An anecdote to help you think about pricing

I know it’s really hard to know how to price your work as a freelancer. I always talk about how it’s an art and not a science, so you need to gather as many inputs about the client as you can to figure out how much they may be able to pay before you make a proposal. 

An obvious example is you may want to charge a big law firm more for a blog post than you would a small startup or a nonprofit. Right?

It’s simply because the big law firm probably won’t blink about paying you an amount that a nonprofit may agonize over. If you ask for the same from both, you may not get the work from both. The nonprofit will go with a cheaper writer, even if you’d actually be willing to do it for the cheaper price. 

But the problem comes when the situation isn’t so cut-and-dried. Are there any ways to tell how much money a company might be willing to dispense? 

One great thing to do, especially if you write in tech or other industries that tend to get venture funding, is to search for what the company’s funding situation is when you’re in the info-gathering phase of your pricing decision. 

Here’s an anecdote to illustrate how useful this can be.

Recently someone referred me to a tech company that wants blog content. The contacts at the company asked for a proposal for several posts a month. They said they are “a small startup.”

That phrasing led me to think they may not pay super well. But then I looked them up and discovered that “small” to them means 90 employees all over the world. And I also discovered via Crunchbase, a great site for looking up startup company info, that they recently got a $15 million round of venture funding.

So now I knew that I was proposing a few blog posts a month to a 90-person company that just received $15M in funding. They are flush wish cash and ready to roll on getting their marketing in order, but they are not extensively staffed so they’re looking to pay freelancers to help.

This helped me see that in this instance, I should NOT lowball this proposal. I should HIGHBALL this offer. (Is “highball” a thing in pricing, or just in bartending?)

That is not to say I should price gouge or propose prices way above what I normally get paid by the average client. I should simply look at pricing on the higher end of my usual range, and do so confidently.

It’s things like this that can sway how you price. Take a moment to dig around and gather as much info as you can so you are not stabbing in the dark. Or so at least you may be able to stab confidently in the dusk.

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