Rate you want. Negotiate how to get it.

rate we want cover

Most people have no idea on how to set a rate for themselves. On this blog, I will show some tips or points on how you should charge your client, most specifically on Freelancing sites such as UpWork, Freelancer, Etc(Yes, this is specifically for freelancers, if you are not a freelancer yet, I have an article called “9 Freelancing Tips For Startup Freelancers“). I will show basic stuff I consider when negotiating with clients.

This is a broad topic and I’m not even an expert on this matter. There are design agencies that we look up to just like TheFutur that talks about this particular matter. They give advice on “The Business of design & the Design of Business”.

So if you are an individual freelancer or a small agency that is struggling on how to negotiate the rate you want on a specific project – this equation might help you!

Let me first tell you something about myself. I’m a freelancer for 7 years and I’ve been doing design and development. I don’t charge lower than $15/hour. The reason behind this matter is because I have my monthly responsibilities. I can’t afford to work 40 hours a week with a lower rate than that because my operational expenses is fixed. So if you’re planning to hire me with a lower rate, I will just simply say that “Great, I can refer someone who can work with that rate”, “I’m not the right person you are looking for”, or maybe “Alright, go f…”. Just kidding!

There are a lot of computations that we consider to define our service rate. Skill set & Experience is a big thing to consider. But this blog is not about that at all. This is about how to negotiate to get the rate we want!

How we get the rate we want?

1. Check the Client’s profile

Before you click and apply in a certain project, we should check its profile, especially its financial status. Is the client’s payment method verified? Does the client have a good rating? How much is its total spent on UpWork? How much this client charge it’s previous contractors?

Yes, it’s important to know that because you will see if the client pays less than usual or could pay more depending on the contractor’s level of expertise. We need to always check if this client has a good set of ratings. Do they take the time to make a good review of their contractors? If everything seems fine, proceed to the next item.

client check


2. Read the Job Description thoroughly & Determine if you could raise your bid

There are certain jobs that are non-negotiable like data entry jobs. it’s an easy task and there are no special skills needed. It also has the highest volume of freelancers there is so they can be easily replaced.

You also need to follow instructions because some of the clients give direction when applying to their job post. Some client asks for specific questions or things to attach. Some may want you to write a specific quote on the first line of the application. That way you will stand out since the client will know that you read the job description thoroughly.



3. Bid safe

There are clients that want to pay more hiring experts than to pay less hiring amateurs. But most of the client on the freelancing site want to pay cheaper contractors. Clients look for freelancer specifically in the Philippines because the minimum wage here is much lower than theirs. Sad to say but this is the reality of mediocre freelancing.

To get the clients attention, I usually bid the client’s usual pay for its previous contractors. The goal here is to get through the interview. Not to grab the clients offer even if it’s lower than your usual rate. If the client notices you and gives you the chance to have an interview, the next step would be highly advised.

4. Be confident!

When giving numbers to your client, it is important that you give it with confidence. It speaks volumes of your skill and experience. As I’ve said above, there are clients that pay more to hire experts than to hire amateurs at a lower rate. If the client knows that you are expert enough to bid a rate, what’s his reason not to hire you?

Also on this part, you should always support your bid with a good portfolio or good project track. If you check your client’s background, surely they will check your profile too.

5. Give value(Exceed the rate we want)

The previous 4 steps is enough to get your desired rate. But if you could give your clients work a huge or an extra value, I bet they’ll be happy to pay more and give you an appraisal. Exceeding expectations!

Bonus Story!

My previous client and I were talking about a project. He said that my rate is too big for him. He could only pay half of it. Do you know what I said? I told him that “I could deliver twice the value of what he expects from me”. And so I did. After several months, his project we’re not only doubled but tripled. When we talked the first time, it is only me that handles all the project. Now, I have added 2 more guys from my agency. And he hired more.

I hope that these tips will be a big help to you! If it did, please share it to others too!

If you have a personal question. Don’t hesitate to DM me. Ciao!

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