Let’s get one thing out of the way: working for free is bullshit. This is your job. Being a commercial creative means you have a skill that is required by another person - just like a dentist or a plumber or a lawyer. So it is only fair that you get paid for your hard work and original style.

So the question is, how much should you charge for your work? We won’t impose prices on you, but here are some general tips to stay competitive and fair - but most importantly to make sure you’re charging correctly for your work.

  • Know your value. Your individual skill, craft, and brainpower have come from hard work and years of experience, so don’t sell yourself short. Equally, don’t set your prices uncompetitively high - this will likely result in you losing work.

  • Do some research into other freelancers’ prices, and be aware of competition and the economic climate.

  • Get comfortable talking about money. Have confidence in yourself, your abilities, and how much you’re worth. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

  • Be flexible. While you can be confident in your skills, make sure you are also accommodating to the clients, because at the end of the day, they are the ones writing your paycheck. But, do know your ultimate minimum rate.

  • Choose your pricing strategy to suit each job: time-based or project-based. You can log your hours and days, then invoice the client correspondingly. On the other hand, you can calculate how long you think a piece of work will take to complete, and provide a fixed price upfront. If you are ever in doubt, charge an hourly or daily rate rather than guessing how long it would take and providing a fixed, upfront fee. This is important for larger jobs, as you want to make sure the price is fair for both you and the client.

  • If you are charging an hourly rate, consider lost time by accounting for non-billable hours such as administration, invoicing, and other day-to-day tasks.

  • Calculate business costs, confirm that your price covers them, and make sure that they are reasonable and realistic. Give your client 2 or 3 free rounds of feedback, and for any additional rounds, be upfront about charging a fee!

  • Keep a record of what you are charging for each project by making a spreadsheet of rates to refer to at the end of each financial year. This will help you determine any necessary price adjustments.

  • Consider specifying how many rounds of feedback your client can have before an added cost.

  • Always think about licensing.

Here are some more specific guidelines for each discipline:


  • Remember that you are selling the rights to reproduce your art in various forms and media. The more rights and usage the client wants, the more your illustration is worth. When you sell work, you agree with the client where they can use it - what they have a license for.

  • Illustrations are often priced based on this licensing fee. It is recommended that licences are inclusive of a creation fee and the usage. This helps institute fairness for both the client and the artist, as well as gives the client a better value for their money.

  • It’s also important to consider other factors - the type of project, the client profile, area and duration of use, creation time, the print run of items, client’s budget and deadline.

  • Don’t forget to include any extra costs to factor into your price, such as materials needed to create and the means of delivering the final project.

  • The AOI can also help guide you on pricing your work if you email them directly.

  • Here are examples of rates from publications around the world for illustrations - Here

  • You can find more insight on pricing illustrations with example scenarios on this site - Here

Photographers & Filmmakers

  • Licensing or usage plays a major role - think about where, what and how long for the client wants to use your work. If it’s in a global campaign across the world, the licensing costs go up. Here’s a helpful guide from the AOP to determine your usage - Here

  • Some expected project expenses are gear depreciation, transportation, gear rental, hiring a studio, makeup artist/hair stylist and a cast, and deliverables like prints, file transfers or USBs. Make sure that you’re covering yourself and your work completely in your price! This is where your work must cover its own existence.

  • A more specific formula for all freelancers from Lightstalking.com is to consider an opportunity rate of at least 2 times the day job hours you’re missing. Or to calculate your hourly rate using monthly salaries, take your monthly payment and divide it by 4, and again divide by however many hours you expect to be working in a typical week.

  • You can also speak to the AOP directly for help.

Graphic Designers & Product Designers

  • Communicate policies in writing before starting the project to clearly spell out the hourly rate as well as the amount of money per hour that it would cost the client if the project goes over budget.

  • Many designers prefer to charge a flat rate that includes the number of rounds of feedback they would do, the copyright, an estimated amount of time spent on the project, and the deadline.

  • A flat rate can be easier for the client to understand, but ensure that you make the number of rounds of feedback and time period the job takes very clear up front. Any additions or extensions caused by the client should result in increased costs.

  • If you consistently have more work than you can handle - it’s time to increase your price.

  • Here are 20 designers on how they charge their clients - Visit Site

If you have any further questions about pricing work. We're here to help. Send us an email at hello@easle.co