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.