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What would a Graduate Freelancer charge?


New Member
Hello everyone!

I'm new to this thing, thought i would give it a go. It's nice to see communities like this.

So basically i graduated in 2013 studying graphic information design. Ive been interning for the past month and a half, and currently still there (my first internship). Before this internship, my sister put up an advertisement regarding myself as a freelancer and if anyone was interested then to get in contact.

Today someone got in contact regarding some invitation designs. They are a very small family business and want to expand. These cards will be catered for different occasion, such as:

Birthdays, Christening, guest books, weddings, etc.

They would like designs made for each of these categories, I have asked how many designs are needed, but as this will be an ongoing future project they will not know how much is needed; as a few months down the line they may need some designs changed etc.
This will be my first ever client as a designer, and as this is an ongoing project, this means they will be a long lasting client. I would like to do well by them and by myself.

As I am new within working in this industry, I am not too sure about what to charge. If I should charge per hour, or per design made, and if I need to draw up a contract. I would be so grateful to anyone for any sort of insight and advise. I would really really appreciate it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.


First off good job on getting yourself out there and your first client is always super exciting, well done :)

Now, over time you will notice that many clients will very often promise future work but (in my experience) only about 20% of them actually convert, regardless of the quality of work that has been produced for them... i'm sure others in here will have a higher % than me.

Anyway, as you said, you have two options for payment. Hourly vs per design. I'd ask a few questions:
- How long do you think it would take to design 1 card?
- How long do you think it would take to make changes?

Based on the time you can decide. If you're pretty fast, you might want to charge per project and make more money. If you're planning on spending hours and hours then the hourly rate would work fine... I wouldn't go anything below £15ph for a graduate with no / few freelance clients.
Great on getting some work. Personally, I would get something down in an estimate/quote so the client knows what they will be billed for and I would always ask for at least 50% deposit for a new client. Details can be added to your quote such as your T&Cs. Good luck!


Well-Known Member
Well done! That first job is always exciting.

It makes sense to charge less than an established designer (who may charge £35/ph or more in some cases) but try not to be tempted to bend over backwards and lower your price too much. I agree with Alex, £15/ph sounds about right for now, you can gradually increase it as your skill and experience improves. You can price things per job (I usually do), but think about how many hours will go into the work to come up with that price. Pricing can be tricky too, even if you're well established you need to take your client into account. A massive media firm can afford more than a tiny family business, but don't let them take the piss either. If the client does come back with more work in the future, you'll be glad you didn't charge too little as hours of work for next to nothing never feels right.

My advice would be this:
  • Think hard about how long the job will realistically take. If you've no idea, make a poster in your own time and time yourself.
  • Multiply that by your hourly rate, based on your experience, skill, and the client.
  • Give the client a quote for the job, explaining the things you do that will justify the expense (competition research, concept development, communication with the client at each stage, final production etc. They're not just buying a poster, they're getting you and the services you provide)
  • ASK FOR 50% IN ADVANCE. Do this. DO THIS. It feels cheeky, but we all do it, primarily to protect our time and our work. A serious client will have no problem with this. If the job is in the thousands, 30% or less might do.
  • Whatever you do in terms of contracts or T&Cs, at the very least have a professional looking invoice. Send one for that initial 50% and another one for the remaining balance.
  • Have fun.