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Have you been starting working online as freelancer but you are not sure how much to charge as an hourly rate?
Do you want to know whether your hourly rates as freelancer are too low or too high?
Those are questions I asked myself when I started working as a freelancer.
Those are legitimate questions because you don’t want to put the price too high and not finding customers.
However, you also don’t want to put the rate too low. This wouldn’t enable you to pay your bills, get out of debt or save some money.
A little bit of my own story
Before, I always tend to put a lower price to attract more people.
When I started, I was studying at the university at the same time. I would study in the morning and work online in the afternoon.
I was working 5 hours a day on the weekdays and 8 hours a day on weekends for only 5$ per hour!!
I had no time to relax, I was almost at burnout because either I would be at university or studying or working online.
This was the beginning of my online journey.
It was normal in a way because I had no references yet as a freelancer. I needed to built up my profile to gain trust from new customers.
However, I now value my time. I decided that I wouldn’t accept an hourly rate lower than what I believe is right for me.
As working moms, we are already busy with so many things. we have to know that our time is precious.
I now tell my prices to my customers and either they accept it and I will deliver a high-quality work or they refuse it and I am happy to have more free time.
1- Check the market rate
Your rate has to depend at first on the market. You can check online for the average rate in your industry.
Another way is to ask in groups of freelancers what are their usual hourly rate.
If you are offering your services as I do on a platform with other professionals of your area of expertise, then check their rate.
When I started teaching online, I checked how much the other French teachers were paid to know what to choose as an hourly rate.
For instance, if you see, that in general Virtual Assistants are around $18/hour. Then my advice is that you could offer your services to a price just a bit lower than that if you have no references on that platform.
Another advice here: never go lower than a price you have offered before for the same offer.
It doesn’t mean you will always stay at this lower price! Don’t worry!
It just means that this lower price will help you get your first customers = first reviews.
2- Choose your hourly rate depending on your experience
At first, you will have to put a rate a bit lower than the average or at least the same as the average to be able to get feedback and build trust around it.
It’s really all about trust and reviews nowadays.
How to build trust?
The best is to build your own website and a Facebook page.
Your own website will be a way to attract new customers, show your different offers to new and old customers and one of the most important: build trust with good blog posts.
It will also be a good place to display your reviews and feedback from customers. Again, it’s all about building trust
The FB page is to have one place to get all your reviews, to communicate with your customers and to build trust.
The more people like and follow your page, the easiest it will be for you to be trusted by people who don’t know you.
Let’s go back to our topic Hourly Rate!
If people can trust you looking at the reviews you have directly on the platform, on your website or on your FB page, then they can see how experienced you are.
At that moment, you can afford to have higher prices than the average hourly rate for freelancers in your area.
3 – Think about the hidden costs
When choosing your prices, you have to think about other costs as well, like a business owner.
How much time with marketing yourself take? This is also work!
How much money are you spending on operating costs (laptop, other devices you need to work, website hosting,…)?
If you are offering your services on a platform, they probably have fees as well.
You have to take into account all that to calculate an acceptable hourly rate. You are worth mama, don’t hesitate to put a respectable price for your offer!
4 – Know if your fixed rate is too high or too low
Once you checked the market rate and you chose a price based on your experience in general and on the platform, you will be able see if your prices are good or not.
If your prices are too low, you might receive too many inquiries. If that’s the case, you can update your price for future customers to an higher rate.
Use those inquiries at a lower rate to get good reviews to justify this increase in price afterwards.
If you don’t receive any inquiry, then you might ask yourself if it’s because of a too high rate.
Of course, your conversion rate doesn’t only depend on your prices. It can depend on what your offer description, the lack of review/trust, how many people saw your profile,…
However, if you see that a lot of people visit your profile/website, go to your offer and then go to your pricing but don’t buy, then it might really mean that your prices are too high.
5 – How to increase your prices
So that’s it, you now have enough good reviews and you built enough trust, you are now ready to increase your prices.
The platform where I am teaching is quite amazing, since they tell me when I should increase my prices according to how full my schedule is!
Again, don’t be afraid of increasing your prices. It’s normal, everyone increases their rates once in a while.
Check the price of movie tickets 10 years ago and now, if you don’t believe me!
The only thing is that you just have to increase your rates the right way!
The best way is to let your current customers know about the price increase beforehand.
I do 2 things in that case:
- Offer them an offer for a pack of hours at the current prices before having to pay the increased price.
- Explain them why there is a price increase: telling them that you have too many new inquiries coming and that you want to maintain your quality level. For that reason, you will increase your prices to be able to focus on your current customers.
This always worked great for me. Usually, my current customers would even send me an email back telling me that I am very worth of that higher price anyway!
That way, your old customers are aware of it and your new ones, well for them, it’s the first price they see from you.
Another way is to offer them some added value to what they were getting. Something which will be very valuable for them, and which for you won’t take much more additional time.
As you know your customers well, you will know what you could add to your offer!
6 – Offer different level of prices
When showing people your offer, always give them a range of prices for different level of expertise.
It will enable you to attract different types of customers and they will be the ones choosing how much of your expertise they are willing to pay.
If you are a copywriter for instance, you can offer a rate depending on how long your text will be and how much research you will need to do.
You can start from the lowest price you could accept to work at but offer it only as part of a package of hours to have a customer for long term.
7 – Look at your income needs
Another very important thing to take into account when deciding how much to charge per hour is to think about your needs.
Make a ratio of how much you want to earn per month / how many hours you want to work.
For instance, at first, to earn what I am earning now, I had to work 4-5 times more.
If you want to work only 10 hours per week like me and you would like to get min $1000 per month, well you would need to be paid NET $37.5/hour.
Of course, it all depends on your way of spending money, the cost of living in your area and how good you are at saving money. However, let’s keep those crucial points for another post!
Last tip for you:
Think about it the other way around: people come to you because they find value in what you know!
They don’t see only the price. If you know that your expertise is worth the price, then stick to it!
That’s it Working Mama! It’s now time for you to feel confident when choosing your prices!
Let me know in the comments what’s your relation to money? Is it easy or hard for you to ask people to pay you for your expertise?
Remember to please pin me!
I’m Natacha, a French vegan Airbnb host who has been working online for the past 4 years. I help hosts stand out and make more money online so they can have a good work-life balance!