How to Calculate Your Freelance Hourly Rate

Here’s the $150,000 question: what is your time really worth? If you’re a freelancer and you find this question impossible to answer, you’re not alone. Right now, thousands of Canadians are working freelance contracts, trying to figure out how much they should charge for their work.

Hourly pricing. Flat-rate pricing. Value pricing. With so many options, wouldn’t it be nice if we could give you a magic equation that would ensure your success? In a perfect world, we would simply tell you to divide the salary you want by the number of hours worked each year.

40 hours/week × 52 weeks/year = 2,080 hours
75,000 salary ÷ 2,080 hours = $36 per hour

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple; and while the math behind it makes sense, the logic behind it is all wrong. For freelancers, there are many other considerations to make above and beyond billable hours. You’ll have business expenses, taxes, benefits, etc. You won’t be able to bill every hour: you’ll be pitching, networking and spending time on admin tasks too. And there’s a big difference between that gross number (your total sales before any deductions) and a net number (the amount you take home after all the adjustments have been made).

While there’s no exact science to come up with your magic number, we can outline some steps to help you get there:

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