Convincing Clients to Pay Per Project

So after reading Monday’s post, you might be wondering how you can convince clients to pay you per project. Paying per project is beneficial to you both, so it is worth it to offer your clients your two cents concerning the matter.

Explain that hourly rates make it impossible to set a clear budget.

  • When the rate is per project, the client knows exactly what they owe right from the beginning. Unless something completely unexpected happens, they will not be hit with extra charges if the project runs over the estimated time to complete.

Set a high hourly rate.

  • Freelance writers run the gamut when it comes to hourly rates, but it’s fair to say the average hourly rate is between $25 and $75 per hour. If a client knows an extra day of work is going to set them back $600 they are more likely to agree to your per project rate instead of taking a risk. Explain this to your client, in case they do not realize the risk, and then offer a per project rate that will put you about 10% to 25% lower than that per hour rate. If this means listing a per hour rate of $150, go for it. Decide how much you want to earn for a project, calculate an hourly rate that would be 10% higher than the per project rate, and explain away.

Request more frequent payments if a client requires you work hourly.

  • If you usually request 50% upfront and the balance when the project is finished, tell hourly clients you will invoice them once a week or even once a day. If hourly payments are inconvenient they are more likely to accept per project rates.

Tell your clients flat-out that you do not work hourly.

  • If they want to work with you it will not matter.
  • Provide high-quality work so clients are reluctant to walk away based on payment structure. Some clients will adjust their system because they do not want to pass up working with you.

Now a word on setting your hourly rate at the high end of the spectrum: you can use it as a bargaining tool. Your hourly rates do not have to be set in stone. Some freelance writers do give rates upfront, but most set their rates based on the project. The more appealing a project the better rate you can offer. You own the business, so you call the shots.

There are some instances where you will have no choice but to accept hourly rates if you want to work with the client. Most government contracting jobs are paid hourly and there are other companies that are required to pay hourly because of their current business structure. In some cases hourly payments are worth it. There are definitely clients I would work with even if they only paid hourly. It is up to you to decide if the inconvenience and possible lower earnings are worth it.

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About Kelly Jamrozy

Writer. Traveler. Reader. Wife. Daughter. Friend. Puppy caretaker. Lover of baseball, Counting Crows, and steamed crabs.
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