How to price your freelance projects

Freelancers often struggle with how to set their pricing. That is why ex-freelancer, now startup founder Jorim Rademaker presented how he constantly raised his prices while keeping a day in the week free.

Here is a summary of the tips he shared.
There is more to projects than money. Before you take on a project, evaluate:

  • How happy does a project make you?
  • How much time does it take? Time is the most valuable thing you have – spend it wisely.
  • Will it make the earth a better place?
  • Will it have an impact?
  • Will you learn and put valuable things on your resume?
  • Will it open doors to more opportunities?

Keep raising your rates – if you are not losing customers you are not expensive enough

At the start of your freelance career, this is hard to do. But aim for it. A higher price will make you more confident, and the clients will have more confidence in you! But be sure to deliver the expected results.

Also, don't depend on just one customer – diversify. Otherwise, you will never be able to negotiate your terms and price. Work your way to a place where you can afford to walk away from projects. Jorim preferred many short assignments as opposed to bigger, longer projects. And he ramped up his price with every assignment.

Don't base your price on covering your costs or the price of your competitors – base it on the perceived value

Beyond expertise and getting the work done – How can you add value to a project as a freelancer? Provide peace of mind and be reliable. E.g You can add a service contract where you promise to be reachable anytime.

Be flexible, e.g deliver good results even for the last minute job. Jorim gave an example; when he was a graphic designer he sometimes needed to design annual reports for a customer. The information came in one evening, the next evening Jorim had packaged it into a beautiful report.

How can you find out what the customer values? Ask "what is the best possible outcome for you"? If you are afraid to ask directly, try to find out via other people associated with the customer. Or do mystery shopping, call the customer and pretend you are someone else (kudos to Filip Vanderbeken for the tip!).

Keep one day a week free

Only working 4 days a week has several benefits:

  • you are free to take on urgent jobs and charge more for delivering them
  • you can do prospecting
  • with time constraints you get more effective
  • you can rest, or have fun if you want
  • you can devote time to learn and develop valuable skills
Jorim he kept himself free mainly to charge extra for the urgent jobs coming in.

How can you find out what is the customer's budget?

First: ask a too high price and get a feel for the budget of the customer, lower your rate but take away some features in your initial offer.

Jorim compared this with selling a car – you can't sell a car first for 50 000€ and then lower the price suddenly to 20 000€. But you can do it if you strip off some features.

Help freelancers

Do you have pricing tips and strategies that can be helpful for freelancers to know? Email us at


These are notes from a Freelance Business workshop: How To Price Your Freelance Projects presented by Jorim Rademaker. He is the founder and CEO of, a software platform for quickly creating digital training manuals and user guides.

In his previous career, he offered a range of freelance services, including graphic design, illustration, communication consultancy and programming.
Updated 21/7/2019

Subscribe for more articles like this!