What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants, Second Edition
Outskirts Press (2011)
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (9/11)
I would be willing to bet that the number of consultants and freelancers is increasing nowadays, what with the ever changing job market, huge advances in technology, and our economy being in such dire straits. While being your own boss definitely has a bunch of advantages, one of the toughest parts of a self-employed individual is certainly the decision on how to properly price any particular project. Most of us learn as we go, usually as a result of several quite costly miscalculations, and with time probably become more able to price things right, but even the very experienced consultants and freelancers could probably use some help in this area.
That’s where “What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants” by Laurie Lewis comes in. It covers just about every area of the pricing dilemmas that I have ever encountered, documents the different examples with interesting case studies, offers excellent suggestions on pricing methods, record keeping, means and ways of gathering information about jobs and even some legal background, including contracts and letters of agreement.
While it is clear that not every method or suggestion would be applicable to every field, I am certain that every self-employed consultant or freelancer would be able to find truly useful and comprehensive ideas that could be implemented with minimum effort for maximum impact. Two areas that were of particular interest to me were the pricing methods beyond the usual hourly rate and the task-based logs to help one with better estimates of the potential use of time on a certain type of a project. In addition to those two, I also found the chapter on “losing the job” very eye-opening. I have to admit that some of the scenarios in there never crossed my mind before.
When it comes to pricing, all too often we calculate the price at the very beginning, but very seldom we actually take a step back after completing the job and re-evaluate how much have we truly earned, and that’s where more valuable lessons could and should be learned. If you are one of those guilty of such omissions, do yourself a favor and pay particular attention to chapters 11 and 12, which deal with the end-of-job analysis and the year-end analysis. I played with some of my numbers after reading those two chapters, and I am definitely making some considerable changes to my fee structure as well as my choice of clients after taking into consideration the constructive advice by Laurie Lewis.
I found “What to Charge” to be a very useful and detailed guide to evaluation as well as re-assessment of pricing strategies used by those individuals who have to set their own price for the tasks they perform. I would highly recommend it to freelancers and consultants regardless of their field of expertise.