First freelance job - HELP!


Junior Member
Hi everyone. I'm just about to embark on the wonderful journey that is freelance and have my first job to quote for. All good, however, this has sent me into a mild panic in terms of if I should quote an hourly rate, or a flat quote for the entire job. The job is to produce a company brochure, pretty standard stuff really, the client's wants me to quote the following:
  1. working with us to agree the basic style / layout concepts;
  2. providing draft documents with us providing written material (assume 2x drafts);
  3. Finalising document and liaising with printers to arrange copies.
Do you guys think I should spec the job up and then send him my hourly rate and how long I think it would take me? Or should I quote a flat fee, excluding printing?

He's a new client obviously, hes a friend of a friend, and was telling me they have plenty more work to send me, so I don't want to go in too strong initially.

Any help from you wonderful people would be lovely :)


Staff member
Hay Tattuwelshie.

Welcome to GDF and well done in getting your first gig.

I can't really tell you the best one to go for as you've got to decide that as you know the client, yourself and how you work.

I find this THE most difficult part of what I do and costings and stuff always make my stomach churn.

For me personally, I like to work for a flat fee based calculated using the best of my knowledge and experience but in all honesty, it's sometimes a stab in the dark. (shh) ;)

The best advice I can offer you is to get as much information up front and make a clear agreement between yourself and the client from the start.
I tend to work for 50% up front and 50% on completion.

If you do go for hourly/day rate then keep the client in the loop regarding the time you're spending on the project.
Sometimes, you can get sucked into detail on a job and the hours add up and then the client has a shock.
Be open and be up front and this will avoid later issues.

To me, what makes alarm bells ring (slightly) is the "friend of a friend" thing.
Many of your first gigs happen like this and you are combining professional and personal so the above is especially important.

There are many, many post on this forum where the situation has gone sour because of this so keep it professional.

Remember. this is your first gig and the start of a learning curve.


Well-Known Member
send him my hourly rate and how long I think it would take me? Or should I quote a flat fee, excluding printing?
What is the difference? Surely your flat fee would be based on your hourly rate x estimated completion time and then some. It all depends on how you want to deliver your quote.

I personally do not like my hourly rate to be known by my clients and I only charge via an hourly rate on smaller jobs or amendments/ edits to work which is slightly less than my actual hourly rate that I base my flat rate estimated quotes on. Key thing is to provide estimates in the early stages but try to make your estimate as realistic and accurate as you can.

Paul Murray

Staff member
For something like this I'd work hourly on the design as its sounds like there's no solid brief to work from and you may need a few attempts to produce a design they like. Working hourly puts the financial risk on the client, working for a fixed fee put that risk on you. With a job that's broad like this, you don't want that, especially if this is your first freelance job.

You could however charge a flat fee on top for things like handling the print (and maybe even make a little extra if you're a print reseller).

With an hourly rate job, you'll need to keep the client informed of how long things are taking. Ultimately they'll have a figure in their head they want to pay for the job, and if your billing amount start creeping up to that, it can be a good way to get the job signed off. With a flat rate job, there's always the chance of endless changes if you don't put your foot down. Again, let the client take on the financial risk.

He's a new client obviously, hes a friend of a friend, and was telling me they have plenty more work to send me, so I don't want to go in too strong initially.
Regardless of who the client is and what future work they may have (always take that with a pinch of salt), with any new client you need to set a precedent from the start. I never offer a discounted rate for new clients because it can be hard to bump up the price to your usual rate. There's also the chance they just want this job done cheaply or to use your quote as a bargaining tool for their regular supplier (I had a large sports retailer/gym company try and use this tactic not long ago).

Instead I'm happy to shave a few hours off or even not charge for small amends to keep my best clients that I've worked with before happy. Sometimes I'll even say "I can do it for this [reduced amount] if you can pay the invoice straight away." That's a pretty good way of keeping cashflow up and your clients happy.

You'll be surprised at the number of people that are happy to pay a decent rate for a professional service, especially since there's far more sloppy, unprofessional suppliers out there.


Staff member
I'd expect they're likely after a 'full quote' for the work rather than an hourly rate although you can maybe include exactly what they're getting for that price and add in an 'additional cost' for anything outside of those items. For example you say 2x drafts (I'd maybe budget for a few more) so you could put in your quote something like quote is for 2x drafts with further drafts being charged at £x or £x per hour.

I'd also clarify a part of that brief, they say liaise with the printers but I'd maybe check to make sure they're not expecting you to pay for the work then 'claim it back' from them too. That can make a difference.

Oh yeah, and it doesn't matter who the client is, this is your business so you charge what you're worth and what it costs to do. A friend of a friend (ie not even someone you're friends with) with a promise of further work means didly squat until you see future work. Personally I don't care if my client is a friend or even family, I'll charge them what I'd charge a normal client, maybe with a small discount if I like them, because you just know that a family member/friend will likely be pushing the boundaries of the job more than a normal client.