5 Nigerian freelancers tell us how they determine their rates 🤑
Different ways to charge for your work as a freelancer.
As a freelancer or remote worker, it can be really difficult to determine how much to charge clients for your work. While you want to keep your rates competitive, you also don’t want to be taken advantage of.
So, we asked five leading Nigerian freelancers what they charge and how they’ve settled on what to charge their clients.
Read their answers below:
Vera, B2B Writer for Software & eCommerce Companies.
“I looked up other freelancers in my niche, specifically Elise Dopson. I looked at her expertise, years of experience, quality of content etc. then based my rates on hers after adjusting for the gap between her expertise and mine. I ended up setting my rates as half of hers.
Something else I did was connecting with other freelancers. Most people in the industry openly share how much they earn, so you can use that as a yardstick. I joined slack groups like Superpath, Top of the funnel (both free) & Peak Freelance (paid) and spent a lot of time networking with more experienced freelancers on those groups as well as on LinkedIn and Twitter.
I also checked job boards to see how much companies were offering freelancers and contractors. Employers tend to offer lower than the industry standard rates, so I was basically using those as a benchmark to never go below.
I also consider factors like my cost of living, taxes, whether or not I'm hiring a designer for illustrations, payment methods etc. For instance, when I have to use a payment method that gives me less Naira for dollars, I charge a higher dollar value and then adjust it downwards when I use a method that gives me better rates, like Sendcash.
Lastly, I always set targets for how much I want to be able to charge after a given time period. I research the quality of work that I need to produce to earn that amount and put in the work needed to build up my portfolio. This includes writing (sometimes unpaid) high-quality content for notable publications, investing in coaches, courses and freelancer peer groups.
At the moment, my work rates start at $500.”
Charles, Senior Product Designer.
“When I was starting, this was 2015 or so, my hourly rate was $5/hr but I remember taking jobs for as low as $3.33/hr cos I was a newbie and stuff.
But my rates currently go as high as $120/hr for consulting gigs and as low as $25/hr for minimal work. What goes into my rates is mostly the scope of the project and how much value I am providing for the customer. So it isn't about the client though, it is about the scope of the project.
I measure an hour of work as '1 hour of focused work' and share an estimate of the number of hours with my client at the beginning of the project. In the end, I share the actual number of hours it took and that's what my eventual total is based on. My estimation at the end of the project has never gone past + or - 6hrs, and all of my clients so far have found this reasonable because I can show them why it took longer than planned.
Some clients insist on using a timer and sharing screenshots as proof of the number of hours worked and for that, I usually use the Upwork Desktop time tracker or tools like Clockify and Desktime.”
Bena, B2B Writer for SaaS & Marketing Companies.
“Basically, I found out what other Nigerian freelancers in my niche were charging and added $100 to it. I found these freelancers from freelancer slack groups and Twitter - which are two of the best places to grow your freelance business. At the moment, my rates range from $500-$1000 for short to medium form content.”
Lydia, Technical Virtual Assistant.
“When I started, I was just joking around and it was Fiverr — I was charging $5 for 3 hours worth of data entry work. At some point, I found a thread where people were talking about freelancer rates and I realised that clients were intentionally paying low fees because they felt like they were doing Nigerian freelancers a favour.
I got angry and decided I wanted to do better. So, I did some research and changed my niche within 6 months. More importantly, I left the freelancing sites and went directly to the horse’s mouth, Facebook Groups. I started by charging $20 per hour, but I got burnt out pretty quickly. I then noticed that new tech VAs were charging $40-$70 per hour, so I revised my rates to $45 and then later to $50.
Now, my rates depend on my goals. I usually do the math of how much I want to earn and the number of hours I want to work for in that month. Say, for instance, my goal is $3,000 in August and I want to work for a total of 40 hours in August, that would be $75 per hour.
In recent times though, I've productized my services such that I barely charge my clients per hour anymore. Basically, I bundled my services into products and just have fixed prices for them. So, if my goal is $5,000, I know
I need three CRM setup clients, or four retainer clients for that month.
Nathan, B2B SaaS Writer.
“In the past, I based my rates on the type of company I was pitching.
For example, if I was pitching HubSpot, I’d probably charge higher than pitching a company in Nigeria. But now, my rates are based on the value I provide these companies with (regardless of their size) and how much I need to cover my expenses.
When I started, I used to charge $100 - $150, but now my rates start at $500.”
As a freelancer, do you relate to any of these? If you do or have a different way of charging clients, leave us a comment.
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