The importance of time for creatives

We’ve all been there — we quote on a job and then the time it ends up taking is a lot longer than expected, meaning we don’t earn as much as we should have done. Sometimes, working in the creative industry, customers expect services to be cheaper than other work, such as that in the tech realm.

But as creative workers, we shouldn’t sell ourselves short. Our work is very important, and many businesses wouldn’t survive without the creative input of graphic designers, writers, marketers and illustrators.

So don’t underestimate your time and ensure you prove to your client that your services are worth paying for.

Why it’s important not to undersell your time

If you want to work with good clients, charge what you are worth. Good customers will understand the importance of paying for quality and won’t expect you to undersell your time or charge bargain basement prices.

If you are working with someone who expects you to do a lot for very little, then consider whether you actually want to take on a client like that at all. You want to be hired by people who respect what you do and appreciate your work — and with this comes a payment that suits your level of skill.

Understanding how much a project will cost you

Sometimes creative people might not be the best at organising, but working out how much time and effort you will be spending on a project is worth the research.

When quoting for your time, make sure you mention any factors to the client that could cause the project to overrun. For example, if they don’t deliver their brief in time, or if they ask for extra revisions or a tighter deadline, ensure you mention that it could incur further costs for them

Quoting per project, rather than per hour

Although it might be difficult to when just starting out, it is often better to charge per project rather than per hour. Why? Because you can charge more and get a rate that is closer to what you feel you’re worth.

The problem with charging per hour is that if you end up taking longer to do the project work than planned, the client might not be too happy with the extra cost. Instead, if you charge a project rate right off the bat, then the client doesn’t care how long you spend on the work, as long as it gets done for the agreed price.

For example, if you are a designer and you charge $10,000 to create a new website for a client, the client doesn’t care how long it takes you, as long as they feel they are getting $10,000’s worth of value. So, if you only spend a week designing the website but then produce something beautiful for the client, they are going to be pleased with your work, regardless of how long it took you to put it together.

What to take into account when deciding on an hourly charge out rate

If you do decide to charge by the hour, you need to consider a number of different factors to come to an agreeable rate that will work for your business. First of all, think about how much profit you want to earn throughout the year in total. Then consider how many hours you can charge for this work. Make sure you take out the hours you will be doing things that you can’t charge for such as admin, accounting, marketing and other tasks.

Next, work out how much you would need to charge per hour, considering the number of hours you plan to do paid work, and you should get an hourly rate. Then you need to add in expenses such as office rent and so on, and divvy that up across your hours too, so you can make sure you coverthose outgoings as well.

After taking all of these factors into account, you should be able to decide on an hourly rate that will suit you and your business.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth

As creative workers, it is often easy to undervalue our worth. Because we work in the arts, sometimes people can feel it is an ‘easy’ job that doesn’t require much work. But remember — the work you do is highly skilled and there are probably few people out there who can do the job quite like you. So don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth.

If you need help with any costing problems, don’t forget that software like ours can help solve difficult considerations within your business — in the most cost effective way.

Original post written by David Allan-Petale