I’m A Freelance Graphic Designer & Here’s What I Earn Per Hour

Welcome to the world of freelance graphic design! 

You may be a designer who has recently opened up your own freelancing business, or maybe you’re just considering starting one. Either way, the first thing that comes to mind is how much money you can make as a graphic designer working for yourself.

Here at Freelance Design Income, we want everyone in the industry to know how much they can expect with their businesses and how long it will take before they earn what they need as an hourly wage (or annual salary). We’ve gathered data from some of the top freelancers around the web so that freelancers everywhere can get this information easily and quickly when they need it most!

Now that we have introduced ourselves, let’s jump into some quick tips that help determine your hourly rate.

A Day in My Life as a Freelance Graphic Designer
Setting freelance graphic design rates can be challenging, but considering factors such as experience, project complexity, and industry can help.
Location can also play a role in freelance graphic designer rates, with designers in major cities generally charging more.
Common pricing strategies include hourly rates, project-based pricing, and value-based pricing.
When negotiating rates, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your value and be open to discussing alternative pricing structures.
Regularly reviewing and adjusting your rates can help ensure that they remain competitive and reflective of your experience and expertise.

How To Drum Up Work

Your first task is to drum up a new business and get clients on board. You can:

  • Cold-call potential clients by phone, email them about your services and offer a free consultation.
  • Appear in person at local businesses to let them know about your offerings (and leave fliers).
  • Advertise in local papers, magazines, and online with relevant keywords. For example, if you’re a web designer, put ads for “web design services” on Google Ads or Facebook Ads so that people searching for these words will see your ad when they search online.
  • Offer pro-bono work to gain exposure and use the fact that it was pro-bono work as proof of your expertise so that when you do charge money it isn’t seen as an outlandish amount by potential clients!

If you’re considering launching your own freelance graphic design business, check out our guide on 15 things you should do to get started on the right foot and set yourself up for success.

Your Brand Experience

Your brand experience is the combination of your experience, expertise, and credibility as a graphic designer. It’s how you’re perceived by potential clients, and it’s also one of the most important factors in determining your hourly rate if not the most important.

As you build up your brand experience, you’ll find that people will begin to attribute certain personality traits to you. They may start to see you as someone trustworthy or reliable because they’ve heard good things about your work from other sources (or perhaps even directly from clients). Your client relationships can also help build up your brand experience over time as well the more repeat customers you have, the more likely it is that they’ll recommend you to their colleagues or friends.

So what if someone who hasn’t yet worked with me asks me for an estimate? How do I determine my hourly rate?

Your Competition’s Rates

Competition is a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing. It can help you determine what your clients are willing to pay and what other freelancers are charging. However, competition will also help you find out how much work there is for the kind of work that you do. The more competitive an industry is, the more people there are doing similar jobs to yours. 

This means that there will be more demand for your services than supply and thus drive up prices across the board. If you’re feeling stiffed by your current employer and want to start looking for new gigs on your terms, look into these sites first:

99Designs – This crowd-sourcing site allows graphic designers from around the world to submit their best work to clients who post contests with their required specs (such as color scheme or style). After reviewing all submissions within specified periods (usually 2 weeks), winners are awarded contracts with payment between $500-$1k per contest depending on the popularity of the design theme chosen by the client/promoter

The Number Of Years You’ve Been In Business

This is the only factor that isn’t directly related to your experience or abilities. The number of years you’ve been in business will depend on how long you’ve been freelancing, how long you’ve been in your industry and/or role, and how many years you’ve been doing this for your company (if applicable).

If it’s your first year of freelancing and everything else about your business is still new to you, it makes sense for the majority of clients not to trust the work until they learn more about who they’re hiring. After all, part of the reason people hire contractors like us is so that we can take care of some things that aren’t easy for them, and if we’re brand new at this whole thing too? That might be a little scary!

You may also find that there isn’t much competition around when starting (especially if no one knows who we are yet), which means fewer bids on our services can come into play here as well.

Learning from others’ experiences can save you a lot of time and trouble. Read about the hard lessons learned by a freelance web developer in our article on what he learned the hard way to avoid making the same mistakes.

The Type Of Business Client You’re Targeting

The type of business client you’re targeting can have a big impact on the hourly rate you charge. If your specialty is offering design services to small businesses, then it’s unlikely that large companies will be interested in working with you. 

