Selling Yourself: Pricing your services
Pricing. Money. Salary. The topics nobody feels comfortable talking about but everyone is dying to learn more about. What are you worth? What should you charge for a project? How do you know if your estimate is low or high compared to the competition? Here’s my take at pricing, along with opinions from a number of anonymous sources in the industry.
First of all, a pricing strategy will be different for every person. As one professional noted, “pricing depends on experience, one’s aesthetic and what you think you’re worth – your art. By aesthetic I mean your capacity to submit knowledge to the campaign or project.”
Obviously newly-minted graduates should not charge that of a veteran with 10+ years of experience. However, young professionals also shouldn’t under price their work because that harms everyone in the industry. This point is worth repeating: DO NOT under value yourself!
Let me throw out some numbers to give you some insight into the variation of pricing:
Example 1: Last year I was working with a start-up who was interested in having a Drupal custom-designed website that had an e-commerce aspect, along with a customized logo and identity. We went to five different companies and received five different estimates, ranging from as low as $12,000 to an “approximate $30,000-$35,000″ to a high “ballpark around $50,000-$100,000.”
Example 2: I am in the midst of planning my wedding so I got a number of quotes for videographers and photographers. To hire two photographers or two videographers for the day, both ranged anywhere from $3,000-$10,000. Furthermore, most of them charged roughly $250 an hour extra. That means they are pricing each person at around $125 an hour in addition to the 8-hour day rate.
Historically studios with overhead have charged more than freelancers. Most creative agencies charge between $100-300 an hour, whereas I would say a freelancer normally charges roughly $50-150 an hour. For example, a multimedia producer I know charges $12,00-$15,000 for a story that will take about a month to produce. S/he also noted that this price likely jumps to as high as $30,000 for a production studio.
But, I encourage you to be bold and confident in your decision to increase your price. Think about it: You had to buy all of that stellar equipment and software, and you don’t necessarily have the pleasure of having back-to-back gigs to keep the cash flow consistent.
Here are some examples of rates that I have been told over time:
A graphic design studio I know charges around $1,200 for a logo design and $2,800 for a website design (not including development).
One person said that broadcast videographers charge anywhere from $400-$1,600 for a day of work.
A motion graphic artist I know charges $7,500 for creative design and animation of a 12 minute video.
A killer programmer mentioned that s/he normally charges $200 an hour.
A talented designer said “I charge between $60-$100 per hour depending on a variety of factors mostly based on who the client is and what is the project.”
This flexibility is key – you should carefully analyze the project and the client before finalizing your price. For example, one videographer said that while s/he might work with a non-profit on a pro bono basis, s/he has also charged “a five figure sum” for a 30-second advertisement made for a large corporate client.
When you make an estimate you can price by the hour, project or day. I will delve into the pros and cons of each strategy next Friday!
Tags: career, pricing, professional, revenue, selling yourself