelancers.

Therefore, ensure that your job, effort, and nerves (if we have to be honest) are well exhausted because they’re the only tools that generate more money for you.

Did You Consider a Retainer Model?

Landing a trustworthy client with a retainer model is one of the best things you can do to secure a successful freelance year. Plus, making retainer models with clients certainly affects your professional image on the market in a good aspect. 

Otherwise, retainer agreements are official, written contracts between a consultant, independent contractor, or freelancer and their client. By signing a retainer agreement, the customer pledges to pay you in advance and retain your services.

A retainer fee is a set amount that the customer agrees to pay in accordance with the expected volume of work and their anticipated demand for your services. The set charge may be paid in one lump sum, monthly, or annually. Many clients prefer to work with the retainer agreement, as well.

Additional Tips

Probably one of the best tips you should edge to your brain if your plan on making a living from freelancing is to never accept a bargain that’s not satisfying your prime needs. In other words, if you notice a client backing off from an offer, don’t accept the lowest because chances are they’re just scammers that don’t want to pay for the job. Instead, before you make your bargain add extra value to the rate, so it can drop to a reasonable price. 

Also, the client will always ask you to lower the price, and you should never say NO to it because it sounds arrogant and tense. Treat your clients with kindness and lots of patience. That’s why saving your sanity is important in this job.

However, to make sure that you’re on the right track, we’ve picked the best tips you should turn into habits if you plan on turning your profile into a pro.

Do an A/B Test 

One of the best ways to establish a good customer relationship with your clients is to run an A/B Test.

Namely, by using A/B testing, you can improve user engagement, lower bounce rates, boost conversion rates, decrease risk, and produce content more successfully. A/B testing may significantly improve your performance.

Talk to Fellow Freelancers

Talking to your fellow freelancers is a must. Although they’re your competitors, there will always be jobs for everyone if you know how to run the market, and point number one is solidarity. 

You might see some freelancers charge more than you, but that’s because they’re longer in the business than you, and experience always counts in this business, sometimes even more than skills. When a client looks for a freelancer to do their project, what they read is an experienced freelancer is a person to tackle their project without so many questions and revisions. That’s the truth.

However, if you’re a beginner, you cannot let this discourage you. Instead, you should focus on your skills and offer a more affordable rate until you climb up the ladder. You can get in touch with senior freelancers who can walk you through until you can stand independently. 

See How the Industry Works

Learning everything about the industry is a must if you want to compete in the freelance market, which is getting saturated daily.

Since the platform is fairly liberal, you must know that there are clients and freelancers of all types. You may run into a client that will seem promising at the beginning and then leave the project out of the blue, steal your project, or leave you penniless. Therefore, make sure the client doesn’t have access to the project until it’s finalized.

You should also be careful who you collaborate with because many have learned that lesson the hard way. Some freelancers can be so convincing and make you trust them, so accepting a collaboration is only natural. However, somewhere during the middle of a 3-month project,  you might find yourself with no access to the project you’ve been working on. 

Therefore, make sure that you always get a secure gig, and how do we do that? Through contracts! It’s not daunting or embarrassing, and it’s better to get paid than to hand in a project for free.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a freelancer is not for the faint of heart ones. You will have to toughen up because you will see lots of criticism, negative comments, unsolicited advice, and the list goes on. However, you can fight all that if you’re only faithful to yourself and what you do best. 

For that reason, regardless if you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, you must make sure that the price rate you offer will support you, and what’s most important is that you focus on your skills. Offer agreements to clients to ensure that the client will pay for their project.

In most cases, clients are more than happy to sign an agreement because it provides some security for them, as well. If you’re an experienced freelancer, then the pricing should be in accordance with your skills and capabilities. Experience counts, and just like we used it in the examples above, make sure that it counts.

We hope you’ve found our guide useful and that it helped you learn how to price your services as a freelancer.


Divide your target yearly pay by 52, and that’s how you know how much money you must make each week. After that, divide the sum by 40. You now have the hourly rate you need to bill customers.

The freelance charge by hour is determined by multiplying your fixed expenses by 3 and then dividing the total amount by the number of working hours in a month (160 hours for all those working 8 hours per day).

Usually, freelancers may charge a 3% project fee.

You must break down the project and determine the time needed to complete the task. Then, multiply the hours with the rate/s, depending if you have a team or a solo gig.

