How Much Should You Charge?

A Creative Person’s Guide to Finding the Right Rate

Bjorgvin Benediktsson

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Image from Dall-E.

So… you’ve mastered your craft and can’t wait to take on new clients to finally grow your freelance business.

But one question eludes you:

“How much should I charge?”

It’s an elusive question; honestly, there’s no right answer. It’s different for everyone based on a variety of factors.

But don’t worry; in this post, we’ll dive into the pricing strategies you need to know so that you can remain competitive and profitable.

I felt compelled to write this lengthy post on pricing after receiving this email from a reader who is starting to charge for their services:

“I bought your book “Step by Step Mixing: How To Create Great Mixes Using Only 5 Plug-ins” and became amazed by the power and simplicity of the framework you described there. In particular, the 2nd chapter, “Mixing with no plugins,” blew my mind because we often are led to think that having plugin X, Y, or Z is “the way” to a great mix, and by thinking that we neglect the importance of organizing our work and plan our sessions. That was a paradigm shift for me, and it made me immediately more productive and much more effective in the sessions. This boost was so big that I landed my first “paid” gig as a Mixing Engineer. I started to make the mixing to the tracks of a guy I know who likes to write songs but does not know how to mix well. I am now working on my fifth song with him. When I used “commas” before on the “paid” part was because he “paid” me a 5-string bass that he was not using and that I needed for my tracks. He gave the bass in exchange for four mixed tracks. The next mixes I’ll do for him, I’ll have to charge him. Also, he knows someone else who needs a Mixing Engineer. And this leads me to my question to you: what are the ways that Mixing Engineers usually work in terms of charging? Should I define an hourly rate and estimate the number of hours I will take to do the work? Should I have a fixed value for the project? (eg.: “Mixing & Mastering a track will cost you X euros”) If you can help me by quickly giving me an insight into what can be a good approach or the industry standard, I will be grateful!”

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Bjorgvin Benediktsson

I write about music, creativity, and entrepreneurship. My new book, You Get What You Give, is out now. Grab it here: https://geni.us/YGWYG