How to quote for your freelance work

How to make your freelance quotations shine

No matter how far you are in your freelance career, sending quotations is probably an inevitable part of your work. It can also be very tricky, especially if you lack relevant data about your clients.

So, let’s explore how to make quoting more enjoyable and successful. Below you can find three steps that will help you prepare a better quote.


1. Find the golden mean

Price isn’t always the key element. There are so many other factors that can influence the decision of your potential client on whether or not to hire you. So, don’t make the mistake on relying on the numbers only. As a person who both sends and receives quotes, I’ve noticed one common behaviour – the lowest and the highest rates are usually rejected and the main focus goes to the prices between these two extremes.

So, what does it mean for you when you prepare your quote?  

Before sending any proposal to your clients, first carry out a thorough market research. Try to find out what is a typical price range in your industry and quote within it. Serious clients won’t go for the lowest rate. Similarly, serious freelancers won’t quote below the industry standard either. So, make sure you’re not in the “too high” or “too low” category to reduce your chances of rejection. Unless, of course, you offer something unique or can prove the exceptional quality of your work – then do quote higher than your competitors and make sure your clients know exactly what they’re paying for.


2. Drop the golden mean

Sometimes “the golden mean” rule won’t work at all. If you’re sending a quote for premium clients, your rate should be premium as well. You don’t have to charge the same rate to every client, quite the contrary. Have standard rates, but adjust your price depending on the profile of your prospect and consider any other factors such as deadline, requirements or risks involved in the project.

Another wise strategy is to figure out what is the value and benefits that your potential client will gain through your work. For example, if you’re a product photographer you’re not only shooting product pictures, but presenting your clients’ products in the best possible light. In other words, you help your customers sell more items on their websites. That’s why quoting per hour of your work in this case may not be the best idea. Instead, focus on what your clients gain with your services, outline the benefits in your quote and include some form of social proof as well (reviews, recommendations, publications etc.).


3. Don’t miss your golden opportunity

Suggesting the right price isn’t the only ingredient of successful quoting. There are many other important aspects as well. For example, many clients (myself including) value quick response time. The earlier you deliver your quote, the better – of course without unnecessary rush. Send it too hastily, and your client might think you didn’t familiarise yourself with all requirements or sample materials. Send it too late, and you’ll miss the boat even if your price is acceptable. As a rule of thumb, try to submit your proposal on the same day, unless it’s a very urgent project that needs an immediate response.


Pay attention to other items in your quote as well, such as including your terms and conditions, payment terms, delivery deadlines and explaining what is and what isn’t included in your offer. Finally, remember to put your quotation in an attractive form, for example in a PDF file with your logo, watermark or branded colours.

When your quote is ready to send it via e-mail, remember to add some personal touch to your message. In this way your clients will notice that you really took the time to research their profile or understand their needs. This in turn will help you build a professional image which plays an important role when selecting the right freelancer for the proposed project.


Over to you

What are you struggling with the most when sending quotes for your services? Do you make a thorough research every time you send your proposal? Feel free to share your thoughts below!


Dorota helps digital brands infuse their content with a local touch. She is a localization consultant, translator specialized in IT, prompt engineer, and a book author. Dorota teaches online courses on localization, writes for her blog and a Medium publication. She also runs a Small Biz AI, a Substack newsletter for freelancers and small business owners ready to discover handy AI tools.

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