When I got started as a freelancer I remember thinking what to charge and I was never too comfortable with this. Whether it should be by hourly rates or charging by projects; and although it could be an advantage I was having a hard time defining this.
After some experience, it turns out that I see this as a huge advantage. In fact, the whole point of being a freelancer is to choose who you want to work with and how much you want to charge them.
As I got started with my first clients it was hard for me to decide what to charge and felt that I should have a fix rate regardless of the client and the project. So that’s what I did with the initial projects I worked with. I always charged the same fee, regardless of who the client was and what is worse, regardless of the time I spent working on the project. One day I realized this wasn’t the smartest thing and each project could have its own conditions. I noticed I had control over that, and I could work on the projects I wanted to and manage them as I needed.
So from that point on each time I accepted working on a new project I took into account two main things: who the client was and how long it would take to complete the project. Many times I decided to charge a client a bit less because they have hired me more than once and the project wasn’t difficult at all. So I noticed that it was a good idea to provide a bit of a discount and maintain that client satisfied. Especially because the projects were so simple and I could use other similar ones as a reference. In fact those little requests normally turn out to be very profitable. Other times, projects were so challenging, they involved so much extra research or took up so much time that I had to charge more to make it cost-effective.
Another thing I learned with time is that once a project is completed and you are paid in full, and you mark that off your list since there is nothing else pending, STILL clients may come back months later requesting a little tweak or adjustment. And what is worse they expect you not only to work on the change immediately, but also not to be charged for that because after all they did pay for the project in full. This has really been a pain in the neck. So what I did was include a clause in the contract stating that clients can only count on support 30 days after a project is finalized. Luckily, thanks to that, when customers come back months later asking for just a minor change, I redirect them to the contract. Regardless which field you are in, contracts do serve as a backup just in case ANYTHING happens.
How many times have you experienced this? Do you have a hard time determining what to charge?