If you are new(er) to freelancing, excitement landing your first few clients can get the best of you. When “it comes to compensation, saying ‘yes’ to the first number on the table” without giving it the slightest consideration is not the best idea according to Carolyn Alder of Zampi. As a freelancer, you should know how to negotiate rates. In this article, we talk about a few practical methods you can utilize.

1. Look at previous jobs as a guide.

Jennifer Parris of FlexJobs advises that if “you’ve freelanced before, you can base the rate that you’d like to receive on what you’ve gotten paid in the past. But if you’re changing careers, or this is your first foray into freelancing, you might need some additional input to get a good guesstimate of what you want to get paid.” One way of doing this is by simply googling a salary calculator. A salary calculator can help you find out what you should be making as a freelancer compared to others with similar full-time positions in any industry. Once you have figured out this amount, base your initial pricing off this number.

2. Negotiate on Perception of Value 

It is your business— your work, so you may be a little too proud to see the true value of your efforts. This is okay, however. Being confident in your freelance work is key to your success. But, “too many freelancers work from the perspective of what they think their services are worth, when in reality they should be” considering what the client thinks the value is of their service says Tom Ewer of BidSketch

That is not to say you should completely disregard your thoughts on the value of your work. Afterall, you are basing your pricing on previous projects, so you do have validity going into negotiations. With that said, consider both your client’s initial valuations and the type of project you’ll be focusing on. Consider these questions Ewer suggests for looking into the potential valuation from your client:

  1. How will your work benefit the client?
  2. How will it positively affect their bottom line?

The answer to the questions above will help you decide what rate you can charge in addition to your previous pricings.

3. Throw a High Ball

Negotiating is a core value in business operations. So much so that there are whole courses dedicated to the topic in many a university. Because this skill is ingrained into many business professionals heads, you should always propose a rate higher than you would negotiating wasn’t even an option. This may seem like a risk, but you are simply getting a head start in the negotiating game. Ewer argues that if “the client can haggle you down to a number you would have accepted anyway, they will feel like they have gained something out of the process and you will still be happy with the agreed rate.”

4. Get that Rate in Writing

Arguably one of the most important elements in freelancing, a written agreement dictates when you can start your work on a client’s project. Essentially, if you do not have a contract immediately after negotiations, you should not start your job with a company. Jen Luckwaldt of the Balance Small Business writes: “contracts exist to set expectations, not necessarily to provide a framework for a lawsuit.” Though there is an impending sense of doom without a contract, they don’t need to be complicated. Basically, make sure that you’ll be able to work with a company productively to achieve their goals and receive your payment when you expect it.

If you feel as though you still might be scammed and cheated out of your rightful payment even with a contract, then check out this article on LadyBossBlogger.com discussing about how to protect your income as a freelancer. 

5. Negotiate In-Person

It may seem faster and easier to negotiate via email, but you lose an edge when you do. Typically, business executives have a tendency to be more aggressive when responding to negotiations online. This aggressiveness can even be seen with trolls on social media. People feel as though there is a disconnect from themselves through the internet, so it is easier for them to be more assertive online. Discussing salary in person with your potential new client will show your confidence, and the business managers you will be meeting with will feel less inclined to lowball you.  

For more information on how to get paid more as an influencer, check out this article on LadyBossBlogger. Additionally, if you have any additional tips or stories from your own experiences negotiating as a freelancer, let us know about them in the comments section!


Claire Erickson is currently a blogging intern at LadyBossBloggerShop.com. Claire has just returned from studying abroad at the London College of Fashion and will finish her senior year studying retail merchandising back at her home university – University of Minnesota (Twin Cities). She will graduate in the spring of 2020 and is looking forward to having a future in buying, trend research, or planning.