How To Charge Clients For Your Creative Work
So you've done the work, perfected your craft, spent countless hours sharpening your creative blade into the a point of obsession? You've slain the beast that is anxiousness and surpassed all your fears, nailed the brief and impressed not only your client - but also yourself? Guess what, the work continues. Much more weightless work of course as you're getting paid, finally! Although much less creative in its entirety, billing your client for your blood sweat and tears is a very important step to not only ensure you get paid properly but to also solidify your longevity and peace of mind through years to come.
Billing your clients isn't really a set rule and/or number but rather a constant evolution that is reflected by the times, job particulars and client stature. As an example, if I get a logo design job come in, I have several things to consider. First off, how long is this job going to take? Is the style of logo something I pop out like the air in my lungs or is it a slow grind to a new found skill/style which I yet don't posses? If it's the latter, then I must make sure I charge more as I'll have to work harder to make sure I don't supply the client with mediocre work - and ensure I take my time with this new/unfamiliar style I'm not known for. Remember, they came to you and if they want something that reflects a style that isn't shown in your portfolio, it's your responsibility to be honest and state if you indeed can do it and also their chance to also take responsibility for having picked you for the job.
Another thing to consider is, how well do I know this person? Are they a relative/friend or are they someone I just acquainted myself with? You're always going to drop the price for someone who's in your circle and of course sometimes not charge them at all (I've done a few jobs for no money but I knew that I would help them out and benefit someone close to me, so it was all good). Of course, the jobs that are free aren't top priority and if your friend or whoever is pestering you about a deadline - tell them to chill (as quoted by my man Aaron Draplin).
Drawing up professional invoices is a super duper mandatory task - don't neglect it. There are various tutorials and blogs online that state how to acquire this skill so get after it. Making sure you charge half upfront and half upon completion is also important which is something that should be stated in your written agreement before commencing your project together. Again, various sources on how to acquire contracts can be found online. Make sure everything is typed out neatly and designed elegantly - nothing better then rocking up to a standoff with a clean barrel (your contracts people, I'm talking about your fucking contracts).
You can charge more or less whatever you like (again, I don't make the rules and this isn't subject to my way of doing things) but make sure there is reasoning for doing so. Your contract should also state that if the clients surpasses the time and workload you have initially agreed to prior commencing - that you will bill them for additional charges accordingly. Make sure they sign your contract and are aware of what they're getting into.
I must make absolutely clear that this is my way of charging clients and is not an industry standard (that I know of). Freelancers don't play like agency dorks, we out hustling...but seriously, there are many resources online on this topic which I would encourage you to take a look at and possibly learn something that isn't written here - I do not claim to know everything about being a freelancer and billing clients like Paul Rand (legend). I do however have experiences on my side both good and bad, so hopefully this bit of information can help anyone on the road to invoicing.
If anyone has any questions my inbox is always open, drop me a line and I'll do my best as I always have to provide people seeking knowledge any bit of info I can give.
Words - John Bresciani
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