What to charge as a freelancer?

Okay, this probably has already been asked in the past, but is anyone willing to share their hourly rates and years of experience? I live in the Midwest and have 6 years experience and some very specific expertise in retail fixtures. Have been keeping very busy with freelance but I know I am charging too little at $60/hr. My biggest client gripes about my rates all the time but other freelancers I talk to say it is low…I’m hearing $75-$100/hr is more average. I have never had an unhappy client and I know there is nobody else around who does what I do for them, so I know I’m pretty secure, but maybe they are just trying to keep me from raising my prices! I’d love to get a consensus of what others charge, and hopefully give myself a raise that I can justify to my clients…any advice would be much appreciated!

Okay, this probably has already been asked in the past, but is anyone willing to share their hourly rates and years of experience?

It actually has been asked many times – this particular question usually draws quite a bit of emotion and controversy.

I suggest you search for the previous discussions on these forums – there is a ton of great valuable information on this topic. Best of luck!

It’s really hard to figure out what to charge - there are so many variables such as location, and experience. It’s not one-rate-fits-all.

But as a freelancer it is something that you can adjust very easily as you gain more experience, so don’t worry if you get it slightly wrong to start with.

A lot of it depends on the client. Your $60/hr is twice as much as some clients I’ve had are willing to pay and half as much as others. It’s a strategy game and it’s part of what you have to put in your skillsets.

From what I’ve seen I’d say that if you’re getting $60/hr midwest and you’re actually doing consistent 40hr/wk, 160hr/mo work for them for weeks or months at a time then I’d say it’s a little on the high side. Especially if you go into their place, use their office at all, etc… For consistent work like that, I’d drop the rate and leverage the consistency that you’re getting.
If they only call you up once every few months and your involvement is only in 2-3 day stretches like emergency weekend work, you work from your own studio, legal software, etc… you’re probably on the low side.

Freelancing for another design firm, it might be a bit on the high side. If it’s for a direct corporate client that’s high volume, mass manufacturing these items to be sold around the world, definitely on the low side.

You have to juggle all of these “client relation” factors along with your own skillset, speed, and reliability when determining your rates. That’s why it’s never an easy question to answer and you’ll always get different opinions.

And even these examples I posted, that’s how I do it. But I know others that don’t agree and have one set rate no matter what it is or who it’s for or for how long. And for them it works. The best rate is whatever your client is willing to keep paying! If your guy is complaining, he may drop you as soon as he finds someone cheaper. If it’s a niche industry and there isn’t much talent, you may be able to have a strangle hold on them and charge whatever you want no matter whether they like it or not like doctors and lawyers. It really is a matter of your own strategy and goals in the business.