Freelance Rates: How Much Should I Charge?

It’s one of the most frequently asked questions when production freelancers are starting a new business relationship. It’s also tax season, which often spurs the question: “Am I charging enough for my services?”

TeamPeople supports workers and talent in all their forms. Our flexibility and transparency with talent and clients often leads to questions like “What will the market support?” “What are other people charging – and paying – for similar services?” The core to all these questions is “How can I maximize my earnings and still make sure that I’m competitive and the clients see the unique value that I bring?”

With more than 53 million Americans working as freelancers, it’s a powerful question and one that is considered with every job and every work opportunity. The freelance talent market provides a vast array of unique talents, valuable services and flexible workers who can fill positions that others wouldn’t attempt.

The rate factors are clear for both those offering services and those buying services:

Rate Differentials:

  1. Quality of Your Work
  2. Quality of Your Attitude
  3. Quality of Your Customer Service Presentation
  4. Dependability
  5. Location
  6. Specialized Training
  7. Years of Experience
  8. Tools and Insurance Available
  9. Added Value You Provide

A Freelancers’ Business Factors:

  1. Overhead cost of operating and marketing your services. You can get very specific financially with these formulas.
  2. Location of the job
  3. Opportunity to innovate and be exposed to new techniques, technologies or storytelling
  4. Potential for repeat work
  5. Professional connections involved in the job
  6. Other confirmed bookings on your calendar
  7. Type of client (corporate, indie, network, etc.)

Best Practices TeamPeople has Noted:

  1. Our policy: You as the talent in your market know what your skills can command and what your clients pay. You let us know what your preferred rates are and we present those to our clients. If our client has a budget, we will let you know and it’s your choice to accept or decline the work based on your own business factors.
  2. Production Industry standard has long been day rates. We’re now seeing more hourly rates proposed as people become more flexible with work time, are paid via payroll or managed service companies and comply with ACA requirements.
  3. About half of the freelancers we encounter offer half day rates.
  4. About 20% of the freelancers we encounter are interested in a full time position. The other 80% have chosen the freelance lifestyle and plan to continue working in that fashion.

As the Freelancers Union notes: “This plucky, nimble group of entrepreneurs will transform the economy, change the way we think about “work,” and build meaningful, un-soul-sucking lives on their own terms. (And try to stay sane while doing it.)”

Our goal is to keep all our freelancers busy, sane, challenged and engaged. Thanks to all of you who deliver for TeamPeople and our clients on a daily basis. Let us know how we’re doing relating to our freelancers by emailing me at

Featured Insights

What will the future of work look like?

In the US, there are more than 53 million freelancers, making up about 35% of the labor force. A recent report from McKinsey illustrates that while there...
Learn More

The Future of Media Leaders’ Summit Recap

2018 marked the second iteration of the Future of Media Leaders’ Summit hosted by Al Jazeera in Doha, Qatar. While there were product demonstrations by a few...
Learn More