Your Complete Guide to Setting Freelance Marketing Consultant Rates

Your Complete Guide to Setting Freelance Marketing Consultant Rates Setting your freelance marketing consultant rates is not a simple task. In fact, it can be as confusing as being asked, “How much salary do you expect to earn?” by an interviewer. Asking for too much puts you at risk of losing a great opportunity. But asking for too little robs you of the value you’re absolutely entitled to for your work and expertise. So how do you find the middle ground between the two extremes? How do you determine exactly how much to charge for marketing consulting? Here’s a guide you can use to come up with your own fair (to your client and to yourself) freelance marketing consultant rates.

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Your Complete Guide to Setting Freelance Marketing Consultant Rates

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Research Market Rates for Your Services

Since there’s no crystal ball that’ll tell you exactly how much to charge for marketing consulting, the best thing to do is to compare. And there’s no better place to do that than online.

1. Find Salary Research Reports Online

There are websites that give you access to salary research reports you can study to help you determine your freelance marketing consultant rates. For example, there’s PayScale is used by both employers and job seekers. As a freelancer, you can use it to find information on how much people in your field are earning for their services. Getting a salary research report on PayScale is simple.
  1. Log in using your username and password (if you don’t have an account, you can log in through Facebook).
  2. In the search field marked “search salaries” at the top right of the page, type in “marketing consultant.”
  3. You will then get a market range of how much consultants are earning today. Here’s what it looks like:
Average Marketing Consultant Salary: $59,750

2. Assess How Much Someone with Your Experience Level Can Charge

This step can also be done on PayScale. Here’s how.
  1. Go to your PayScale dashboard and click I am an individual.
  2. You’ll be asked if you’re an employer, a job seeker, or just an individual exploring current rates. Click exploring.
  3. PayScale will then ask you a series of questions. You’ll give details related to your working experience, education, location, and more.
  4. After you’ve filled in all your details, you’ll get a customized report. It’ll look something like this:
Marketing Consultant Market Range

Setting Your Own Rules

As you’ve noticed from the above reports, there’s still a huge dollar gap your proposed freelance marketing rates have to fit into. How do you pick the exact freelance marketing rates to charge for each project?

1. Determine How Much You Need to Earn per Year (Costs and Overhead)

Step one is coming up with the fixed amount you need per year. Take out a pen and paper (or open your go-to computer program) and make a list of your expenses.[1]
  1. List down monthly expenses like mortgages, insurance, car payments, energy bills, and grocery items.
  2. List down recurring expenses like dental appointments, medical checkups, and car maintenance.
  3. Put in a category for emergencies and unexpected expenses.
Add up the amount. What you get is the basic yearly amount you absolutely need to earn.

2. Determine How Much You’d Like to Earn per Year

After you’ve listed all the necessities, it’s time to go for “luxuries.” These are expenses that’ll make your life pleasurable and worthwhile. Some of them include:
  • Family trips
  • New gadgets
  • Designer clothing, bags, and shoes
  • Gym membership
  • Books and educational items
No two people will come up with the same list. It boils down to your interests and passions and what money can do to make your life healthier, more inspiring, and more enjoyable. After you’ve come up with a list, write the estimated amount you’ll spend on each item. Add everything up and add it to your main list. The sum you come up with is your yearly earning goal.

3. Determine How Many Hours You’ll Need to Work vs. Would Like to Work to Meet Your Goals

Your earning goals aren’t the only determiners of how much your fees should be. You also need to consider the kind of lifestyle you want to have. Here’s how.

1. Find out How Much You Need to Earn per Week.

For example, you need to earn $65,000 a year. Divide that into 52 weeks. That’s $1,250 a week.

2. Estimate How Long It Will Take You to Finish a Project

Let’s say you have a project that’ll take you 40 hours to complete. If you charge $1,250 for this project, you’ll be working around eight hours a day from Monday to Friday. However, maybe you don’t want to work a 40-hour week. There’s a reason you’ve decided to become a freelancer, and maybe it’s because you want to spend more time with your family. If this is so, you can charge double for the project and complete it over two weeks. The result? You’ll only be working four hours a day. That’s more time spent doing other things you love to do.

Decide Whether You’ll Charge per Hour or Per Project

Deciding whether you’ll charge freelance marketing consultant rates per hour or per project can be tough. What it boils down to is exploring the pros and cons of each and then deciding what will work for you.

1. The Pros and Cons of Charging Freelance Marketing Consultant Rates per Hour

Pro: Charging per hour is a good idea if your project requires a huge amount of work with considerably small output. For example, you’re asked to determine a business’s marketing message. Although the output will only be a few sentences, you need to spend hours researching and brainstorming. In this case, charging per hour is more beneficial than charging per project. Pro:
  • You get to earn a fair amount even if the project changes. Some types of projects change with time. With these projects, charging per hour protects you against doing too much work for a pre-set price.
  • You earn less. For example, let’s say you’re a fast worker and can complete a $400 project in four hours. This means you’ll be earning $100/hour on the project! It’s hard to find a client who’ll pay that much per hour.
  • You tend to become less efficient with your time. Since you’re paid per hour, you slow down on your work. Professionally, this will do you harm in the long run.
Pros and Cons of Charging Per Hour for Freelance Marketers

2. The Pros and Cons of Charging Freelance Marketing Consultant Rates per Project

For many freelancers, charging per project is more appealing than charging per hour. Still, looking at the pros and cons will help you determine what’s best for you. Pros:
  • When you charge per project, you enjoy more freedom with your time. Imagine you’re given a project that’s due in a week’s time. If you can complete the project in a day, you have six free days to do what you want. On the other hand, charging per hour will have you hard at work every day of the week.
  • Experience will improve your speed. As you take on more projects, you will find yourself working faster and faster. This grows your earning potential for the future.
  • You can earn more by helping clients get over the psychological hurdle of paying per hour. Here’s an example:
Perception of value between hourly rates and per-project rates Cons:
  • You won’t earn for revisions. If the client is unhappy with part of your work, you’ll have to change it without extra charge.
  • You can sell yourself short on complex projects. If you don’t know exactly how much work a project will take, you can earn less if you make the wrong estimate.
Pros and Cons of Project-Based Pricing for Freelance Marketers

3. How to Determine Which is Best for You

There’s a heated debate going on about whether charging per project is better than charging per hour. But you don’t need to get into it. For you, it boils down to what projects you’ll take on and how you work.
  • Consider the type of project you’re taking on. If it is complex and you don’t know how long it’ll take you to finish, charge per hour.
  • Consider the type of worker you are. If you work quickly, have years of experience, and get better with time, charge per project.

Setting Your Freelance Marketing Consultant Rates with Confidence

Setting your freelance marketing rates isn’t easy. However, when you determine the kind of earning you want and what type of worker you are, you can set your rates with more confidence.
About the Author

Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and author. She builds great marketing that will last and stand the tests of time. Her expertise is in how to earn audience trust and grow a brand that lasts through powerful inbound content marketing. Julia started her career as a freelance writer and quickly realized the demand for high-quality content in the digital marketing industry. With a passion for helping businesses succeed through effective content strategies, she created Express Writers in 2011. Express Writers was a resounding success and Julia sold the company in 2021 for seven figures. Julia currently works at Content at Scale as the VP of marketing. Content at Scale is a revolutionary company that helps people navigate the new world of artificial intelligence in SEO-focused content marketing without losing quality. Julia is a frequent speaker and author on the topic of content marketing. She is also the author of multiple best-selling books. She has been featured in several industry publications and is a regular contributor to the Content Marketing Institute. Julia is also the host of the "Write Podcast," a show that features interviews with successful writers and content creators.