On the other hand, if your specialty is servicing large corporations or government agencies or even just one particular huge company then smaller businesses may not appeal to you as much as they would if you were focusing on bigger projects.

If you’re targeting both small and large clients for your graphic design business, then your hourly rate should reflect this flexibility. You’ll want a lower rate for smaller clients because their projects tend to be less complex than those of larger firms (and therefore require less time), but also keep in mind that freelance designers who work with both types of businesses tend to earn more overall than those who only target one or another.

How Much Do Freelancers Make Depends On Type Of Industry

Using data from over 28,000 freelancers and designers who have worked with us on Upwork, we analyzed how much freelancers earn by experience level, industry sector, and more. Here’s what we found:

  • Freelancers make an average of $20 per hour across all industries.
  • Freelancers in the design industry make an average of $24.5 per hour working for companies (designers who work directly for clients).
  • Freelancers in the tech industry make an average of $30.5 per hour working for companies (designers who work directly for clients).

What’s Your Geographical Location?

The location you live in can have a significant impact on your freelance graphic designer’s hourly rate. The cost of living and the availability of clients will all vary depending on where you are located. 

For example, if you are an experienced freelancer working in New York City or Los Angeles, you will likely be charging more per hour than someone who lives in a small town in Ohio. This is because the client base and demand for graphic designers in these cities is much higher than it would be elsewhere as such, they’ll often pay up to get what they want!

Starting a freelance web development business while still working a full-time job can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Check out our article on how you can do it for tips and advice on how to balance the two

What Are The Design Rates In Your Area?

The average design rate in my area is about $55 per hour. That’s the equivalent of an annual salary of $110,000. The average hourly rate for designers in the United States is $36 which breaks down to $80,000 a year.

The majority of people who do this work are freelancers and have their businesses, so they don’t have employers taking taxes out of their checks like you would if you worked at a company or agency. How much money you end up making depends on how many hours you’re able to work each week and how much clients will pay for your services (or how much time it takes for clients to pay once they’ve hired you).

It’s hard to know exactly what kind of salary range designers earn until after months and years have passed because it depends on so many factors: location and experience level are just two examples that come quickly to mind!

What’s The Level Of Demand For Your Services? Will It Increase Or Decrease In The Future?

To determine your hourly rate, it’s important to consider the demand for your services. If demand is high, you can charge more, because you’ll be able to find better clients and attract more clients. On the other hand, if demand is low, then charging higher rates may not be worth your time and effort.

While we can’t predict exactly how much demand there will be in future years it depends on so many external factors like economic conditions and technology trends we do know that it will continue rising overall as long as humans are still interacting with each other in some way or another (i.e., not purely virtual).

How Complicated Is What You’re Doing?

The more complicated your design, the more experience you need to have. The more experience you have, the less likely you’ll be able to do a good job on a complicated design.

If your designs are easy and quick to create, then this isn’t an issue for you. If they’re not, then think about what makes them so hard for other people to make and use that as leverage for yourself when negotiating rates with clients.

If you’re new to freelancing in web design, you may be wondering where to start. Our guide on web design freelancing for dummies can help you navigate the world of freelancing and get your business off the ground

What’s The Cost Of Living In Your Area?

There are a lot of factors that go into calculating your hourly rate, but the amount of money you make is also influenced by your cost of living. The cost of living is the amount it costs to live in a particular area, city, or country.

Examples: Cost of Living In Your Area

The cost of living in New York City is very expensive compared to other places because there are so many people and businesses there. People have to charge more for their products and services because they have higher expenses (rents, taxes, etc.). 

It’s not fair to compare someone who lives in New York City with someone who lives in rural America; these two places aren’t comparable at all!

What Are The Typical Freelance Graphic Designer Rates Per Hour In Your Area?

The most common freelance graphic designer rates are $10-$100 per hour. You can charge these prices depending on your experience, certifications, and portfolio. If you’re just starting, it’s best to start with a lower rate until you have more work under your belt. Don’t be discouraged by this; it might take time for clients to trust that they can hire you without breaking the bank! 

It’s also important to know that there are different ways of charging your clients: some designers prefer hourly rates while others offer a flat rate for projects or jobs. Each method has its pros and cons you’ll want to think about which one works best for each project before setting prices for it

How Can You Learn How To Charge More For Design Work?

