It’s fairly common for people new to freelancing to undercharge. There are three reasons why I’d advise against doing this:
1. If you’ve quit your permanent job to go freelance, it’s pretty likely you’re good at what you do. You have skills and experience that others need, so don’t undersell yourself.
2. Being seen to be ‘cheap as chips’ sends out the message that you aren’t all that good.
3. Undercutting others isn’t fair on fellow freelancers who work in your sector.
There are lots of websites like elance.com where freelancers are prepared to write 1,000 word articles for a few dollars, or design a logo just as cheaply. That’s fine if you are trying to build up your portfolio and your experience but not if you’re trying to make a living.
You always get what you pay for
I’m of the opinion that you always get what you pay for. If you’re brilliant at what you do, then potential clients will want to hire you. And they know that, if they want a quality job, they will need to pay accordingly for it.
So, now you’re probably asking yourself: “What should I charge?”
Since I don’t know which sector you’re in or what the going rate is for your particular line of business, I can’t give you an answer to that. Rates also vary widely from country to country. One way forward is to ask other freelancers who do a similar kind of work on a freelance forum or a forum specific to your sector.
And don’t forget that, when you set your rates, the money you earn over the course of a year needs to cover your living expenses and bills for the times when you aren’t working (sickness, holidays, lean times.)
Next week, I’ll continue this topic by discussing “How much do you need to earn?”
How did you go about setting the rate you charge?