Whether you charge by the hour, day, project or value-based, providing an estimate is an important part of the freelance process.
But this task can quickly feel overwhelming or even scary for new freelancers. The good news is that with practice, you’ll get better at creating accurate estimates. Here are five tips to help you along the way: 1. Take the Lead.
1. Take the Lead
One of the most common miscommunications between freelancers and clients is around how long the work will take. When a client gives a freelancer an estimate, they’re typically asking them to do some number of hours of work for a specific price.
This can be confusing for both parties, as it can feel like there’s some kind of strange incentive in place. Freelancers don’t want to work faster, but they also don’t want to get paid less for doing the work slower than expected. However, most experienced freelancers recommend charging by the project rather than by the hour.
This allows for a more fixed pricing approach that eliminates this strange incentive and sets clearer expectations with the client. Ultimately, it’s usually more cost-effective and reduces risk for the contractor as well. This is a great option for construction companies and project managers who need cost-estimating expertise on a project-by-project basis, but don’t need the full-time expense of hiring a full-time employee.
2. Get Specific
For many freelancers, creating estimates can be a stressful and time-consuming process. Not only do you have to worry about charging too much and scaring off a client, but you also have to make sure that your rates are fair and cover your costs.
Whether you charge hourly, fixed-price, or value-based, it’s important to start by writing down how many hours you think the project will take you, then multiplying that number by your per-hour rate. From there, you can present this amount to the client and build them confidence that your estimate is accurate.
Once you’ve created your estimate, it’s important to get it right the first time. That way, you can avoid costly mistakes that may derail your project or even cause a potential client to lose interest. Luckily, digital tools like freelance estimation services can help to reduce errors and facilitate communication between you and your clients. They can even track the progress of residential and commercial projects in real-time, so that you can provide updated estimates quickly. You’ll want to make sure that the digital estimation tool you choose is easy to use and can be integrated into your existing workflows, too.
3. Be Honest
As a freelancer, creating estimates is a crucial step in the process of winning work. This is because it tells a client how much a project will cost and allows them to compare your bid to others. However, pricing your services and creating estimates can be an intimidating task. This is because you are afraid that if you estimate too high, you will lose out on the work and be left with no clients.
The answer to this problem is simple: be honest. By being honest with your clients, you will ensure that they are receiving a quality service at a fair price. You will also help to prevent any misunderstandings later on in the project.
For example, if a client hires you to write an article and asks for a two-week turnaround time, then be sure to specify that in your estimate. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings down the road, and it will also show that you are committed to your work. This will also make the client feel confident that you can deliver a quality product in a timely manner.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
One of the biggest challenges that freelancers face is knowing how much to charge for a project. If you estimate too high, you can lose out on the project, and if you estimate too low, you’ll be left with less money than you expected.
To avoid these problems, it’s important to ask questions when necessary. This will help you ensure that you’re getting all of the information you need to make an accurate estimate.
For example, if you’re estimating a project that will involve building an app, you should ask the client what features the app should have. This will give you a better idea of how much time you’ll need to put into the project and will help you avoid any surprises down the line.
Once you have all of the information you need, it’s time to create your estimate. While you could send it in an email or in a spreadsheet, using an estimation software like Hiveage can save you time and help prevent any errors. It also lets you set expiry dates and automatically inform clients of upcoming estimates.
5. Make Sure You Have All the Information You Need
Creating professional estimates is a critical aspect of freelance work. It’s a big reason why most freelancers have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field like accounting, statistics, civil engineering, or business administration.
Whether you charge hourly, daily, weekly, or on a fixed-price basis, estimating the amount of time it will take to complete a project is essential. It will help you manage client expectations, avoid disputes about the timeline, and ultimately make sure you get paid for your services.
To make an accurate estimate, you will need to know how long it usually takes you to complete similar projects in the past. You can also find data about average hourly rates in your industry online or through a conversation with other freelancers in your area of expertise. It’s important to use this information as a benchmark and not as a way to pad your bill or undercook your estimates. This can create tension between you and a client. It can also lead to future disputes or even a canceled project. To avoid this, you should consider using an estimating software solution.