About the Author
Skip to

Related Articles

Freelance UX Design featured image

Freelance UX Design: Everything You Need to Know

Freelancer vs. Consultant featured image

Freelancer vs. Consultant: What’s the Difference?

How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Invoice as a Freelancer: Tips and Best Practices

Will AI Replace Copywriters? AI Tools Guide

Working for a US Company Abroad featured image

Working for a US Company Abroad: What You Need to Know

How to Become a Freelance Writer featured image

How to Become a Freelance Writer: A Step-by-Step Guide

Equipments for Digital Nomads featured image

Essential Equipment for Digital Nomads: The Ultimate Remote Working Gear

Freelance vs. Contract featured image

Freelance vs. Contract: What’s the Difference and Mne is More Beneficial

Business Insurance for Freelancers featured image

Guide to Business Insurance for Freelancers

Freelancer Side Hustle featured image

How to Become a Freelancer Side Hustle Pro: Tips for Success

How to Become a Successful Freelance Digital Marketer Guide

Hybrid Remote Work featured image

Hybrid Remote Work: The Future of Work?

Why Remote Working Will Die featured image

Why Remote Work is Poised to Die

Working Remotely from Another State featured image

Working Remotely from Another State: Everything You Need to Know

Which Platform is Best for Freelancers -

Which Platform is Best for Freelancers?

Brand Yourself As Freelancer

How Do I Brand Myself as a Freelancer? Step-by-Step Guide

What is Freelance Video Editing

What is Freelance Video Editing & How to Earn From It

How Much Do Freelance Video Editors Make?

How Much Do Freelance Video Editors Make

How to brand yourself as a developer

5 Effective Tips on How to Brand Yourself as a Developer

How much do freelancers earn

How Much Money Can Be Made From Freelancing?

Freelancing vs Full-time Jobs

Freelancing Vs Full-Time Job – What to Choose?

How To Work On Fiverr

How To Work On Fiverr To Make Six Figure Income

Cybersecurity tips for Remote Workers

Ensure Cybersecurity When Working Remotely or From Home

How To Make Money On UpWork

How to Make Money on Upwork – Complete Guide

3 Core Advantages of Cloud Computing for Remote Workers

3 Major Advantages of Cloud Computing for Remote Workers

5 Reasons Why Digital Freelancing is the Future of Work

5 Reasons Why Digital Freelancing is the Future of Work

best project management tools featured image

Best Project Management Tools

Self-care strategies for Freelancers

5 Practical Self-Care Strategies for Freelancers

best keyword research tools featured image

Best Keyword Research Tools

Best SEO platforms

Best SEO Platforms in 2024

Best AI Content Tools for Freelancers

The Best AI Content Tools Listed for Freelancers in 2024

rising talent badge on UpWork

How to Get The Rising Talent Badge on Upwork?

How to Become a Freelance Photographer With No Experience featured image

How to Become a Freelance Photographer With No Experience

Living on the Move: Exploring the Nomadic Lifestyle featured image

Living on the Move: Exploring the Nomadic Lifestyle

How to Effectively List Freelance Work on LinkedIn featured image

How to Effectively List Freelance Work on LinkedIn

How to Be a Freelance Social Media Manager

How and Why to Write a Cover Letter for Remote Position

How to Become a Successful Freelance HR Consultant

Guide on How to Give Prompts and Talk to GPT-3

How To Use Jasper AI Recipes

Guide on How to Use Jasper Boss Mode

How to Use GPT-3 in OpenAI Playground

5 Ways You Can Showcase Your Freelance Services Online

Accounting 101: For Freelancers and Self-Employed

How to Negotiate as a Freelancer [3 Sample Email Templates Included]

Freelancing Red Flags

5 Most Common Client Red Flags in Freelancing

Best PayPal Alternatives for Freelance Payments

Best PayPal Alternatives For Freelance Payments

How to become successful in freelancing

How To Be Successful in Freelancing? 7 Highly Useful Tips

Easy Online Part-Time Jobs

10 Easy Online Part-Time Jobs to Enjoy Self-Earned Money

Freelancers Visa - Best Countries to Work as a Freelancer

Freelancer Visa: Best Countries to Work as A freelancer

Why Personal Branding for Freelancers Is Important

Why Is Personal Branding Important for Freelancers like You?

