7 Tips for Setting Your Rates as a New Freelancer


If you decide to set foot on the slippery but very interesting way of freelance, now only you are responsible for all the decisions you make. Freelance means freedom from a strict schedule, but at the same time makes you more responsible for everything you do and for what you get for it.

Therefore, when you have decided on a niche, it’s time to decide on the cost of your work. As a rule, freelance newbies are like blind kittens, and they often make similar mistakes at the beginning of their careers. We wrote this article to help you correctly determine the cost of your work without decreasing your standard of living after moving to freelance, but with the opportunity for further development.

Say No to Dumping

Many novice freelancers seriously believe that if they set a low price, they will be able to catch customers on the hook. Yes, this may work in some cases. But most likely, the project that you get for a penny will be completely unprompted and will not bring you any positive experience. Also, many business owners put quality to be above the price. Many of them are willing to pay more for confidence in the result and the quality of your work.

Therefore, when you set a lower price than accepted on the market for certain services, you automatically reduce the value of the work of other freelancers. You seem to be advancing at their expense. You should not lower the value of other people, but increase yours so that the price of your work is honest and justified. 

If you are still a beginner, then the most reasonable way is to establish an average generally accepted price and look for your ways to convince customers to choose you. In the next paragraph, we tell how to find this middle ground and get into the average market price.

Find out the Average Cost of Your Work in the Market

So, for this, you need to conduct a thorough market analysis. You can do this in several ways, or even use all of the methods below to get the full picture.

  • Analysis of specialized platforms. Everything is simple here – you open freelance websites and analyze your competitors, as well as the prices of published orders. Find the average number that your colleagues ask for their work, and correlate it with the rate that customers offer for the project. If you did everything correctly, then the two average figures – the rates of competitors and customers will approximately coincide.
  • Analysis of job portals. Job sites are also a very useful resource for obtaining information. With their help, you can find out the approximate monthly earnings limits for the specialists of your profile from your location. You will need this figure to determine your financial goals.
  • Specialized analytical sites. The essence of this method is to complement your investigations with real market research. These sites contain real data on the salaries of specialists of various profiles, and those who work on freelance as well. For example, go to PayScale or Glassdoor, write your specialization in the search bar, specify the location and you will get the average amount.
  • Field analysis. Look for sites of the freelancers like you and see what prices they offer. This, by the way, is also a good way to see some ideas you can implement on your website, and also get to know your competitors personally.

Now, after you have received data on the market situation from several sources, you can summarize and calculate the most accurate average figure with which you can start.

Hint! When analyzing the salaries of similar specialists, be sure to pay attention to the level of experience. Typically, these are junior, middle and senior specialists. And if you are now at the junior level, then you need to look at juniors’ salaries. In other words, do not compare an apple with an elephant.

Determine a Pricing Model That Is Comfortable for You

The salary of a freelancer can be calculated in two ways – depending on the hours of work and the result. The first method is ideal for programmers, the second – for writers when the rate varies depending on the number of words. 

For example,

  • The  average content writer from Europe will ask for $3-5 for 100 words of unique text.
  • The average JavaScript developer hourly rate is $30.

Designers, photographers, consultants, and analysts can choose any of these methods. Therefore, determine which work model you like, and then you will clearly understand whether you should set a price for an hour of your work, or is it more profitable to evaluate the results.

Conduct an A / B Testing

If you still doubt both the work model and the most suitable price, then you should conduct testing. For example, if you work at Upwork, try to play with the price for your services a little – from a little low to a bit overpriced. If you make a  lot of bids, then the number of responses will tell you what works and what doesn’t.

This approach also works for job portals. By the way, this is perhaps the best way to get first orders, since Upwork and its analogs are too crowded with competitors. And companies are still looking for freelancers traditionally, and in this case, you will most likely receive offers with an already fixed salary.

Find Your Competitive Advantage

This is more about marketing than about a bid for the work of a freelancer, but your price still should be supported by something. And by the way, even the ability to perform work efficiently and before the deadline is already a good competitive advantage. Find your unique features and make your potential customers know about it. And then they will agree with your price without bargains and discounts.

Consider Investing in Yourself

It is very important. A freelancer who does not develop his skills has a risk of being flunked out of the market. The freelance market is growing, and the availability of any information allows everyone to start independent work. Therefore, ask for the sum that is a worthy payment of your time, plus it allows you to grow.

And by the way, the development and improvement of your skills do not even mean buying expensive courses. This means doing more expensive work in less time and using free time for your training and improvement.

Add the Likelihood of Edits and Improvements

Here we are talking about corrections and improvements, not because of your fault. Your task is to do everything right the first time. And if you made mistakes, you will have to correct them at the expense of your unpaid time. Here we are talking about changes on the part of the customer that also happen often. For example, the customer decided to change his vision a bit, remove something, and add something. And so that you do not have to work for free at his whim, lay a small margin in your price.


So, the optimal freelance pricing strategy is as follows. You set the average price as a novice, plus add the opportunity to develop your skills and do not forget about the probability of unforeseen changes in the requirements for the project.