coins in shape of question mark

One of the most common questions I see being asked by new designers is “What should I charge for design?”

Sadly there’s no simple answer.

Graphic design doesn’t suit a fixed price model due to the vast differences between projects.

You need to work out a price for each project based on the needs of that client.

So how do you do it?

What’s your hourly rate?

You do have one don’t you?

Even if you charge a fixed price for a particular job (which most clients will likely prefer), you still need to have an hourly rate to calculate that price.

Here’s the simple formulae I use:


(Estimated completion time + An hour or two) x Hourly rate  = What to charge


Basically I multiply my hourly rate by the number of hours I expect to have to spend on the project (plus a couple of extra hours for dealing with unforeseen problems) and I have a price.

Simple. The hard part is actually working out your hourly rate. Thankfully Tom at has written a great guide on working out freelance rates.

Ultimately you need a fair bit of experience to be able to accurately estimate how long a project will take. I highly recommend getting some time-tracking software and keeping track of the time you spend on all projects.

This will give you a record of project completion times which you can use to estimate the cost of similar jobs.

Don’t wimp out on yourself

Replying to requests for quotes with an estimated price is always nerve-wracking.

It’s likely you won’t hear back from a lot of people or you’ll get the occasional “you’re too expensive” reply, which always stings a little.

But don’t immediately crumble and drop your prices to a rock-bottom rate. You still need to make a living and pay the bills.

Be sure that whatever you’re earning covers your living costs and other spendature. Otherwise what’s the point of working for yourself?

Be confident in your work and experience and ask for the price you want.

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