Money and financial gratification have always been exciting topics for any freelancer in or corporate world. Typically, the level and complexity of any given work must be commensurate with the money you get paid. But for freelancers, things are a bit more complicated than that.

For one thing, the freelancer is the primary determiner of how much they get to earn on a particular job. That’s because platforms like Upwork and Fiverr let you set your freelance rates based on your terms. However, other factors like average market price and client demands come into play, but they only balance whatever arbitrary value you’ve already set.

What do all these mean in the real world? Your freelance rates determine how often you get approved for jobs since clients can perceive your services as too pricey or affordable to them. 

Now that we’ve understood that freelance rates are highly subjective, we must also note that the patterns vary from skill to skill. Today, we’re focusing on freelance graphics design.

If you’re a graphic designer on Upwork or Fiverr, how can you set a freelance rate that works best for you? I’ve compiled a guide on understanding and managing freelance rates for graphic designers, and the information can help you greatly in 2022. 

Learn the Industry Standard Average

New freelancers might be eager to get their first paycheck on Upwork or Fiverr. Still, as a freelance graphics designer, you must first consider the average rate charged by existing designers in the marketplace.

I discovered that freelance graphics designers charge between $15-$300 an hour. That’s dependent on the skill level: beginner, intermediate, and expert. Years of experience also play an essential role.

Furthermore, most freelancers can opt for a flat fee for each project rather than getting paid by the hour. This allows for more negotiations between the person and the client but still uses the rates in the calculation. Finally, it knows what fellow freelance graphic designers charge would give you an idea of the boundaries within which you can set your rates. 

Do Some Calculations

The earlier you realize that there’s no “right” freelance rate, the quicker you’d find one that works for you. Of course, freelance graphic design hourly rates could be anything you want them to be for you, but it’s best to make some calculations before you settle on a number. 

A perfect equation you can use is what I like to call a “sustainability formula.” As the name implies, the formula allows you to determine the minimum rate to sustain you in the long term. Your annual salary and the number of hours you work make up your sustainability formula. That is:

Sustainability formula = Annual Salary/Annual Work Hours

If you don’t have an annual salary, you can substitute it for your yearly living cost. However, your number after solving the equation makes an excellent rate for your freelance graphic design portfolio.

Consider Client’s Expectations

As much as you’d like to get paid adequately for your freelance graphic design works, you won’t want to give clients the impression that you’re all about the money. Therefore, it’s best to consider the clients when setting a rate for your skills.

You can do that by giving room to negotiations, especially when the client has a custom job description. For beginners, you may want to set the rates slightly lower than the standard average. This encourages clients and improves your chances of getting your first freelance graphic design reviews.

Overall, freelance graphic design hourly rates should be as flexible as possible for clients seeking a good deal.

Have a Goal Rate

Most freelancers don’t realize how important it is to have two types of rates. One should be short-term, while the other should be in your long-term plans. Your regular freelance rates are short-term, while goal rates are more permanent.

It would be best if you had a goal rate determined by taxes and expenses. This method would help you to enjoy a more considerable profit margin from your rates since they would be a function of what’s left after you’ve balanced your books. That’s unlike having a rate based on what the client offers. 

Also, a goal rate allows you to increase your earning power as your experience level rises. Finally, it would help when you wish to increase your freelance graphic design hourly rates for new and repeat clients. 

Quote Professionally

There are times when clients want a custom service request from you. In such situations, they may not have to use your standard rates, so you’d have to quote a new rate. It’s important that you quote your prices and rates professionally, as that would set a precedent for future transactions.

The best way you can go about it is by using your freelance rates as the base. You’d simply multiply or divide wherever necessary. That way, you keep the odds in your favor should in case the client wants to negotiate.

Haphazard quotes puts you at the mercy of customers, and you run the risk of working for much less than ideal rates. Overall, you must pay attention to your quotes. 

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re looking to want your first $50 or $50k, setting the right freelance rates is important to your career in the long run. For graphic designers on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, you must ensure that your freelance graphic design hourly rates tally with your prowess.

How do you stay on top of the situation? You could consider the tips I’ve highlighted above for a start. They’ll help you to have a better idea on how to handle your finances throughout your freelance graphic design career.


Shalom is an experienced freelancer and author who writes about her experiences and offers practical advice on the Busy Earner blog.


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