Best Freelance Jobs For College dropouts

The Best Freelance Jobs For College Students

Co Working Space vs Traditional Office

Coworking vs Traditional Office Spaces – Choose Perfect Option that Fits

History of CoWorking Spaces

History of Coworking Space: The Complete Timeline for New Startups

Concept of Hot Desking

Hot Desking: All You Need to Know

Canva Transparent Background Guide

How to Create a Transparent Background With Canva

How to become a content writer with no experience

How to Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience?

Images in Webflow

A Guide to Working With Images in Webflow – Webflow Images

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Canva

Canva: The Guide to Frequently Asked Questions

Tips for Better Mental Health for Remote Freelancers & Workers

How To Take Care Of Your Mental Health While Working Remotely

Can You Use Canva Pro Images for Commercial Use

Can You Use Canva Pro Images for Commercial Use? An Honest Guide

How to Use Duda for Website Building

How to Use Duda Website Builder

SemRush For Keyword Research

How to Use Semrush for Keyword Research

How To Write UpWork Proposal

How to Write an Upwork Proposal To Win High Paying Clients

How To Get Jobs On UpWork

How To Get Jobs On UpWork That Value Your Time And Worth?

Duda Alternatives

The 4 Best Duda Alternatives in 2022

reasons to use clickup

10 Reasons to Use ClickUp for Team Management

Webflow Alternatives

Webflow Alternatives: Business Site Options at Your Fingertips

Effective Tips to Promote Fiverr Gigs

How to Promote Fiverr Gigs & Services?

High Paying Freelancing Skills

9 High-Paying Freelancing Skills in 2021

Developer Tools for Productivity

10 Best Developer Tools To Increase Your Productivity In 2021

Tips to Manage Money as a Freelancer

How to Manage Your Money As a Freelancer

7 crucial things to know before you start freelancing

7 Crucial Things to Know Before You Start Freelancing

freelance skills that you can start learning today

Top 10 Freelance Skills You Can Start Learning Today

7 Ways to Discover Whether A Freelancing Career Is Right For You

7 Ways to Discover Whether A Freelancing Career Is Right For You?

10 Powerful Tips on How To Use LinkedIn To Earn Clients

10 Powerful Tips on How To Use LinkedIn To Earn Clients

Ahrefs Best Alternatives

Ahrefs Best Alternatives – Key Features & More

Manage Finance & Accounting of Your Remote Based Business

How to Manage Your Remote Based Business Finance & Accounting

Freelance vs Self Employed - What type of worker are you

Freelance vs Self-Employed – Which Type Of Worker Are You?

advices and tips to overcome remote work challenges

How to Overcome Remote Work Challenges – Actionable Tips

Pros and Cons of Freelancing to Consider

10 Pros and Cons of Freelancing to Consider

Becoming a Successful Remote Freelancer

How to Become a Successful Remote Freelancer?

productivity tips for working from home

8 Work from Home Productivity Tips

tips for becoming a great podcast guest

How to Be a Great Podcast Guest

Tips for Branding Yourself as SEO Freelancer

How Do I Brand Myself as SEO Freelancer

How to become a Podcast Guest

How to Become a Podcast Guest

How do freelancers pay tax

How to Pay Tax as a Freelancer? – Complete Guide

In Demand Freelancing Skills in 2021

Which Freelancing Skills Are In-Demand for 2021

How to become a Freelancer with No experience

How Can I Become a Freelancer with No Experience?

Can Freelancing be a Career -

Can Freelancing be a Career?

How to get a freelancing job without experience -

9 Tips to Get Freelancing Job Without Experience as a Beginner

BEST free design tools everything freelance

5 Best Free Design Tools You’ll Ever Need

Android Apps to Improve Your Company Management

4 Android Apps To Improve Your Company Management

How to get clients for a New Business

How to Get Clients for A New Business?

How to get ecommerce clients

How to Get E-commerce Clients

How to get a client to pay their bills

How to Get a Client to Pay their Bill

Types of Difficult Clients

Types of Difficult Clients and Effective Ways to Handle Them

Best Visual Collaboration Tools for Remote Work

Best Visual Collaboration Tools for Remote Work

Best Freelance Management Platforms

Best Freelance Management Platforms for 2021