As a freelancer, my biggest issue over the years is getting paid! Half of this is my fault, and half is because I've had clients, which quite frankly, are more trouble than they are worth. Then I've had fabulous clients that pay on time, are easy to work with and I've kept for years.
The one thing that I have learnt through these experiences is that I must always take a deposit and have an agreement in place before commencing any work. That's now not negotiable with me and if my potential clients don't like that then they can find someone else.
When you ask for a deposit, that means you and the client are making a commitment, and when you have a one page agreement outlining what you deliver, that you both agree on, this sets you up for success. However, like many freelancers, I always had the fear that if I was too demanding the client would not work with me. Guess what? Those clients that I was lenient with, just didn't pay or stopped corresponding and these are not the clients that I want to attract into my life to work with.
So what do you charge and what prevents some of us from quoting what we are worth? Why do we feel that we are not good enough to charge our fee? Why do we feel we should offer our services at a reduced rate? The answer is simple; we don't believe in our own capability, we lack confidence and basically it's fear based. Fear is the opposite to love, so how on earth can we attract great clients when we work in fear? Not very easily.
Charge what you are worth as a freelancer
I know I am good at what I do because I've been doing it for years. I can get up in front of an audience and easily go through a two hour training session teaching others my tools of trade. I can easily build a website in a day, I have saved many a business owner from losing their own URL because the original web developer bought it in their own name. The list goes on. I didn't earn awards for being a blogger for nothing. So yes I am worth it. Anyone can see online the work I do, but still, I too, resisted believing in myself and often charged less than I'm worth. I'm also guilty of letting clients knock my price down or even worse, I've done things for free! I can't tell you how much time I have wasted advising potential clients on the phone or at useless meetings only for nothing to eventuate from it.
If someone says to me 'I can go to FIVERR and get a job done at the fraction of the price" I reply, 'well good luck with that, and especially as that person is probably in another country than you are.' As they say, you get what you pay for.
I have also come to realise that when a client does not pay on time, or I always have to chase the money, then it's time for to put the tools down, or just sack the client.
What should you charge?
To be honest I can't answer that question, you need to do some research on what other freelancers are charging in your industry, maybe even find some networking places online or face to face and see what others charge. This post is more about changing your mindset that you deserve to be paid what you feel you are worth. It's also about when clients start to bargain with your fee, or they don't pay you on time, you need to respect yourself enough to sack that client. Personally, I have an hourly rate that I charge for social media marketing etc, I quote for websites depending on what the client wants and lock that fee in (deposit 50%), I have either a per person fee for training seminars that are public, or for in-house set fee and I'm not the cheapest around for my hourly fee that's for sure.
Set yourself up for success
When you undercharge you are setting yourself up for failure. If you run a freelance service business like I do, you must take a deposit so you know you are not going to be wasting your time with some clients.
When I started I was so desperate for any client that I undercharged and was constantly chasing money. I never requested a deposit and didn't have an agreement in place. This is a very negative way to be feeling (desperate and undervalued) and not a path to success.
Put it in writing
Put everything in writing, never quote off the cuff. I always like to tell my clients I'll get back to them with a quote, but that's not before I've established what they really need. Therefore, have some templates that the client can fill out with relevant questions you ask of their business. If they don't want to do that then I'd imagine they are not that serious with working with you. A handshake is great, but it's not a contract.
Always have an agreement in place on exactly what you are delivering for your fee. This will ensure that there can be no argument if the client decides they want something more. This tells the client you are serious and more importantly, you are teaching yourself that you are serious about delivering good quality work and getting paid for your expertise. Make sure your agreement has the payment terms on it, including deposit if you are using that system.