Being a freelance UI/UX designer can be exciting, what with the freedom to work at your own pace, choose your preferred clients and charge what you like... oh wait, it's not always that easy, is it? Let’s talk a little more about charging for your services as a freelance UI/UX designer.
As thrilling as charging for your services sounds, it is not as simple as it sounds. When you undercharge, you sell yourself short but when you overcharge, you lose good business and clients. How do you then create a balance and make the situation a win-win for you and your clients?
What Are the Common Ways UI/UX Design Freelancers Charge?
To start with, let’s look at the common ways UI/UX design freelancers or freelancers in general, charge.
Many freelance UI/UX designers, and even other freelancers, charge per hour. This simply means dedicating your hours to doing the client’s work. It doesn't matter what you deliver. As long as you spend time working on the job, you get paid. One freelancer even cooked up this very handy freelance rate calculator.
You can always use one of the many apps used for timing work. Alternatively, you might just calculate the number of hours the work will take and charge the client accordingly. You need to be careful here though so that you don't undercharge. Before you give a figure, be sure you have realistically determined how many hours the project will take. If you’re designing a mobile app, for example, think about the average hours it has taken you to build similar apps in the past.
Charging per week is another option available to you as a freelance UI/UX designer. This entails that you break down the project into timelines and determine how much you will be paid per week. This arrangement will be based on deliverables. This means you will be paid for the results you deliver per week.
You need to be realistic about your deliverables, though. As the saying goes, “It is better to underpromise and overdeliver than to overpromise and underdeliver.” Make sure you give your client realistic expectations. In the eagerness to land a gig, some freelancers promise to deliver more than they can. In the end, they fail to give the promised result and the client either underpays them or does not pay at all.
One way you can avert this unpleasant scenario is to give realistic expectations. If in doubt, ask other freelancers. This is where being a member of creative platforms like Talenthouse comes in handy. You can always ask for guidance from people who have walked the path or read informative articles on the going rates.
As a freelance UI/UX designer, you can also charge per project. This means you assess the project and bill the client for the total deliverables. You will have to agree with the client on the timeline, cost, and deliverables. Again, be careful not to set unrealistic goals when signing the contract. If you don't deliver on time or deliver less than promised, your payment might be affected.
When signing a contract with a client, ensure you work out the gray areas too. What happens if some unforeseen occurrences happen and you’re unable to finish the job in due time? What happens when you finish the work before the stipulated time? What happens if you don't deliver all the promised results? If you achieve eight out of ten goals, what amount will you receive? These are important questions to ask and answer before signing up for a project.
What To Consider Before Charging a Client
The Value You Bring to the Job
There’s this story of an engineer who was flown in to fix a machinery problem. He went to his hotel, took his time to freshen up, and went to the factory. He walked straight to the machine, tightened a bolt and the machine started working. In three minutes, he was out of the factory. The factory owner was so happy. The engineer sent his bill and the factory owner gasped when he saw it. He put a call to the engineer and asked him why he was charging so much for a three-minute job. The engineer answered, “I’m not charging you for what I did or for how long I did it, I’m charging you for knowing what to do.” Now, that’s value! While you might be charging for your time as a freelance UI/UX designer, it’s the value that you bring to the table that’s being paid for. Determine the value of your skill and place the right price on it.
Your Overhead and Direct Expenses
This is not reserved for big corporations and startups alone. As a freelancer, you should calculate your overheads and direct expenses when billing a client. What are overheads? Overheads are ongoing business costs that are not directly involved in the creation of a particular product or service. For you as a freelance UI/UX designer, your overhead includes your computer(s), electricity, internet, subscriptions, furniture, rent, etc. These are things you pay for whether you get a job or not. When you do get a job, make sure you add your overhead expenses. One way to do this is to work out a percentage markup for all your gigs.
Direct expenses are expenses you incur during the job. Direct expenses for a freelance UI/UX designer include software, plugins, templates, and online tools needed exclusively for the job.
How Much Others Are Charging
You cannot afford to work in isolation as a freelance UI/UX designer. Before you charge, you need to know how much your peers in the industry are charging. You can find out from different UI/UX designers’ platforms or forums. Freelancing marketplaces are also a good place to know what other freelance UI/UX designers are charging. Search for designers at your expertise level and check how much they’re charging per hour or project. This would help you when charging your clients.
How Much Should You Charge Exactly?
According to salary.com, a UI/UX designer in the US earns between $38 and $53 per hour. Upwork, a global platform for freelancing, puts the average payment for a freelance UI/UX designer at $32 per hour. Payscale also puts the freelance UI/UX designer’s average rate at $38.5 per hour. To charge per week, simply calculate how many hours of work you will be putting in per week.
Arianna Shives, a freelance UX designer from West Virginia, says she charges per project. Before she charges, she takes into consideration the services needed, her current experience level, their timeline, etc., before she charges. Her packages start at $2500.
Ifeoluwa Olatunde from Nigeria says he prefers charging per month,as projects may drag from the client’s end, and he may spend more time than budgeted. His charges start at $1500 for a project of 10 to 15 screens.
Another freelance UI/UX designer from Puerto Rico who would rather be anonymous says she charges according to how simple or complex the project is. For a simple mobile app of about ten screens, she charges between $3000 and $4000. However, for more complex projects exceeding ten pages of design, she charges from $5000 to $15000. For redesigns or corrections, she charges $500 and above, depending on the rework required.
Billing your clients as a freelance UI/UX designer should not be an issue anymore. You now know that you can charge hourly, weekly, or per project. Not only that, you are aware of the factors you need to consider before charging clients as a freelance UI/UX designer. Lastly, you have an idea of how much your fellow freelancers are charging their clients. Tell us, how much do you charge?
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