How to make sure you're paid enough

Cole Henley is a web designer who knows a thing or two about the money side of working on the web.

In the new issue of net magazine he shares his experience, revealing how rates have changed over time, and how much we should be charging our clients.

Back in 2011 Henley started the freelance rates survey. The project was born of a straightforward need: Henley had been made redundant, wanted to work freelance but didn't know how much to charge. Back then Henley calculated that – in very rough figures – the average rate of pay was £300/day.

A healthy increase in rates

Buy the new issue of net magazine to read Cole Henley's full report on pay in the web industry.

Buy the new issue of net magazine to read Cole Henley's full report on pay in the web industry.

Since his 2011 survey, Henley says rates have gone up: "I’m not sure if this is in response to economic circumstances or people working in our industry having the confidence to charge more. It is however refreshing, in a time of economic hardship, that our industry seems to be relatively healthy."

Forward wind to today, and Henley has revisited the project. Working with net magazine, Henley has expanded the scale and scope of his research.

Findings of the survey

Henley's report also explores working practices and long hours.

Henley's report also explores working practices and long hours.

This time round, along with exploring how much we're paid, he set out to uncover details about working patters, the types of contracts we use when engaging with clients, and even the number of hours we work each day.

To help make sense of his research – and to help us peg pay requirements correctly – Henley has build a handy money survey tool. Tell it whether you're freelance or employed, your location, and your skill level and it'll return a recommended day rate.

How to set your rates

Along with the money survey, Henley has two key pieces of advice for anyone worried about how much they should charge...

  • Use data to inform what you charge
  • Always charge more than you think you need

"For many people," he says, "freelancing is a choice about work and lifestyle balance so don’t punish yourself by charging too little for what you do. I'd encourage those outside the UK to run their own surveys to get a more detailed understanding of rates within their own countries."

As a designer you can also boost your earning potential by toughening up on your negotiation skills and preparing for those terrifying interview questions.

Words: Martin Cooper

Find out more about net's Money Issue here!

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