A freelancer’s guide to doubling prices while winning more projects
Instead, if you want to start doubling your income, you need to focus on two things:
Fortunately, you can do both of those things at the same time, let’s show you how.
If you’ve been in the game for long enough you’re sure to have heard this little nugget. We’re constantly being told that as freelancers or small agencies that we’re not charging enough money for our work. We’re “undervaluing” ourselves!
Okay, yeah, this is technically true but it’s neither the complete picture, nor is it helpful advice in any way, shape or form.
You see, it’s not about “charging more”… it’s about charging the most you can possibly charge WITHOUT losing the job. There’s an important difference.
Sure, I can increase my prices by 100% but I’m probably not very likely to win any work. In this case, the tradeoff would simply not make financial sense.
That’s why simply “charging more” is not the answer.
To really make this approach work, you need to reframe the way you think about pricing and winning projects. We need to remove ourselves from the traditional freelancer mindset of “how can I win this project,” and instead start thinking about “how can I improve the likelihood of winning more projects at a higher rate.”
We need to start thinking about striking a balance between:
If we can find that sweet spot, we’ll be operating at near optimum efficiency.
So how do we give ourselves the highest possible likelihood of winning the project while also charging more money?
Any of these sound familiar? This is another set of common advice you find being circulated amongst freelance communities.
While the intent behind these propositions is valiant, these pricing methods and strategies are built to optimize for ease, not profit. Yes, menu-based pricing might make the process of pitching a project a little bit easier, but it’s also a surefire way to ensure that you are leaving a lot of money on the table.
When you charge a fixed price for every project (eg. Logo package 1 = $2,000, Wordpresss design w/ 5-10 pages = $3,500), you’re almost guaranteeing that you’re going to lose out on revenue.
For example, take these two scenarios:
In the best-case scenario from above, you get the job but you’ve left $4,500 on the table. That’s a 40% reduction in revenue. Worst case, you end up in the same place from scenario 1, without winning the gig but this time because you undercharged.
Does fixed pricing make the job a little easier? Yes, but at what cost?
Okay, so we know that fixed pricing is leaving money on the table, what about value pricing instead?
There are a lot of different definitions floating around out there, but in essence, value pricing is when you define a price point based on the value the client stands to gain from this project. For example: are you building a website that’s going to help a non-profit raise more donations? Or perhaps you’re building a conversion-focused sales page for an e-course?
Anyway, you get the idea. In either of these cases your work will directly contribute to the growth of their bottom line, and as such you can/should charge a price point commensurate with the value generated — regardless of the number of hours you spend on their project.
This approach is far superior to a fixed pricing model, but it still doesn’t quite go far enough, here’s why…
So if value-based pricing still doesn’t tell the full story, what does? We’re glad you asked.
Let us introduce to you: Sweet Spot Pricing.
Sweet Spot Pricing (SSP) is a methodology of pricing that —like value pricing— allows external factors to influence the price point. The difference is, with SSP, we’re not just looking at one variable (ie. how much value we create for the client), we’re looking at many.
You see, we’ve found that there are a handful of other variables that can and should be considered when determining the perfect sweet spot price. If you can figure out how to address and accommodate for each of these variables, you are going to be able to define the price point that simultaneously gives you the highest likelihood of winning the project while also optimizing for profit.
This, my friends, is the holy grail of pricing.
Here are the variables we have used to consistently generate 2-3x profits on our digital projects.
Let’s break these variables down into three buckets…
We’ll walk you through each of these and underscore why they are important.
This is all about establishing the foundation for your price. These questions are all centered around the traditional: “what am I going to have to do and how much time is that going to take?”
This is the part that most of you are already familiar with. Questions like:
The goal here is to flesh out the quantitative data around your project. The objective truths and facts behind the work you’ll be doing. Most freelancers pitching and pricing projects simply do this step and then they stop… and that’s a huge mistake.
Once this step is completed you will have your general “base fee” for your project. Capture the tasks, assign hours to the tasks, and multiply by your hourly rate. Simple enough.
Beyond this point, we’re going to consider outside variables that will scale your base fee up (or in some cases, down).
In part 2, we focus on the client. Who is the client, and how does what we know about the client influence our price?
You’ll see that it is here we begin to build on this philosophy established in traditional value-based pricing, but we take it to an entirely new level. As we begin to move into part 2 and part 3 we make a shift away from the objective, quantitative variables and toward more subjective, qualitative ones.
Tip: Measuring qualitative data — Don’t get too caught up in having the PERFECT answer for these questions. Remember what we said about making that mentality shift toward a more probabilistic mindset? These are meant to be loose guide rails that will steer you in the right direction. If you’ve done a decent job in the discovery phase and have had a conversation or two with the client then just trust your gut instinct here and don’t overthink it. If you HAVE NOT done a great job in the discovery phase, we highly suggest checking out our checklist to building the perfect project discovery process.
Finally, in the last part, we ask ourselves some questions about…well, ourselves… and our current circumstances as a freelancer or agency. The great part about these questions is that, unlike questions about the client, you don’t have to guess!
Nonetheless, I’m always shocked to hear how many freelancers fail to ask themselves some very basic questions that can and will shed some light on what they should ultimately be charging for a project.
We’ve streamlined the process for you
Now, that seems like a lot to go through for each and every project, and we admit it can definitely be some added work, but the benefit you get far outweighs the effort. Following this formula has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of profit for us and it has done so on a consistent basis for years.
And the good news is…
If you really don’t feel like doing the leg work yourself, don’t worry, we’ve streamlined and automated the entire process for you at scopeconcierge.com.
How it works:
Check it out for free now at scopeconcierge.com.
Charge more, win more projects
A scoping & budgeting tool that helps you charge more and prevent scope creep, once and for all.