Drawing up costs and proposals are time-consuming. If you are a website designer or a graphic designer, you need to know how to accurately bill for your work (even if you are working for a salary, it’s a good idea to make a mental note of how this gets done). Although you won’t get every job you bid on, you need to make sure you are providing clients with a fair, realistic and profitable cost estimate for design jobs.

What are your competitors charging?

You probably won’t know who else is bidding on the job, but find out what other designers and agencies are charging for work. If you’re vastly overpriced, the client probably won’t even consider you (unless you have something extremely unique to offer) and if you’re charging much less, the client may not take you seriously (or the money won’t compensate for the effort you put into the job). Get some ball-park figures from other designers in your area so that you have a good point of reference.

Who’s the client?

If you’re setting up a cost estimate for a blue chip company, chances are they have bigger budgets and are prepared to pay for what they want. If you’ve got a smaller client and you know they are a bit strapped for cash, rather speak to them about a payment plan for you (or how you can compromise) instead of undercutting yourself from the get-go. You don’t want to be the cheapest designer, but try to be flexible if you are looking for new clients.

A good tip is to have specific price ranges for website design and graphic design jobs. Ask a lot of questions about the job (if the client is too vague during the brief, they could either be looking to you for some guidance or they could be expecting you to re-do various logos or website ideas until you present something they like – which will take a lot of time). If you can get a lot of information upfront, you’ll have a better idea of what you can charge for the job.