A Freelancer’s Guide to Giving an Estimate


You just got the big news, you get to bid on a major project as a freelancer. Congratulations! This is a huge opportunity, but also a daunting one. On one side, you don’t want to bid too high and miss out on work. On the other, you don’t want to bid too low and end up working for way too little. As a freelancer, you have to come up with a system to give a proper estimate. This is something that can take some time to learn but you can always fine tune.

To be successful at this, you have to understand the project as intimately as possible. Moreover, you have to understand your own goals as well. Prior to getting to this point it’s necessary to have an annual revenue goal in mind. That makes it easier to determine your minimum rate. If you know you can’t beat a competitor’s price, then pass. Don’t work for less than what you’re worth. With these pieces of data in mind, you can then move on to understanding the time commitment, profit margin and any non-financial benefits. Luckily, there are freelancers who have been giving estimates for a long time. They essentially have it down to a science. That’s why¬†Andrew Blackman decided to share his process over on tuts+. Seasoned freelancers know how tough this process can be which is why Andrew was generous enough to share his method.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that this is something that will develop over time. In other words, it’s going to need some tweaking as you become more experienced. So don’t get discouraged when you don’t nail your estimate process the first time, no one does. But if you follow Andrew’s guide, you’ll get to skip a lot of the mistakes first-time freelancers make. So good news, you’re already ahead of the field.

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