You already face lots of challenges as a freelancer: finding and retaining new clients, gaining the right exposure, managing overhead expenses, dealing with income tax concerns, keeping a steady flow of work, meeting deadlines and requirements – all of these are up to you to manage. So, on top of all of that, why should you have to worry if you’re getting paid enough?
If you’re not sure whether or not you’re pricing your services too low, take a look at these 7 tell-tale signs that your prices could be higher:
- Your client doesn’t argue with your quoted price. If you quote a price, and your client takes it without a single comment, you could be asking for too little. You should expect some pushback, and some bargaining.
- You don’t make enough to make ends meet. And not because you are living beyond your means. If you are living modestly and still have trouble paying all of your living expenses, you need to increase your rates.
- You have to work around the clock to get by. If you are working 60 hours or more a week to pay all of your bills, odds are you’re not charging enough for your freelancing services.
- You’re consistently lower priced than your competition. If you research your competition to see what they are charging and find that you’re much lower priced, you’re not charging enough.
- Clients keep telling you that you’re the cheapest they could find. This is not a good sign. It’s nice to be popular, but it’s better to be loved because of the quality of your work, not the bargain-basement cost of your services. If you are underpaid and working too many hours just to make up for it, raise your rates!
- You don’t have enough money to cover your income taxes. As a freelancer, it’s up to you to put aside money for your annual income taxes. But if all that money goes towards your business and personal expenses, it’s time to make some pricing adjustments.
- Your client suggests a higher price than what you quoted. This is a major red flag that you’re not charging enough for your services. But count yourself lucky that they took the initiative to pay you closer to what you’re actually worth as a freelancer.
Now that you know what to look for when it comes to how you price your services, why not take some time to re-evaluate your fees? If some of these scenarios seem a little too familiar, it’s time to research what your competition is charging, and perhaps upgrade your pricing scale. Don’t be afraid to go up in price – some of your clients will respect you for it, and they won’t mind paying more for quality work. Try to imagine what your clients might think if your prices are on the low side; at best they will think you are modest and maybe lack a bit of confidence, at worst they will see you as unprofessional or under-experienced, or just someone that can be taken advantage of.
For more advice from about starting you freelancing business, check out Payza’s articles on the subject, Are You A Freelancer? Try Payza! and 10 Helpful Tips for Pricing your Freelance Services, or go into depth with The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau.