How Much Can you Charge for Freelance Graphic Design?

It is a question that I often see in forums and its hard to answer, just how much can you charge for freelance graphic design?

Personally I think it depends on many factors

1. Your location – what the going rate is in your location, but how do you find that out. Ask around, you can generally get an idea. Did your old company use freelancers how much did they charge.

2. Who are you going to work for – If you have work directly for a company (non design) you can probably charge more than if you are working for design companies (doing overflow or outsourced work). A design company, will want to make sure they make a decent mark up on your work. You can work for a (non design) company directly, charge more and still make a saving for the company than if they had gone to a design agency as your overheads are much lower.

So why not do all work directly for companies – it is harder to get the work – it is more hassle (and therefore possibly more time) – you have to go to the meetings manage the work etc.

3. How experienced you are. You might only have a couple of years experience behind you, and so to do a certain job would take you a day, for someone with 10 years experience it could take half a day.

4. Terrible, but – how much you think you can get away with. The local bakershop comes do you and asks you to design him a logo you quote him £300, an International company ask for the same thing you quote him £3000. Of course for the International company you are also liable to be spending considerably more time and research on the design.

5. How much you need/want to earn. Imagine you are working full time for a design agency and you earn £24000 per year – thats £2000 per month – £500 per week (£12.50 and hour base on 40 hours a week). You decide to go freelance and decide you would like to earn at least the same amount. You will need to charge more than £12.50 because, some of the time you may not have work – your wage included sick and holiday pay and perhaps other benefits too. You will have to decide how much these were all worth and how much work you think you can get.

6. If you work by the job, hour or day rate (do you work at home or inhouse). If you work by the job, do you build in an amount for amends, or do you charge these as extra – you need to consider this at the beginning.

If you work inhouse – the company knows exactly how much time you are putting in, so if you get a job done quickly you will get another one to squeeze into the rest of the time. If you work at home and have quoted a day, you might finish early and so gain the benefit, however it could also work the other way and you have to put an extra couple of hours in.

I have worked in different ways for different people – some literally by the hour – any amends are charged by the hour too, and some by the job where I have to build in some time for amends into the cost.

How does everybody else work out what to charge?

Lauren from Creative Curio has kindly created a Freelance rates calculator PDF which you can find on the Design Resources page.

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47 Comments

  1. Posted May 5, 2007 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I dont know if there is a pattern that by following it you can actual use in order to charge.

    But as you said above knowing your experiance and how much you need/want to make a month and long will it take you is a good way to be really fair with your clients.

  2. Posted May 17, 2007 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I received a worksheet in one of my business classes that helped us calculate our hourly rate based on all sorts of things like health insurance costs, utility bills, income taxes, rent, etc. These weren’t necessarily things that could be written off as business expenses, but more “How much money do we need to make a month to live?” I don’t remember all the specifics that I entered in mine, but it said I would have to charge at least $60/hr. I think as a recent graduate I would be extremely lucky to get $40/hr.

    I’ve discovered that the rate for people with my amount of experience in my area is between $30-$45/hr. In my recent experience in determining how much to charge, I think about how much work the job will be. I go through and break down all the work I have to do and estimate the amount of hours I think all the different tasks will take. For example, 4 comps will take about 3 hours each and finalizing the design will take an additional 4 hours, including going back and forth with the client and revisions, and I add in a little bit for a consultation fee (my knowledge is worth something!). Knowing how long something will take just comes with experience, learning how quickly you work. And be sure to add in a little extra for unforeseen problems!

  3. Posted May 18, 2007 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Your business classes sounded really useful. The ones I had (years ago! on my design course) didn’t really teach me anything of use in the real world.

  4. Posted May 18, 2007 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I think that was about the only useful thing I learned because that was the only business class I had that was actually taught by a designer. All the other ones were accounting, how to write a business plan, technical writing… and they weren’t tailored to designers. I’ll see if I can find that worksheet. Maybe you can post it in the resources section!

  5. Posted May 18, 2007 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    That would be great if you can find it thanks.

  6. Posted July 28, 2007 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    I charge $75 per hour for the most part. I’m fairly cheap for websites (somewhere between $500 on $5000) Logos I start at $375 and go up from there.

    I started by charging $25 and was told by other designers that I needed to up my prices because it was cheapening the service for the industry. I believed them.

    I’m in Texas. I was in San Antonio when I started my business 5 years ago and I’m not in College Station (3 hours to the North East).

    Of course some clients I charge less.

    Thanks for the post. I’ll be watching this blog.

    Here’s my design blog: http://jorgegoyco.blogspot.com

  7. toolz
    Posted August 14, 2007 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    i don’t have a pricing structure, i charge by the clients’ wallet and the complexity of the project. if i get a client who can afford, why not make them pay more. but for starting companies or person(s), i charge them less, because should their companies grow, i stand to benefit later. so always have marketing mentality, to maintain your relationships with your clients.

  8. Posted August 16, 2007 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    If you have it available, pick up a copy of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, put out by AIGA. It is tailored to the USA, but for those of us here it’s an invaluable resource. It’s updated regularly, and gives ranges for just about every creative field, as well as rough variations for location.

