Freelancer Pricing: Retainer, Hourly, Project, Oh My!

Finding the best freelancer pricing for your business can seem daunting! Don’t worry, I will walk you through the best way to price your projects.

These packages are based on my experience; however, I hope they are a foundation that you can use to start your pricing and earn freedom in your life.

Repeatable Project Pricing

Repeatable Project is by far the best package you can create for your clients and your business.

A repeatable project is a package that you can provide to the same type of client over and over again.

Repeating a project opens up opportunities for you to grow your service and become an expert.

In “Built to Sell”, the author writes that a business that is desirable to a buyer is one that can be repeated by anyone.

When you focus on projects that are repeatable, you can hire new people and teach them that role easily so you can focus on business development and growing your business.

Recurring Retainer Pricing

A retainer is my favorite pricing package other than the repeatable projects.

With a retainer, your client is paying you a monthly fee each month to reserve a certain amount of hours.

This option is the most focused on providing value each month and building a relationship with your client.

The beauty of a retainer is that it is recurring and value-focused.

Some cons of retainer work are that it can often be a blank check each month that changes what you are providing as new situations arise.

There is also no clear end in sight so it can be difficult to wrap up a client and move onto another.

Custom Project Pricing

Custom Project Pricing can be perfect if you want to shape your offering to each individual client.

Custom projects can provide you the opportunity to price for the value you provide the customer.

The downside for custom projects is that the work you do for each client will be different.

It can be difficult to create consistency in your business if you are reinventing the wheel for every client.

The benefits of custom project pricing is that you have a clear endpoint to wrap up the client and ask for referrals to other clients.

Custom projects can be great; however, they lack recurring revenue which can lead you to hunt for new clients every month or two.

I recommend charging enough to keep that client for a three-month period so you aren’t constantly facing feast or famine.

Hourly Freelancer Pricing

Hourly is the worst pricing structure for a freelancer in my opinion.

While this pricing package allows you to charge high numbers per hour, they trap you into an effort-oriented pricing model rather than a value-oriented pricing model.

Many influencers challenge hourly pricing by saying “Should I get paid less for delivering your outcome faster?”.

Since Hourly Pricing is attached directly to your output, it is very difficult to increase your time per hour by completing work faster.

You will always be tied to your output rather than the value you provide and it can lock you into more of an employee-like engagement.

I highly recommend choosing one of the options above instead as a freelancer.

Conclusion on Freelancer Pricing

At the end of the day, choose the option that makes the most sense for your personality.

Recurring retainers have worked really well for me; however, that doesn’t mean the other ones won’t work well for you.

Test out packages for multiple clients and find the packaging that works best for you over time.

You can always change your pricing later.

Unsure about your next step? Let's chat!

Schedule a 30-minute call with me to discover what your next step is. Whether you are looking to start freelancing or starting a new role, I’m happy to lend an ear and help you grow your marketing technology career.