Freelancing in India is still a new concept. Yes, sure many of us have moonlighted before, or hired someone to do some moonlighting for us. But essentially, the industry is in its nascent phase and there are not many rules and regulations laid down. One aspect where this chaos is unmistakable is the pricing. Many freelancers either don’t know how much to ask for their work, or are not aware of what to bill for. The same goes for clients – should you hire freelancers on project basis or hourly basis? They are always wondering – How do freelancers charge for their work? These are all pertinent questions, and hopefully this article will help you find the right answers.
Question 1: Is an hourly rate better than paying per project?
Honestly, it all depends on the numbers. If your work is such that you need someone to log in for a fixed number of hours every day (say to reply customer queries when the main team is out of office), then hiring someone who works by the hour makes sense. If you were able to track the number of hours, you would know exactly what you’re getting for your money. But projects like shooting a brand video for instance, where extra hours of work may be sometimes required due to last-minute changes, can prove to be very expensive if billed on an hourly model. Design or copywriting projects also should not be billed hourly because writing effective copy needs time and if you want the best lines/creatives for your company’s ad, then you will just have to wait for it.
Question 2: What are the factors that affect a freelancer’s quote?
So, the designer who did the Photoshop work for your cousin’s website is now asking you for double the money, and you’re mighty annoyed. We can empathize – budget overheads hurt us all. But before you bring the house down with your war cries take a minute to think why he is billing you for more than someone else. Is the work you need him to do more time intensive? Does it require him to use a different software, or tools that he would have to pay for out of his own pocket? Factors like these can affect the freelancers charge, and while there are no hard and fast rules for pricing, freelancers charge mostly based on some common criteria:
- Time: Illustrations can take days to make; a Photoshop job can be just hours. Creating a website from scratch takes weeks. Adding a landing page to it can be done in a day or two. The more time a project requires, the more expensive it will be.
- Quality: Need something written in the Bard’s English? Well, sire, thou will have to pay the rightful sum for it! Whether it is logo designing, business reports, whitepapers, or a marketing collateral, good quality work comes with a price tag attached.
- Experience: As in the non-freelancing world, those who have experience might charge you a wee bit more than those who lack the same. In return, you get shorter turnaround time and value addition. You also get a freelancer who understands the nuances of your brand and sends you his best work. Every time.
Question 3: Shouldn’t freelancers charge less than what normal industry people do?
Actually, no. If you want work that matches, or even bests, what your peers are doing then the expenses will also be at par (if not more). Brands work with freelancers not because they come cheap, but because it reduces your overheads and saves your budget. Hiring freelancers can , but only a truly generous (or wealthy) ‘lancer will bill you for peanuts.
Question 4: Are the prices negotiable?
Yes. Freelancers charge you for the amount of work they do, and any extras you might throw their way. Quotes are subjective. If you have a budget in mind you can always negotiate and work out a mutually beneficial association. Be patient, keep an open mind, and be sure of the work you need get done. You should be able to find a good freelancing partner to work for your company.
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