  9. Posted September 4, 2007 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m just starting out with a friend (we’re going more for webdesign rather than graphic design) and we’re really struggling with what to charge… We both work 9-5 so it’s not like we’re in this for the money, so even if we make £1, that’s cool. But, we don’t want to charge too little…

    Any suggestions?

  10. Posted September 5, 2007 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Hi Rachael,

    I think a lot depends where you are based, your experience etc. Are you intending charging an hourly rate or by the job. I have a rough idea what print designers charge hourly rate Uk – East Mids. if you want to email me to discuss please use the contact form.

  11. Posted September 27, 2007 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    As far as I can see, factor #4 is the most useful.

  12. Posted September 27, 2007 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    A s far as I can see, factor #4 is the most useful.

  13. Posted September 30, 2007 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Iam doing freelancing in webdesign, graphic design and print……

  14. Posted November 15, 2007 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    The fact is graphic designs are a dime a dozen these days. Charging thousand of dollars is no longer an option.

  15. Posted November 28, 2007 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I think number two is very important. Designers who freelance for big companies can charge more than those working for agencies (who take a cut) and small businesses (who keep a close eye on spending). In particular, designers who focus their service on marketing departments in large companies can often charge the best rates.

    I’m a marketing manager for a publisher, and I expect to pay my designers around £40-£50 ($100) per hour; approx £2000/$4000 for a 12-page brochure; £500/$1000 for an ad. (Maybe not at first, but if once in, my regular designers can bump up their fee by at least 25%. Not all of them do, but they could, and I would pay it.)

    The issue is really what your design is worth to your client. In the advertising arena, design is crucial for selling the product, and results can be quickly measured. Therefore marketing clients will be willing to pay an extra £200 or so — as a slightly better design can make a massive difference to sales.

    When you work for a marketing department, you’re often dealing with people with big budgets. In my case, I don’t necessarily shy away from ‘expensive’ designers. In fact, I gravitate towards them. Because it’s not MY money, and being an advertiser and copywriter, I know the importance of good design.

    To find out more about freelance design rates and pitching in the marketing field, visit http://www.copywriting-designers.com/latest_home_based_business_ideas.html

  16. Posted December 2, 2007 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Shaun, that’s some good advise. It’s good to see that some people are recognizing the designers’ worth. I’ll take a look at that link…

  17. Posted January 2, 2008 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I have always stunk at charging for graphic design. When I would find a client that I really liked working with, I ended up charging way too little. I was practically a graphic design philanthropist.

    I found a loop-hole to the whole thing. I started using my abilities to create my own products. Instead of trying to sell a lot of hours, I try to sell a lot of T-shirts. With the quality of digital printing getting to new levels, there has got to be all kinds of opportunities out there for people with good design skills.

  18. Posted January 4, 2008 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I also believe it all depends which company you are working for. Even with 8 years expereince under my belt I have charged some companies from £12 to £75 per hour, sometimes you also have to see what project you are working on, when I charge someone £12 or £15 an hour I am not suppose to create concepts and spend time on research, I normally tell client this before and mostly what I come up first time client take it after some amends.

    Now I work full time in big IT company on senior level and usually hire freelance designers time to time to shed my workload and in this case I am not going to pay them £40 or £60 an hour. £18 to £20 feels reasonable for someone with couple of years experience.

  19. Posted February 22, 2008 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    We pay some designers upto £100.00 per hour, and some we pay £10.00 per hour. It depends on how good they are. Pay peanuts, get monkeys ;-)

  20. Posted March 17, 2008 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    There’s a wide gap in what people get paid in the freelance space. If you’re a freelancer who does most of their work through an agency, you’ve got to leave enough margin for your client. This creates an upwards limit on how much you can get paid.

    There’s also a lower limit too. You shouldn’t find yourself getting paid any less than what you would as a full-time employee.

  21. Posted March 17, 2008 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    In terms of how I work out what to charge, I always base it on hourly rate. For fixed price projects I will work out how many hours I think will go into the work and price accordingly.

  22. Posted March 22, 2008 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    I think sometimes you dont have to overprice. If you want to get the freelance job, you should first impress the client. After the job you can charge him a decent rate because you already have proven your worth.In my case he’s the one giving me a good payback without me asking him.

  23. Posted May 30, 2008 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Its catch 22, if your too expensive you will put people off as you will if your too cheap. I find its about a happy medium.
    Nick

  24. Posted June 10, 2008 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree with logomania, impress 1st, then get a good price for your work. It does not pay to be a busy fool. No one want to work 14 hour days, producing low quality work as quick as possible, just to make a few $$$

  25. Posted June 16, 2008 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    I disagree that location should play a factor, unless you’re expected to be in-house for the work. I charge the same rates even though I’ve recently moved to the country – I don’t see why my rate should lower, the work is still of the same quality.

  26. Posted June 17, 2008 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Hello!I got the most reliable knowledge about Website design and development is really important in terms of generating inquires for the business. Effective web design requires expertise not only in web design, but graphics, content, and search engine optimization.Thank you!

  27. Posted June 17, 2008 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Market rates have to be a strong driving force. Unless your work is very popular, you need to be close to the market price or less to get good business.

