Back then, I was wet behind the ears when it came to freelancing. I’d only freelanced for short stints through temp agencies and placement companies who did the sourcing for me and paid my taxes too. They set my rates, and I just showed up. And when someone asked me how much I would charge to do a logo, I would secretly curl up in a ball and rock back and forth (in my head) hoping a number would magically appear.
But when my boss said that to me that day, it really changed my view of setting my prices with regards to my own freelance work. His point of view was that if you were cheaper than that, your work probably wasn’t up to snuff either. It was the whole mindset of “you get what you pay for.”
And I agree.
If you are sourcing out a good electrician to overhaul your entire home and get rid of all the code violations and fire hazards, would you look for a guy who works out of the back of his pickup and charges $10 an hour, or would you look for someone bonded and insured, backed by an established company with lots of experience who might charge $40 per hour? When it comes to your home, and your family… the things you value the most, I’m going to guess you’ll trust someone who might be more expensive, but will get the job done, and do it well.
So why don’t most people use the same concept when looking to trust someone with their brand? Their marketing materials? How they represent their business to the world!? If the intent is to make money selling your product or service, you better present yourself as though you deserve to get paid that money. So in turn, you need to invest good money into hiring a designer who cares as much about your brand as you do.
As freelancers, sometimes we have a guilt complex about our prices. Even before we share our rates or project pricing with someone, we worry and fret over how it will be received. But we didn’t arrive at the price arbitrarily. The price you pay us is not simply for someone who knows how to use a design program (of course many people think this is what makes a “designer.”) You don’t pay your accountant $100 per hour because he or she knows how to use Excel, do you? Me either.
You are actually paying for years of experience and training, a refined eye and ability to visualize something you can’t yourself, knowing what your target audience will gravitate toward, and so much more. There are hours of thought put into one concept, and hours more research. GOOD designers are researchers, concept creators, outside-the-box thinkers, mathematicians (no matter what they say!) and savvy time and money savers.
So if you are in need of a freelancer… whether it be a designer, a writer, a web developer or even a babysitter, make sure you do your research. Don’t just hire the cheapest. I can personally guarantee, based on experience myself, you WILL get what you pay for.