Another Freelance rate topic

I’ve never freelanced before, but I’ve got an opportunity to do some freelance work on my plate. The timeline seems to be ~4 weeks. It will involve conceptualizing a design and possibly doing 3D renders of the product (actual 3D wont’ be involved). Can anyone give me guidelines on a “project fee?” Any help is appreciated!


before anyone will answer you have to flesh out your question a bit.

what is the project - never divulge names?

will you work in house?

what will you have to do?

what level are you currently??

  • these will allow a more acurate response.


bottom line answer for any of these questions is-

“you are worth what someone is willing to pay”


“your worth is relative to the value of your other opportunities”

That is,

Rates can be very subjective depending on project, company, industry, experience, etc. Best guide to start, if you are new to freelancing is to pick a number based on how much you think it is worth to do the job, and atart from there in negociations with the client. Dont undersell yourself (or you wont feel happy at the end), and dont oversell yourself (or you wont have any work).

At this point, it should be more about you getting experience than $.

Keeping in mind the second point, your time is only valuable in comparison to anything else you could be doing. If you are just sitting on the sofa, doing nothing even making a small amount is better than nothing. If you are busy and have other income generating things happening, you should weigh the cost/time for those compared to this job (ie. a current job making $50/hr vs. billing out at $20/hr doesnt make sense).

best of luck


At first, freelance always seems really exciting. “ooooh, I get to work on this sweet project…” That’s all great until you actually figure out how little you’ll be making per hour. In addition to figuring out how much YOU are worth to THEM, start to figuring how much your time is worth to you. Coming home after a long day at work and knowing that you need to spend another 3-4 hours on design work is tough. Especially if you aren’t making it worth your while.

On the side last year, I made just under $17K from freelance, but got slammed by $6K in taxes. Yeah, $6K. Self-employment tax, social security tax, etc. About 40% of what you make, consider it gone. At even $75 an hour, is YOUR time worth $45 an hour (after taxes?)

Estimate how many hours you expect to spend on ideation, illustrations, et al. Multiply that by $75-80/hr (possibly less if you aren’t that awful experienced.) Then, if you get the project, bust it out as fast as you can!

I’d probably suggest $60/hr for 1-2 years experience. I generally quote around $90 (7 years.)


You gave an excellent explanation on how to consider one’s time and freelance rates they should consider billing to the intended client. This is definitely valuable information, thanks!

I think designers need to collectively get out of just fixed fees and selling time and try to make it the norm to get some fees plus some residuals through royalties. Other professions like song writers, advertising, and booksellers get what their work is worth in the market We create stuff that can make a huge difference, it’s about time we started thinking more about being a vested partner than just one time fee.


The company that I am considering doing some freelance work for has expressed that I could either charge a flat fee or charge a lower fee plus collect residual royalties as the product sells.

You just might not be talking to the right companies?