Hiring a freelance can appear as a smart choice for a lot of companies. It allows flexibility for the company and offers external expertise with a fresh eye while saving some time as well.
When it comes to creative work, hiring a freelancer can also be helpful even though many companies have doubt about its efficiency. Whether it is for creating all your visual identity from scratch or to do a special project you might ask yourself : am I going to loose a lot of time explaining my brand identity & message to someone external to my company that might not grasp my business? Are we about to go back and forth with a tons of corrections ? Am I going to end up losing time and money doing this ?
As you know visual image and identity are crucial to a company, whether it is to create a website, a landing page, a graphic chart, invites, visuals,… having an expert on your side is always a good idea. And about all the doubt you might have hiring a freelance graphic designer we’re just about to remove a big one: the freelance graphic design cost!
Giving all the advantages of hiring a freelancer you might be tempted to do it, only one major question stays unanswered: how much to pay freelance graphic designer? We will answer it in this article by first seeing the ways you an evaluate your needs and then how to budget it and finally how to compare market prices. This will give you a better outlook on the different steps in order to determine how much to pay a freelance graphic designer
How much to pay freelance graphic designer?
1/ Evaluate your need
The first step (and here it is more a preliminary step) is to evaluate your need correctly. You cannot have a realistic and precise idea of a freelance graphic design cost if you don’t even know what you are looking for. Thus you first need to list all your needs mentioning the type of project and the time it would take, the level of difficulty…
Long term or short term partnership ?
Also you need to decide if you prefer a long-term or a short-term relationship. Among other things this decision will not only impact the price, it is also a powerful tool of negotiation with your potential freelancer. Indeed many of them are willing to commit more, negotiate prices and terms of the contract if they know it is for a long-term relationship. One of the first struggle for a freelancer is to ensure a stable & regular income. Offering a long-term partnership is having something valuable to bring to the table.
Time frame & deadlines
Then to assess the time the project will take and establish precise deadlines, try to write down in the order all the steps of your project (involving all the parts). Here is an example of a company that wants to redo its entire website, adding new content, new visual identity and new customer journey. Doing the list of the project steps, we’ll have :
1/ Define precisely the new customer journey and the goal of each page
2/ Decide what will be on each page with marketing team
3/ With the web developer team review all technical issues
4/ With the graphic team create several mock-ups options
5/ With marketing team and Content manager, create the wording for each page
6/ With graphic team (or freelance) decide which design we’re going for
7/ Validate wording & design
8/ Start the pages creations
Once you have written down all the steps, you have to identify the ones that depend on each other. To stick with our example, you cannot start the pages creation without wording, or design right? Doing this you’ll have not only a more precise idea on the time frame but also a better visibility when or if you’re running late in one step of the project. You’ll be able to know what can be postponed or cannot, and better communicate with your freelancer.
Level of complexity
The level of complexity of the project is directly linked to the freelance graphic design cost as it will determine the level of experience you need and also the price the freelancer will propose to you. In fact, the length of the project as well as its difficulty is what the freelancer will take into account when it comes to announce a price. For you, defining the level of complexity will also help you refine your search criteria. Some projects will require a high level of experience, and the level of experience is a major factor of the price.
2/ Define your budget
There is a theoretical approach…
In theory, one of the key in project management is to budget everything. It will allow you to prioritize and calculate ROI, define if it is a success or not… But from a practical point of view we cannot budget everything in advance and even if we do, we might end up spending more time doing it then actually moving forward on the project. Depending on your company structure and resources, you can plan ahead a budget for each part of your project and use that as a reference when you look for your freelance graphic designer. It will give you a better outlook during your search.
… And a practical one
But if you choose not to do so (and you really can) you can rather budget roughly the whole project and start from there. Putting a number for the cost of the global project will give you more flexibility moving forward and allow you to face the contingencies. It will also give you more room and freedom when talking price with your potential freelancer.
3/ Face market reality
Average price for graphic design work
Once you’ve done your budget on your side and define your needs, it is finally time to face reality. Start your researches, compare offers and establish an objective minimum price and maximum price for what you want.
Don’t worry a lot of websites have already done that for you (especially freelancers platforms). Here is an overview of Malt data comparing average price for graphic design work according to experience (this an average price per day).
The average price on Malt for an experienced graphic designer is 381€/ day.
On Upwork, we found that the average price for graphic design work goes from $15 to $35 an hour.
Graphic design hire per hour
Once assessing the market prices, one question will quickly come in mind : How are you going to pay your freelance graphic designer ?
During your researches you’ll see that some of them rate at the hour, others per day and others even have predefined prices per type of services (logo, brochure, online banner, photo editing…).
It can seem more reassuring to go for fixed prices per services, but if you have evaluated your needs correctly, especially the time frame part, you can also have a really precise forecast and go for a graphic design hire per hour.The cost per day is mainly used by digital marketing agencies, so if you already have worked with one it can give you a good element to compare with.
The benefits of hiring a freelance graphic designer
Indeed the advantage with a freelance is that you can ask for his help only when you need it and don’t have to support the cost of a full-time employee. Also, we have to say that nowadays it is pretty easy to have access to a large choice of freelancers as there are multiple freelance platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr or even Malt, among others. The most flexible solution is to hire an online design studio. For quick design tasks, it allows you to order your designs online and have them delivered in under 48h for a really competitive price.
Hiring a freelancer also gives you the opportunity to have external expertise. In fact, for specific projects for example you might not have all the skills you need in house. Asking for help to an expert in its field can be really efficient and helps you stand out. Moreover it also gives you a fresh eye from someone who is not in your enterprise.
Efficient, stress free and time-saving
If done right hiring a freelancer also saves you precious time. Sometimes you do have the skill in-house, but not enough resources and time to do it. In this case hiring a freelancer might be the best and could relieve you and your team from an overload of work.
In a nutshell
Hiring a freelance graphic designer can really be a smart choice for your special projects. In addition of giving you access to an expert in his field with a fresh eye on your company, it is also really convenient when you lack time or resources.
As time saving as it is, it still require some preliminary work on your side, but it is all this work done upstream that will eventually save you time and therefore money.
Keep in mind that the average price for graphic design work can go from 120€ to 610€ per day and that the most commonly used method is graphic design hire per hour. The freelance graphic design cost can always be negotiated especially if you’re planning on establishing a long-term relationship with your freelancer. It will depends on the level of experience of the freelancer and the level of complexity of your demand (deadlines, difficulty, context...)
The time necessary to find your freelance is not that important thanks to platforms that put freelancers and companies in contact in order to make this task so much easier. These same platforms will also give you data and more information on how much to pay a freelance graphic designer.