How to Price Yourself as a Freelancer in the Philippines

Written by
Lou Zarcal
Published on
September 18, 2023
How to Price Yourself as a Freelancer in the Philippines

Pricing yourself as a freelancer in the Philippines can be a tricky endeavor. Set your rates too low, and you risk undervaluing your skills and struggling to make ends meet. Set them too high, and you might scare away potential clients. Finding that sweet spot requires a strategic approach that takes various factors into account. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to price yourself effectively as a freelancer in the Philippines.

1. Conduct Market Research

The first step in setting your freelance rates is to research the market. Look at what other freelancers in your niche are charging. Pay attention to both high and low-end rates. This will give you a sense of the price range that clients in the Philippines are willing to pay for your services.

For example, research freelancers in your niche (e.g., graphic design, web development) on popular freelancing platforms like Upwork or Freelancer. If similar freelancers are charging between $15 to $30 per hour for their services, this can give you a range to consider.

2. Identify Your Niche

Different freelancers have different skill sets and specialties. Identify your niche and assess the demand for your services within that niche. Specialized skills often command higher rates, so it's essential to leverage your unique strengths.

3. Consider the Cost of Living

The cost of living can vary significantly in different regions of the Philippines. Consider the cost of basic necessities in your area to ensure that your rates cover your living expenses. If you're in a high-cost area, you may need to charge more to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

If you live in a city like Manila, where the cost of living is higher, you might aim for hourly rates of $20 to $40, whereas if you reside in a less expensive area, rates between $15 to $30 per hour may be more appropriate.

4. Account for Business Expenses

Freelancers often forget to account for business expenses like software subscriptions, internet bills, and marketing costs. Make a list of all your business-related expenses and factor them into your pricing structure.

Let’s say you spend $100 per month on software subscriptions and $50 on internet bills for your freelance work, make sure to include these costs when determining your hourly or project-based rates.

5. Evaluate Your Skill and Experience

Your skill level and experience also play a significant role in determining your rates. As you gain more expertise and build a strong portfolio, you can gradually increase your prices. Don't be afraid to charge more as you become more proficient in your field.

6. Project Complexity

Not all freelance projects are created equal. Some may be straightforward, while others are complex and time-consuming. Consider the complexity of each project when quoting a price. More challenging projects should naturally command higher rates.

7. Choose the Right Pricing Model

There are various pricing models you can adopt as a freelancer:

  • Hourly Rates: Charging by the hour is common, but it requires you to track your time meticulously. Calculate your hourly rate by dividing your desired annual income by the number of billable hours in a year.
  • Project-Based Pricing: This involves quoting a fixed fee for the entire project. Make sure to define the scope of work clearly in your contract to avoid scope creep.
  • Value-Based Pricing: Set your rates based on the value you provide to your clients. If your work results in significant gains or savings for your clients, you can justify higher prices.

If you're a content writer, you might charge $30 per hour for blog writing, but for a 1,000-word blog post, you quote a fixed project rate of $150. For more extensive projects like ebooks, you might adopt a value-based pricing model, charging $500 based on the value of the content to the client.

8. Negotiation Strategies

Be prepared to negotiate with clients, especially when they have budget constraints. It's essential to communicate the value you bring to the table and be flexible when necessary. However, avoid compromising to the point where you're not adequately compensated for your skills and time.

A client with a limited budget offers $15 per hour for your graphic design services. You can negotiate by explaining that your expertise and past results justify a rate of $25 per hour. If they are unwilling to increase the rate, consider adjusting the project scope to accommodate their budget.

9. Invoicing and Payment Methods

Choose invoicing software that suits your needs and offers a professional look for your invoices. Consider offering multiple payment options to make it convenient for clients to pay you.

Utilize online payment platforms like PayPal or Parallax to receive your earnings. This way, you can transfer your USD to GCash or PayMaya.

10. Adjust Your Rates Over Time

Your freelance rates are not set in stone. As you gain experience and build your reputation, you can and should adjust your rates accordingly. Periodically review your pricing strategy and make changes when necessary.

After a year of successful freelancing and positive client feedback, you may decide to raise your rates by 10% to 20%. For instance, if you were charging $20 per hour, you can increase it to $22 or $24 per hour.

Pricing yourself as a freelancer in the Philippines is a balancing act. It requires careful consideration of your skills, market conditions, and cost of living. By conducting thorough research and adopting a strategic approach to pricing, you can ensure that your rates reflect your worth and contribute to your long-term success as a freelancer in the Philippines.

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