How much should I charge my clients? – A simple guide for freelance Architects, designers, project managers and consultants.
Setting your price can be a daunting task. Go to high and you could risk having no work at all, go to low and you could be underselling yourself. Our simple 5 step guide is here to provide some useful pointers on what you should charge your clients.
- Research the market – when considering your fees and charges, the first port of call is to do some research into the market that you are working in. Think about where you are, what you offer and how you provide your service. For example, a freelance architect working on a residential project in London is likely to charge more than one working on a similar project in rural Wales. Similarly, a project consultant with 20 years’ experience is going to charge more than someone who is new to the industry. There are a variety of online resources, such as surveys, job boards and publications that you can use to help you.
- Consider your competition – when setting your pricing it is important to evaluate what your competitors are doing. It is not necessarily a good thing to be the absolute cheapest and in fact many surveys have found that it can put prospective clients off. However, you need to be competitive and if your pricing is far above everyone else in your industry then you may struggle to get work. That said, you should not undersell yourself and when comparing yourself to others, ensure that you are looking at those with equal levels of knowledge and experience.
- What do you need to earn? – while we know many of you will have a great passion for your work, an important part of being in business is to make a profit and thus earn a good living. You need to consider what your costs are; do you rent a desk in a co-working space? How much is your insurance premium? What other costs do you have? – After considering all these items, and the number of hours you have in a day, you will know what the minimum you need to charge is.
- Know your clients – you need to think about who your clients and target clients are and what they might expect. For example, if you are working for a large multi-national company, they could have pay scales or bands within which they can operate. Whereas, smaller businesses maybe more flexible on what they will pay you. Whichever area you work in, make sure you consider your clients and how they operate when setting your pricing.
- Negotiate and review – if you are not quite sure where to set your pricing then consider using a band or placing the word ‘negotiable’ next to your proposal to your client. By doing this, if you are too expensive or above their budget it invites them to open the discussion about the cost and hopefully you can arrive at terms which suit both parties. However, always remember that you shouldn’t undersell yourself. While, its important to maintain a degree of flexibility with your clients, the project must work for you too.