ST02-What’s the right price for a freelancer (part II)?

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What is the right price for a freelancer (part II)?

by Alessandro Cozzutto
Digital Communication Specialist @ Slash_Prod
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Back to PART I

All the previous 5 solutions include a tiny bit of truth and you should not throw the baby out with the bath water, in particular because they are pretty common and represent a reference for both parts of the equation.

However, more effective techniques to negotiate the price of freelancers exist. We can name five, our 5 best techniques to set the price of a freelancers .

They can help the two parties find a common ground, so that both can safely feel that “ok, the price is right.”

1 – The SaaS model
This method has become recently popular because of the stupid Startup world and it is now popular way beyond.

It consists of articulating an offer via a number of plans (usually 3), so that the customer can compare pros and cons of each plan and better evaluate its cost-benefit ratio.

Many freelancers refrain from giving a price “a priori,” in particular because most of their clients will go for the cheapest option. However, as consumers, people are inevitably getting used to this model.

And even if the price is not part of the initial offer, any client shall feel entitled to ask for different options (and a clear description) and freelancers shall feel comfortable and ready to articulate their offer.

2 – Use Linkedin, for real! 
Some people learned that they can simply use Linkedin to find the freelancer of their dreams.
Although this research does not solve the problem of the price, it can definitely help evaluate experience and expertise of a future collaborator.

It is important, though, that clients know what they are looking for and that freelancers learn how to present their expertise from a customer-centric perspective.

Clients shall not simply look at the professional experience, as any one can make up a fancy CV : they shall rather focus on the endorsements, recommendations, and concrete samples that relate to the freelancer’s activity.
And if they see any common connection, they should definitely send a message: “Hey, I saw you know this person: would you recommend?”

On the other side, freelancers shall learn to shed light on their experience, the tasks, the lesson learned. They shall be accountable for what they declare in their profile, and they should not feel too shy to ask past clients/colleagues to endorse or recommend them.

3 – Ask more, give more
Because of the highly technical nature of freelance contributions, it is quite natural to get lost if you are the freelancer, let alone if you are the client.
Unfortunately this natural tendency often evolves into suspicion, micro-management, and all sort of mistrust.

Sometimes the freelancer should communicate more, and better.
Sometimes the client should just ask: to be sure, but also to learn to evaluate.

In both cases, before making any deal, it is important to take the time to discuss any technical (and non-technical) issue that may have an impact on the quality or the speed of the delivery.

Some freelancers are afraid that long discussions may reveal complicated aspects, which will abort the deal.
Most of them, though, love what they do and they are more than eager to discuss the details of their work, if asked.
  1. 4 – Hidden costs on the table, please 
  2. Nobody likes to pay at the end a higher price than previously agreed.
  3. “Terms and conditions” shall be clear and transparent since the beginning of the assignment, of course.

But clients cannot claim that the initially agreed price can cover any change, delay, or last-minute revolution, which a typical freelance assignment may face, in particular when dealing with a big organisation. Nor should the freelancers refrain from communicating more, and better (point 4), so that the rules of the game are clear for all and the budget is defined accordingly.

5 – Start small, start early 
A good strategy to ensure the best cost-benefit relation consists of taking the time to evaluate professionals beyond their CVs.
And there is no better way to assess a potential match than starting to work together on a small scale project.
Which sometimes even implies to make up a small scale project with the sole purpose of evaluating a reserve list of reliable freelancers.

When the pressure is at the lowest, failures are not critical, and the budget is limited, a client can still evaluate speed of execution, deadline management, or the internal team’s reaction to new faces, new styles, new ideas.
  1. Nobody knows what the exact price for a freelancer is.
  2. There are many ways to tackle the issue, not to mention the negotiation.
  3. What shall never be missing is a mutual climate of respect.
Freelancers must understand that clients’ representative cannot always control the decision process within their company.
Clients must understand that freelancers offer their work, but this work requires every hour, every minute, every second of their life, including the part of life prior to the deal.
And the almost exclusive right, which they enjoy, is the right to make a price.

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