Today's Question: How do you charge clients?
I love making money (duh) but I hate asking for it. Deciding on what to charge clients is insanely difficult; and I feel a bit panic-y every time I have to come up with a sum... especially if they ask me in person. eek!
I always think my prices are too high (in reality they are really low, blah) and people of course want to pay as little as possible... so this is very frustrating.
In the beginning of my career I did many jobs for a tiny sum of money, a trade or even free. This was great for the learning experience, and my portfolio. (But you can't live off traded handbags and jewelry and you definitely can't pay your rent with it, unfortunately.) At this time I of course had a 'day job'. Once my portfolio started getting full of interesting projects I started getting less and less trade requests and more questions regarding my price list; this just naturally happened. I'm sure these first few clients got some pretty great deals! Lately I've been stepping it up; picking prices that are fair to me and my time.
I am a member of two Swedish artist/illustrator societies which offer a lot of help and advice for running a freelance business in Sweden. I'm guilty of not using their help regularly but one of their helping aids I refer to often is their collected statistics on what Swedish illustrators and graphic designs get paid for certain projects. This information is insanely helpful and has helped me to build prices that I am comfortable with. (I'm not allowed to publish this information, but if you're curious send me an email) :)
One problem I face with living in Stockholm and having many American or other international clients is money value. The cost of living in Stockholm is much higher; therefore many of my American clients find my Swedish prices too high. Did you know sales tax in Sweden is 25%? and income tax is like 30%?
So there are tons of things that need to be considered when you decide on prices (It's all very personal too, so what works for one person won't work for the next). Your living costs of course are most important, and then making sure that you are being paid generously for the time you are putting into the project etc. If you don't put value into the item you are selling or the project you are working on the person buying won't put value in it either. Pretty much you just have to have the guts to suggest a sum that kind of blows your mind. The client is of course free to make a counter offer, so don't be afraid. Don't sell yourself short (I need to remind myself of this constantly.)
Ok so how do you decide on a price for an item you're going to sell?
Materials + Labor + Expenses + Profit = Wholesale x 2 = Retail