If you are new to working as a graphic design freelancer, the idea of setting your own rates can feel overwhelming. Some designers worry about charging too much for their experience level or worry about raising their prices with existing clients. Freelance designers should familiarize themselves with average graphic design rates in their area to help determine a starting point for their specific rates and whether they want to charge per hour or project.

Generally speaking, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states the average salary for a full-time graphic design employee is $53,380. While freelancers need to look at different factors like self-employment taxes and costs, it is a good starting point to understand the general pay for salaried employees in the field. With nearly 57 million Americans working as freelancers, it’s important to set rates that highlight and support your unique skills or strengths in the design industry. Keep reading below to learn more about setting rates as a design freelancer and developing a pricing strategy for your services.

Common Rates for Design Freelancers

While every design client and project is unique, understanding common tasks and rates for design freelancers can help you form a starting point for developing your prices. Upwork states the average hourly pay for a graphic design freelancer to be $25, though this can range from $15 to $150 per hour. This general bracket can help new freelancers price their services and determine whether hourly or project-based pay is best for their situation.

Logo Design: Though this is a wide range, Freelancer estimates the average logo design services to fall between $100 and $5,000. The range of prices is to accommodate different brands, the project's scope, and overall experience level.

Social Media Content: Freelancer cites the average cost for social media design content between $5 and $10 per post on apps like Instagram. It’s common for the cost to exceed $10 per post for more advanced tasks or elaborate work.

Web Design: Often the most complicated service to task, website design has a vast range of prices that vary due to different factors. On average, web design services can range from $1,000 to well over $15,000, depending on the type of tasks. Some graphic designers have both UX and UI experience, which will allow them to charge more than a designer that offers just front or back end support.

Important Factors to Consider

It’s easy to look at the average pay for a design freelancer and set that for your own rate, but this does not ensure you are compensated fairly for your time or services. There are some important factors below that you should consider when first starting to set your rates or are considering an increase in prices.

Experience Level

Setting rates for different projects may seem straightforward if you have years of experience as a freelance designer. Those with extensive experience can anticipate charging more per hour or project than those just starting their careers, though each designer will have a unique skill set. New freelance designers need to remember that they will be able to increase their rates as they gain experience and exposure in the industry.

Scope of the Project

Another essential factor to consider when discussing prices with a client is the overall scope of the project. Essentially, the project's scope is the amount of time, resources, complexity, and specific details needed to finish the client’s work. This means that a simple logo should be priced less expensive than a complete website design service that may require weeks of work.

Overhead Expenses

Another commonly overlooked factor freelancers make when pricing their services is any overhead or business expenses. Aside from the actual work time you should be compensated for, it’s crucial to factor in costs like self-employment taxes, health insurance, software subscriptions, and equipment. Factoring these significant costs into your rates will ensure all of your essential business expenses are covered and that your freelance work is still profitable with these costs.

Hourly vs. Project-Based Rates

When working as any freelance creative designer, it’s essential to determine whether you want to charge hourly for your services or focus on a project-based rate. Many designers that are new to the industry choose to charge hourly for their work, as it provides them an opportunity to learn how much time they need to complete a job. Charging hourly for design services also ensures that you will be paid for the entire duration of the project, including any revisions or changes from the original plans.

It’s not uncommon for freelance designers to switch between hourly or fixed rates for their work and different types of projects. Each client and project is unique, meaning your pay structure doesn’t need to be concrete. There is no right or wrong way to charge for your services, as long as you cover all expenses and overhead. Being flexible will benefit freelancers and help to make the projects run smoother.

Flexibility Between Clients is Key

While it seems obvious, flexibility as a design freelancer is key to minimizing stress and ensuring each project is reasonably priced. It can be frustrating when a project needs several edits or takes longer than you priced the job. Remaining flexible in these types of scenarios will not only make it easier to find a solution, communicating with clients is manageable when both of you are open to modifications. It’s okay to price different types of work at a higher rate than others if that works for your specific freelance business practices.

Increase Rates when Necessary

Many design freelancers assume that once their rates are set, it’s difficult to increase them with existing clientele. While discussing price increases with your returning clients can be intimidating, freelancers should review and modify their rates every year. Reviewing expenses and any changes in your skillset once per year will allow you to look at your costs and determine if it’s time to charge more per hour or just on specific tasks.

Setting rates as a design freelancer is challenging, even if you have worked in the industry for some time. If you want to increase your freelancer rates but feel you need to brush up on your skills first, consider signing up for graphic design classes from an online provider. Standard courses or a live online graphic design bootcamp will help boost your skillset from the comfort of your own home! This is an excellent option for those working in the industry that wants a convenient option for refresher classes. If you are unsure what type of class is best for your goals, search for graphic design bootcamps in your area to see the available options.