How to make more money as a freelance UI/UX designer?
$50K for a UI/UX design project?!
How can someone charge that much as a freelancer?
Clients are willing to pay even more if you know how to deliver value.
What is that? Sounds a bit abstract.
First, let’s state the main reasons why you might think charging more is impossible.
Two main reasons:
1. Your client has a small budget
2. You believe no one will pay that much for design
If the client has a small budget there is not much you can do about it. Just find clients with deeper pockets. This could be a separate topic all by itself. For now, use common sense: How can you spot a potential client with a bigger budget?
When you find them, don’t let your limiting beliefs stop you from offering something more and asking for higher compensation.
So, how do we deliver more value and get rewarded?
As designers, we are often stuck in our own design bubble and all we can think is: if I want to get higher-paying gigs I need to offer more design stuff.
But sometimes clients value other things that are not directly related to the design work.
Here is a list of a few things for which clients might be willing to pay extra:
If you create an awesome reputation for yourself, clients might want the bragging rights. They might want to tell their customers or their industry friends they are working with you. Possibly because of the quality of your work, but also because you are the most expensive, the most in-demand, or you’ve worked for a respected brand and so on.
There are clients willing to pay extra for prestige.
If you can offer a fast turnaround time that is rare in your industry, that’s an undeniable value.
There are clients willing to pay extra for speed.
If you can offer next-level access to you and your services. Personal phone number, join their Slack, office visits. If they have a lot of stakeholders that don’t like to stay in long Zoom calls. You can offer different access to you that will be more suitable for them. Also emergency access on evenings and weekends.
There are clients willing to pay extra for access.
If you can offer research services like market research, usability research, and competitor research. There are companies paying crazy money for custom research that can give them a real competitive advantage or help them solve a complex problem.
There are clients willing to pay extra for research.
You know this well. It’s one of the fun things we can do as UI/UX designers. Bringing static designs to life. Clients often need them to present to investors and get millions in funding. You can use them for user testing and also present them to potential clients.
There are clients willing to pay extra for prototyping.
This should be familiar as well. But let’s mention it just in case. User-testing and A/B testing are valuable activities essential in the growth stages of a digital product.
There are clients willing to pay extra for testing.
If you can manage a project of the client of your client, that is a huge burden off the shoulders of your client.
There are clients willing to pay extra for management.
If you can write progress reports or attend reporting meetings face-to-face or online, that’s a huge deal in the corporate world. There are people that do reports all day. And they are bosses that prefer to read reports on their own time instead of attending meetings.
There are clients willing to pay extra for reporting.
If you have access to a subject matter expert in your client’s industry that others can’t get a hold of. That’s value right there. And it could be as simple as your dad is a doctor and your client is creating software products for doctors.
There are clients willing to pay extra for expert access.
Can you hold presentations? In front of your client’s team, the management, and the board. Do design lectures, and present new product features. That’s a valuable skill that no one expects to get for free.
There are clients willing to pay extra for presentations.
Could you train a junior designer to replace someone like you that the company can not afford at the moment? Can you record a video training on how the design documentation should be used? Or create a user manual for the product you’ve designed. This is an extra value you can create.
There are clients willing to pay extra for knowledge transfer.
Can you oversee the client’s in-house team, and give creative direction or consulting. Sometimes clients have great opportunities and teams on their hands but don’t have the knowledge or creativity to execute.
You can provide that and get rewarded.
There are clients willing to pay extra for oversight.
Access to your network
You have a huge network of designers and developers. Hiring is a constant pain point for our industry. There are simply not enough people to do all that product work. You can get paid to introduce potential candidates or head-hunt them yourself from within your network.
There are clients willing to pay extra for access to your network.
You can simply get paid more by offering a fixed price to clients who value price certainty. This helps them budget their product development and reduce the number of unforeseen expenses.
There are clients willing to pay extra for price certainty.
Can you offer financial terms few service providers can? For example, your potential client is waiting on funding that will come in 60 days but they want to start work now. But no one is willing to start without a down payment or willing to wait for their payment. If you are flexible and you can afford to wait, you can command a higher price for that.
There are clients willing to pay extra for financial terms.
Can you guarantee an outcome? Get your client their first 100 users in two months or less. Can you offer a money-back guarantee? Reduce their churn rate by 5%. Should be something that could be measured. That’s the holy grail of value creation — guaranteeing results.
There are clients willing to pay the most for guarantees.
There is more. But I will stop here.
Before you go crazy and start offering any of this, a word of caution: value is subjective. For some, prototyping might be of high value but to others waste of time. Only offer something after you get a clear indication of interest.
If your prospect values only low prices, offer them to go on Fiverr.