As I work with new and established freelancers to pitch their services to larger brands, one of the questions I often get asked, “should I add my rate to my pitch?”
Granted, this question often comes from newer freelancers but it’s still a great question. Here are a few related questions that I’ve heard.
Should you add your rate to your pitch?
The short answer is no. In my post on the difference between a pitch and a proposal, I share that you put your rate (or price) in your proposal—in the same way, that you put your price in a contract.
I like to think of a proposal as a refined contract. It’s a document that not only outlines your terms and conditions, it, more importantly, also outlines your approach to accomplishing the required tasks and explains your pricing.
Can’t I just skip the proposal and put everything in the pitch?
Sure, you could totally skip the proposal and put the pricing in the pitch, but I don’t recommend it.
The point of a pitch is to wedge your foot in the door of a new organization.
You pitch to get noticed.
You pitch to showcase your best work and to receive an invitation to chat with a decision maker about how you can support the organization.
Your pitch is the fee to play. It does not guarantee the work. That’s why you need to pitch like a boss.
If I don’t include my price in my pitch, how will the company know how much I charge?
Let’s look at pitching from another perspective. Pitching is like dating. A pitch is like an online dating profile or an awkward set up from a mutual friend. You share your best most interesting characteristics in the profile—just as you do in your pitch.
The intention of the pitch is to generate interest. Interest looks like a response to your email or an invitation to interview.
The second barrier to pricing is the interview.
The interview is your opportunity to learn about the organization. Your goal with the interview is to ask intelligent questions that help you to learn more about the positions, the needs of the organization, and the short-term goals of the organization.
After the interview, you have to use all of the data you generated (from a few smart questions) in the interview to determine how the work YOU could do for this organization will impact its ability to meet its short-term goals.
Examine your skills, experiences, and education. Dig deep. Ask for testimonials from past clients.
Write a proposal that includes your price.
Your final job is to generate a proposal that provides a detailed overview of what you can do and how you will do it to support your client to meet its stated goals.
Once you determine your solution for this customer (including what you’ll do and how often you’ll do it), you can determine how to price the work.
For instance, not all freelance jobs are the same. And while you may be able to charge one client $25/hour for email management, if another client wants email management, blog writing, social media management, and small web development tasks, you may need to increase your hourly rate or perhaps even propose a fixed-priced rate for that particular client.
Proposals allow you to justify your pricing.
The price isn’t just a number. With a proposal, your price represents services that will help this client meet their goals. And for savvy clients, the possibility of hiring the right person to help them meet their goals is worth waaay more than they would pay for (just) email management.
How do I set my pricing?
This is a big question. I go into detail and provide a spreadsheet in my course, Pitch Like A Boss. But for now, I’ll share this.
As you can see from the explanation I gave on proposals, pricing is not a fixed game. While you could charge everyone a fixed hourly rate, it doesn’t make good business sense because all jobs (and all clients) are not equal.
Your pricing is made up of a combination of things. First, own a business because you don’t want a boss. You probably don’t want to work 40+ hours a week either and you want the flexibility to work when you want.
So don’t set up your business where you’re burnt out and overworked from home. It’s a bad idea.
Don’t do it.
Figure out your freelance rate and set your pricing.
- Figure out how much you want to make annually.
- How many hours you ideally want to work annually?
- How much do you pay in overhead costs annually?
- Finally, determine what level of risk you’re willing to take as a business owner.
Based on these calculations, you should be able to figure out how much you need to make hourly to cover your overhead, risks, and to accommodate your preferred working hours.
Once you know your ideal rate, you can create a scale for your rate (no less than $$ and up to $$$ based on requirements) and price all proposals —both hourly and fixed price—according to that pricing scale.
If you only take one piece of advice from this post, know that your pitch and your price are not friends. Pricing should not be anywhere near your pitch UNLESS you’re offering an exclusive incentive. Save your pricing for your proposal.