Top money tips for freelancers

Brought to you by Reel Talk with Jason: Freelancing Made Easy

Money, as awkward as it can be to talk about, is part of business and an important part, at that! In this edition of Reel Talk with Jason Tiller, Rocketspark Head of Partnerships, we cover how you can be smart when it comes to charging people, how you can keep hold of your retainer clients and whether you are charging enough for your business.

How can I be smart with the way I charge people?

Take a deposit. Take progress payments. Before you hand any work over, take the final payment. Bill on time. If they don’t pay, call them up and find out why. 

An acquaintance of mine used to ring his clients and say he was just ringing to hear feedback about the work that he or one of his colleagues had done and often they would ask why he was asking. He would reply by saying they hadn’t paid their bill so he’d assumed they weren’t happy with the work so he needed to figure out what went wrong. That was a tactic that always worked for him. You might have your own?

How do I keep hold of retainer clients?

Retainer clients are great to have, they’re great for cash flow, and they’re great for knowing what work you’ve got coming up.

You have to prove value each and every month. I cannot stress how important it is to go a little above and beyond for your retainer clients. Really demonstrate that value, there’s nothing worse than at the end of the year your clients see they've paid you $12k and then they wonder what they actually got for it.

Am I charging enough for the work that I do?

Have a look at what you think your hourly rate is, add up all of your time, divide that by the money you got paid and that is your actual hourly rate. I can almost guarantee it is going to be far less than what you think it is.  

One of the ways you can ensure that it stays up where you want it to is to make sure that you keep track of your time. When it comes to billable hours vs non-billable hours, make sure that your billing for any work you do which is related to the client, that includes thinking about how you can help the client, emailing the client, and calling the client. Designers often don’t charge for image searching, it takes hours, you should be charging. All of those things should be rolled into project value. Don’t do an itemised bill of, ‘thought about client’, ‘emailed client’ etc. because the client will question what’s going on. Put it under account management time, and roll all of that into your quote, for example; web design is $18k, accountant management is $400.