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How to set your price as a freelancer in 4 steps

Entrepreneurs | 24 November 2021 | Written by Jenny Bjorklof

As a future freelancer, it is not easy to fix a correct daily or hourly rate at your start. This can prove a big challenge. If you want to maintain your current lifestyle (or even improve it), it is crucial to do it right. 

How to set your price as a freelancer in 4 steps

In this blog we explain a few things on this topic.

Step 1: calculate your costs

There are many elements to take into account: your professional costs (housing), taxes, social security, insurance and expenses, such as: 

  • Travel, car or mobility costs
  • Phone and internet
  • Equipment (laptop, camera...)
  • Legal and administrative fees
  • Software subscriptions
  • Food and drinks
  • Training 
  • Marketing

You should also keep private expenses such as food, health and fitness, gifts, travel, hobbies in mind.

Step 2: determine your minimum billable amount
  • Step 2a: Calculate your billable hours. Generally, 3-4 days a week. The rest of the time you will do work that you can’t charge your client for: admin, marketing, education, …
  • Step 2b: Divide your costs with your billable hours. This is the absolute minimum you need to charge to survive. 
Step 3: determine your profit

Add what you would like to have as a profit on top of covering costs. 

Step 4: determine your final rate

Divide your costs + desired profit with your billable hours. This sum is your rate. 

In general, you should not charge less than 45 € per hour  to operate full time as a freelancer in Belgium sustainably. You might be surprised that the amount is so high. This is due to the fact that you as a freelancer pay costs and take risks the employer usually covers. E.g., if you get ill, your employer doesn’t need to pay for it.

Make a calculation with our tool

You can also compare your salary as an employee with your freelance rate or daily rate using this calculator.
However, this tool is only available in Dutch or French.

Start your calculation now
Bereken jouw tarief als freelancer

Instead of a price per hour, it’s also possible to charge per project, or by results or by a retainer. Or a combination of all these. 

The type of assignment (business impact, risk), the turnover of clients (do you serve many clients or only a few), the amount of competition (the more competition the lower the price usually), the company size (the bigger the client the bigger the budget tends to be), the sector in which you will be working, and the region also play a role in the rate. Sometimes job agencies publish barometers with average prices. 

Be sure to browse the platforms, check it out in your network, or through the Freelancers in Belgium community!