How to Calculate Your Freelance Rate

June 25, 2023
Man looking at his laptop

All too often, freelance pricing isn’t openly discussed. Yet it’s one of the biggest challenges most freelancers face. Here, we will discuss how to calculate your freelance rate so that you can maximize your earnings.

Determining your freelance rate can be a daunting task, but it is essential for your success as a freelancer. By taking the time to calculate your rate correctly, you can ensure that you are being fairly compensated for your time and expertise. In the following sections, we will explore different methods for calculating your rate and provide tips for pricing yourself as a freelancer.

The Hidden Costs of Undercharging

When you're first starting, it can be tempting to set your rates low to attract more clients. However, undercharging can end up costing you more in the long run.

Here are some of the hidden costs:


When you're not charging enough for your work, you'll likely need to take on more clients or work longer hours to make ends meet. This can quickly lead to burnout, which can affect both your physical and mental health.

Lower Quality Work

If you're not charging enough for your work, you may feel like you need to rush through projects to make a decent hourly rate. This can lead to lower-quality work, which can damage your reputation and make it harder to attract high-paying clients in the future.


Undercharging can also make it harder to grow your business. If you're not making enough money, you won't have the resources to invest in marketing, professional development, or other areas that can help you take your business to the next level.

How to Calculate Your Freelance Rate

When determining your freelance pricing rate, it's crucial to consider all your costs and expenses. This includes both business and personal expenses since freelancing is your full-time job. 

Fortunately, Lunafi automatically classifies expenses (both business and personal) for you, but you can also create rules so that regular expenses such as office supplies or software are classified appropriately. Not only does this help you estimate your rates; it can also help you account for tax-deductible expenses when estimating your quarterly tax payments.

Here are some costs and expenses you should consider:

Personal Expenses

Your personal expenses include your living expenses, such as rent, food, and utilities. You should also factor in any subscriptions, software, and professional development courses you need to pay for.

Business Expenses

Your business expenses include any costs associated with running your freelance business, such as accounting fees, advertising, and consulting services. You should also factor in any hardware or software you need to purchase, such as a new laptop or Adobe Creative Suite.

Future Expenses

It's also important to consider any future expenses you may have, such as accounting fees or professional development courses. You should factor these expenses into your monthly expenses to ensure you're earning enough to cover them.

Accounting and Invoicing Fees

You should also factor in any accounting or invoicing fees you may incur. If you choose to work with an accountant or invoicing software, you'll need to pay for these services.

Determine Your Salary Goals

Once you've calculated all your expenses, you'll need to determine your salary goals. This is the amount of money you want to earn each year. To determine your salary goals, add up your monthly expenses and multiply by 12. Then, add in any additional salary you want to earn.

By factoring in all of your existing and anticipated expenses, you can ensure that you're earning enough to cover your costs and achieve your salary goals. If you’re unsure about any of these expenses, it can be helpful to compare them with other freelancers in your industry.

Freelance Pricing Strategies

When it comes to freelance pricing, there are several strategies you can use to determine your rates.

Hourly Pricing

One of the most common pricing strategies is to charge an hourly rate for your services. This approach is straightforward, and it allows you to bill clients for the exact amount of time you spend working on their projects. However, hourly pricing can be difficult to estimate accurately, and it can be challenging to communicate the value of your work to clients who are focused solely on the cost.

Project-Based Pricing

An alternative to hourly pricing is project-based pricing. This approach involves estimating the total cost of a project upfront and charging a flat fee for the entire project. Project-based pricing can be easier to communicate to clients, and it allows you to focus on delivering value rather than just logging billable hours. However, it can be more difficult to estimate the time and effort required for a project accurately.

Value-Based Pricing

Another freelance pricing strategy to consider is value-based pricing. With this approach, you set your rates based on the value you provide to your clients. For example, if you're a graphic designer, you might charge more for a logo design that will be used on a national advertising campaign than you would for a logo that will only be used on a local business's website.

Value-based pricing requires a deep understanding of your client's needs and goals and the value that your services provide to them. It can be challenging to implement, but it can be a highly effective way to price your services if you can communicate the value you provide clearly.

Pricing for Growth

As your business grows, you may need to adjust your pricing strategy to accommodate more clients and larger projects. Consider using a tiered pricing model that offers different rates for different levels of service or offering discounts for long-term contracts.

Remember, no matter which pricing strategy you choose, it's essential to be transparent with your clients about your rates and billing practices. Establish trust with your clients by providing clear, detailed invoices and communicating openly about your billable hours and any additional expenses.

Freelancing Pricing Made Easy

Calculating your freelance rate can be a daunting task, but it's essential to ensure you're pricing your services fairly. Now that you know how to calculate your freelance rate properly, you can set a fair and competitive freelance rate that reflects your skills and experience. Remember, your rate is not set in stone, and you can always adjust it as you gain more experience and skills. It's important to regularly evaluate your pricing to ensure you're not undercharging or overcharging for your services.

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