Image by DavidDMuir via FlickrHow do you determine what to charge a client? I can tell you that my rate is an amalgam of what I need to live, what the market will bear, what I think the competition is charging, how poor the nonprofit is, how complicated the RFP, the turnaround time, and a bit of hocus-pocus, divided by the phase of the moon.
That's not a rational way to develop a fee structure, so I was interested to read a post by Alan Mutter at Reflections of a Newsosaur. He was writing about the exploitation of journalists -- writing for "exposure," not money. While arguing that writers should resist the exposure argument, he addressed what to charge and included a spreadsheet-calculator for determining freelance fees.
The post generated a lot of comments, including one from Greg Smith with a link to an alternative calculator developed by the National Press Photographers Association for for freelance photographers that will work for writers; just change some of the expense categories. Greg offered a rule of thumb that sounds about right -- you need to bring in two-to-three times what you expect as salary to cover your overhead and expenses.
How do you determine your fees? If you try one of these calculators, let us know how what you actually charge compares with what the calculator suggests you should charge.
Personally, I hate thinking about fees and would probably do this for nothing if I could. So, I'll probably stick with the phase of the moon.
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