  28. Posted June 22, 2008 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    As a design agency owner, it’s common to pay freelancers about 25-40% of the agency fee to clients. If you’re freelancing for an agency, find out what they charge their clients.

  29. Posted June 24, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I work my price out on how much I wish to earn a month and divide it by 100 hours as that is the number of hours I design a month. And as I wish to earn more money I will increase the hourly fee.

  30. Kerrie
    Posted July 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I am thinking of starting out as a freelancer and reading this has been very helpful to me.

    Although, something I am confused about is if you are charging by the hour, what if it takes quite a few hours to do the work. Whereas it may take an experienced designer less time. Therefore, someone may be paying you the same because your rate is lower, but it takes more hours!!

    Also, how do you justify how many hours it did infact take you? For example, if you were doing work for an agency and it takes you 4 hours, what is to stop them disputing it and saying that it should have only taken 2?

  31. Posted July 17, 2008 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    If you are going to charge by the hour you would still in general give a client a quote upfront (unless you have built up a working relationship with them). I will generally work out how long I think a job will take, multiply by an hourly rate allow some extra time for minor amends then quote this as a figure station something like This quote includes minor amends (you can be specific if you want and say one set of minor amends). I would then also say additional amends will be charged at £X per hour. If I do go over the “minor amends” I will tell them and agree on charing for any additions.

  32. Posted July 27, 2008 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    I charge according to the quality of the output.

  33. Posted August 26, 2008 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    It depends on the project. How big project is.If there is a flash project then price would be much higher and if i need to design only static website with no flash animation then price would be low. So you can’t fix your price, you have to be flexible then you can succeed.

  34. lucky
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I designed a website for a friend of a friend . its my second freelance work. The website is well done , and its been edited alot of time according to the cilent.However,its a good business for my cilent but i haven’t been payed and am bit shy to ask for money and how much do i want for the website.been getting promises that i will but so far nothing. I know its my right but it feels like charity cause.

  35. Posted October 17, 2008 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Ultimately, you are only worth what a customer is willing to pay for your service. Basic supply and demand – if you’re good, people want to hire you and therefore you raise your prices to weed out all but the serious enquiries.

  36. Posted October 20, 2008 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I agree MB, however as more and more designers are coming online charging $20 for a site, people are willing to pay less and less.

  37. lucky
    Posted October 20, 2008 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    yeah thats true we get payed according to what the client wants to pay. i got payed few weeks back i got around $1500 ,not bad.However, there is a huge difference about pricing personal website or a business website . What i designed was business and actually it is great marketing for the company.

  38. Posted October 20, 2008 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I would not trust a company website with someone who answered an add on a forum, I would like to work with someone who I could meet with and discuss things face to face. So in that case, I would pay more in return for more.

  39. Posted October 26, 2008 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I am finding it more and more difficult to get the price as I would like as there is always someone who will charge a 1/3rd for the same work.

  40. Posted November 1, 2008 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Whooaaa, 40 hours a week calm down. I guess if you want the $ then you have to do the time

  41. Posted December 19, 2008 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    It depends on the complicated of the project. But, I have a minimal fee; doesn’t matter how easy the job is.

  42. Posted February 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    In my experience if you allow a lot of contact with the client to talk them through concepts, allow revisions etc you can justifiably charge more – many companies have had their fingers burnt with substandard “one shot only” design work that they get stuck with…

  43. Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I have different price ranges for different types of clients. I never go below my hourly rate limit unless I am helping a friend ;] The hourly rate limit is based on my time working and what I need to survive. Holiday pay, taxes, NI, have to be included. Good advice on this page for all ..

  44. Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Hi Zoe, Thanks for sharing how you work out your pricing.

  45. Posted October 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    The hardest kind of pricing is charging what the work is worth to the client – both in terms of gauging that worth and having the courage to ask for what can seem a high price.

    But it can be worth it for both parties if agreed at the outset.

  46. Posted June 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    i think it depends on quality of artwork

  47. Posted June 25, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    I always advise to go the project rates route as opposed to hourly rates. The added dimension which will impact your freelance rates is whether you have an established client base or are using freelance markets.

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  • By How much do you make? - DesignersTalk on April 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    [...] The very nature of being self employed means no one is able to answer your question. The question is pretty rude, Only tosspots talk about how much money they earn. Besides, One year you could be fully booked up, because you have many clients who want regular work. And the next year you could be struggling to pay the rent because a big client decided to go with another agency. Or the client could go tits up, leaving your invoices unpaid, leaving you royally up the shitter. When I was freelancing, some months several invoices would all be paid at the same time, but then nothing for 2 months. I was always working, but companies in the UK don't like paying invoices till you cut their e-mail off and frogmarch them to the nearest cash point. Then the agency I was freelancing for went under, was a nightmare as they hadn't paid me for awhile. I struggled for a few more months trying to get other work in, and at that point I thought fuck this and chucked it in. Applied for a few jobs and got one. 10 things you should know before going freelance | Creative Boom Magazine How Much Can you Charge for Freelance Graphic Design? | Graphic Design Blog [...]

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