Freelance graphic design pricing: How to set profitable rates for your services
Establishing the correct rates for your freelance design work is an essential part of the freelancing process. However, many freelancers struggle with setting a price that pays well without pricing themselves out of jobs, especially those working primarily with small businesses and startups.
Understanding the average freelance graphic design rates and what factors impact these rates helps establish pricing for your design work.
Use this freelance graphic design pricing guide as a starting point for setting your rates.
Factors that impact graphic design rates for freelancers
Before we get into the pricing for projects and average freelance rates, let's talk about the factors that may affect your rates as a graphic designer. Understanding the different elements that impact your pricing will help you develop a pricing strategy for your graphic design work.
Experience level has perhaps the most significant impact on graphic design rates for freelancers. Those new to graphic design and still working to build a portfolio shouldn’t charge as much as someone who has a decade of experience.
However, new freelancers who have not taken on contract work before but have years of experience in, let’s say, an in-house agency role can still be able to charge higher rates based on their skill level.
Another factor to consider is the scope of each graphic design project. For projects that take less time or are straightforward, you can price at a lower rate than those that are more complex or take longer to complete.
For instance, a project that requires strategy, client meetings, and several rounds of revisions can be priced higher than a project that involves simply completing a few design deliverables like a logo or PDF.
Whether you set a flat rate or hourly rate, you'll consider project scope when setting the design price.
Value of the project
Many experienced freelance graphic designers prefer to charge based on value, not on time. This is because experienced professionals often become faster over time, decreasing the number of hours they spend on a project.
Pricing by value ensures that the company pays their freelance designer for their skill set and talent (and how these help the company make money) instead of just their time.
An example of this would be charging more for a sales page design than social media graphics. While both may be important to the business owner, they are likely to gain more value from the sales page as it directly ties to new revenue.
Expenses and overhead
Another factor to consider when setting prices for your freelance graphic design services is any business expenses or overhead. Consider any costs directly related to the project, such as design software or hiring another freelance designer to help with some of the deliverables on a large project.
Beyond the project-related expenses, consider general overhead. For example, freelancers have to pay for their health insurance and office space. Factor these costs into your project or hourly rate.
Pricing your projects: Hourly vs. per-project rate
The most common pricing structures in the freelance graphic design world are hourly and fixed/flat rate fees. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
You may even find that you charge an hourly rate for one type of project while you price others per project. For example, you may charge an hourly rate for web design work, while you might charge a fixed rate for logo design.
Here are some of the pros and cons of hourly pricing:
|Hourly rates are easier to figure out. Since full-time graphic designers are often paid hourly (or a salary that can break down to an hourly rate), it's easier to compare hourly rates across the industry and decide on a rate that aligns with your experience level.||Hourly rates don't take value into account. With an hourly rate, you get paid the same amount of money per hour whether you're working on a logo or something that will help make your client a million dollars.|
|Charging hourly ensures you're paid for all your time. Getting paid for the number of hours you work means you are paid for any extra time you spend on a project, especially for scope creep or unexpected issues.||Charging an hourly rate can cap your earning potential. You only have so many hours in a week to work. If you set hourly graphic design pricing, your earning potential is limited based on the number of hours you can work.|
|The more efficient designers miss out on earnings. The quicker and more efficient you become at providing graphic design services, the less earning potential you have when charging hourly.|
Here are a few of the pros and cons of charging per project:
|Charging per project allows you to stop trading your hours for dollars. Many freelancers get burnt out because they have to work more hours to make more money. When you charge per project, you can set rates to be compensated for the value you provide, not just the hours you work.||Project rates can be harder to sell to clients. Many freelance clients are still thinking in terms of hourly rates because that's how the corporate world compensates. You may get some pushback on project rates from those who are used to paying people hourly.|
|You can charge more for projects in which you're more skilled. Suppose you have more experience with a specific type of design or deliverable. In that case, you're able to charge a premium price for that specialized service vs. a service you have less experience in.||Deciding on a project rate can be more difficult. Determining a project rate is more challenging than an hourly rate because project rates vary significantly across the industry and can be ambiguous.|
|As you become faster and more efficient, you can make more profit. Since you are not being compensated based on the time it takes you to complete a project, you don't lose any money when you become more efficient.|
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Freelance graphic design pricing guide (per project)
Let's take a look at the average freelance rates for graphic design services.
Hourly rates: $25 - 150 per hour
Hourly graphic design rates vary based on experience and design specialty. Typically, more experienced graphic designers will charge between $65 to $150 per hour. In contrast, more entry-level freelance design rates range from $25 to $50 per hour.
Here are the average freelance graphic design rates by project:
Logo design: $100 - $5,000
Freelancer.com estimates that the average price for freelance logo design ranges between $100 and $5,000. While this may seem like a big, ambiguous range, it depends on the designer's experience and the type of brands they work with.
Web design: <$1,000 - $15,000
For basic website design, Freelancer.com estimates the typical range as $1,000 or less to $15,000. Pricing depends on the complexity of the website and the services the designer offers. (Some web designers are also developers and copywriters, allowing them to charge more for the deliverable.)
Business card design: $100 - $2,500+
Eksposure estimates that business card design ranges from $100 on the low-end for a more simple design to $2,500+ for something more complex from an experienced designer.
Infographics: $100 - $2,000
An infographic can range from $100 to $2,000, depending on the designer's experience and the project scope. Infographic projects that require the designer to do research and write copy will cost more than just the design,
Ebook design: $200 - $2,500
Eksposure says ebook design prices vary from $200 for a short, simple opt-in asset to $2,500 for a longer, more complex ebook.
Illustrations: $90 - $465
Thumbtack estimates the national average cost for an illustration project ranges from $90- $465 based on the illustrator's skill level and experience and the project’s complexity.
When you should raise your graphic design rates
How do you know when it's time to raise your graphic design rates?
Revisit your rates periodically and adjust them as you see fit based on the following factors:
You gain experience. As you gain experience over time and your skills become sharper, you'll be able to charge more for your services.
You educate yourself. If you take an online course or new design training, consider raising your rates to match your new proficiency level.
Your portfolio grows. As you complete more projects to put into your portfolio and gather testimonials from happy customers, you'll be able to justify higher rates to clients who are looking for proof of your quality work.
Demand for your services increases. When you start to become booked out months in advance, you should raise your rates as this is a sign that you are in high demand and can command higher rates.
You start to provide additional services. If you decide to add services to your offering that increase the value for your clients (like brand strategy or web development), you can charge premium rates.
Whatever you decide on for your freelance graphic design rates, you must believe that your work is worth the price you're charging. When you believe in your fees, you can easily sell them to potential clients.
Use the pricing guide above as a starting point to ensure that you don't undercut yourself. Sometimes, knowing that your rates align with others on your same experience and skill level is enough to make you more confident in your pricing.
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