One of the big issues in freelancing is the famous hourly rate. A major challenge for companies and consultants, agreeing on the freelancer’s rate is the main point of negotiation between the two parties. How can client budgets, market prices and intermediary costs be balanced? How do hourly rates impact a project?
“Market” rates are only a rough indicator
Freelancing has been booming for some years. As a deep-rooted trend, it can give some media players the opportunity to renew their editorial lines and propose market analyses, trends and prospective views, in cases where quality is variable.
Whilst it is important to keep abreast of market trends on pricing, expert companies’ major reports on the subject should be heeded to set your freelance rate, as well as discussions with market players, through meetings, on specialized forums and in social media discussion groups.
The smart way to stand out against competition
“If I lower my prices, I’m more likely to be chosen by the client” is a phrase too often uttered by young freelancers. You should ban it from your thoughts, as well as the accompanying view of the market. Things have got to the stage where a low price is no longer necessarily a significant consideration for a client. Clients will above all look for skills and a level of expertise. In this case, low prices can be seen as a sign of poor-quality output.
Standing out from the competition smartly is more about capturing the attention of the project manager who consults your profile. Having a clear and detailed argument, showing coherence between hourly rate, seniority and skills related to the required perimeter are all essential to proving your added value.
Your future client only wants to have visibility on the way their project is going to develop. Seize the opportunity to show them you are the best choice!
Negotiate your freelance rate with the client
Throughout the call for tender, the client usually has quite a clear vision of the hourly rate they are prepared to pay. This is linked to their project objectives as well as their budgetary constraints. However, companies are no longer in cost-killing mode and your future client’s project managers are more open to your budgetary propositions than a few years ago. Technological expertise is becoming scarcer and getting a client to accept prices is no longer as complicated, provided that the negotiation is well-managed.
Involving several phases, this negotiation can sometimes happen over several months. As a freelance consultant, it is important to listen to the client, establish their needs, show them your competitive advantages, and only discuss pricing at the end, which will become fairly evident. This is your chance to prove to your interlocutor that your hourly rate is justified, by presenting a detailed business plan.
What is the best strategy for setting hourly rates?
If setting your daily rate is definitively an individual decision, the bid for tender is part of the strategy. Here are some strategic elements to boost your chances of being chosen:
- Pay attention to the market, but don’t follow it blindly
- Have a high-quality CV/profile, with references and proof of the quality of your work.
- Obtain recommendations from former colleagues/employers
- Take the time to negotiate with the client and talk about their needs with the aim of offering them a vision of their project, in which you position yourself as the best solution for them
- Propose a clear vision of your freelance rate, its implications and your commitment
- Don’t be afraid of asking for a higher hourly rate, if the project justifies it.
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