The first step to charging more for your design work is to get to know your skills and what you can do. Once you have an idea of what you’re worth, there are several ways that you can increase your hourly rate:

Ask for feedback from past clients; If they liked a certain project and found it valuable, ask them how much they would be willing to pay for another one like it in the future. This will help give you an idea of what clients value most when working with freelancers.

Do some research into what other designers are charging for similar work; There are websites like Fiverr, Upwork, 99designs, and Freelancer (just to name a few) that list rates for various services offered by freelance designers use these sites as starting points and do further research if needed!

Charge what the market will bear; Just because someone says “I need something done ASAP but I don’t have any budget available at this time” doesn’t mean we should work for free or discount our rates just because they said it was urgent… although sometimes that happens too… especially during busy seasons such as holidays where everyone wants everything yesterday

But seriously though – don’t lower yourself just because someone tells us it’s urgent or needs to be done right away without giving us any money upfront first. That being said – if after asking questions about why our client wants something done immediately without paying anything upfront first; then go ahead while asking permission from them before doing so (because then maybe they’ll change their mind later down line).

Experience is a valuable teacher, and our article on 9 lessons learned from being a freelance web developer shares insights and tips from experienced freelancers to help you build a successful business.

Final Thoughts

It’s interesting to see how much freelancers can earn per hour. The numbers might surprise you, and make you want to quit your full-time job and become a freelancer right away. However, it’s important to remember that a higher hourly rate doesn’t mean more money overall you’ll also need to account for taxes and income tax withholding (if applicable).

Freelance work is a great way of earning some extra cash while maintaining flexibility in your schedule. If you’re interested in becoming a freelancer or learning more about what it takes, check out our guide on How To Start Freelance Design Work From Home.

Further Reading

The Ultimate Guide to Freelance Graphic Design Rates: A comprehensive guide on how to set your freelance graphic design rates, including factors to consider and pricing strategies.

How Much Do Freelance Graphic Designers Make?: An in-depth analysis of freelance graphic designer rates and how they vary by experience, location, and industry.

A Beginner’s Guide to Freelance Graphic Design Rates: A helpful guide for new freelance graphic designers on how to determine their rates and negotiate with clients.


What should I consider when setting my freelance graphic design rates?

When setting your rates, you should consider factors such as your experience level, the complexity of the project, the client’s budget, and the industry you’re working in.

How do freelance graphic designer rates vary by location?

Freelance graphic designer rates can vary widely depending on location, with designers in major cities generally charging higher rates than those in smaller towns or rural areas.

What are some common pricing strategies for freelance graphic designers?

Some common pricing strategies include hourly rates, project-based pricing, and value-based pricing, which takes into account the value you’re providing to the client.

How can I negotiate my rates with clients?

When negotiating rates with clients, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your own value and to be able to explain the reasoning behind your rates. You should also be open to discussing alternative pricing structures or payment plans.

How often should I review and adjust my freelance graphic design rates?

It’s a good idea to review and adjust your rates on a regular basis, such as every six months or year, to ensure that they’re still competitive and reflective of your experience and expertise.

How Do I Get Started As A Freelance Graphic Designer?

You need to build up your portfolio and create a website to showcase your work. You can also start an online presence on social media, like Facebook or Instagram. Then, you can start pitching for jobs!

What Are The Best Places To Find Freelance Graphic Design Jobs?

Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer are great places to search for work but you should also be proactive in contacting potential clients directly by sending them samples of your work through email or even cold calling them if they’re local businesses (if they take calls). 

How Do I Get Clients To Hire Me?

It’s all about building relationships with potential clients before asking for money! If you want someone to hire or buy from you again then make sure this is someone who will work with you again because if it goes well then chances are it’ll go better next time too 🙂

How Can You Learn How To Charge More For Design Work?

The best way to learn how to charge more for design work is by doing it. Learn about your industry, find out what other designers are charging and ask around in your community or online. You’ll be surprised by how many people are willing to share their rates with you.

How Do I Know If I’m Charging Too Much?

If you are only working with clients who are willing to pay a substantial amount of money for your work, then you’re likely charging the right amount. If this is the case, then don’t worry about undercharging yourself. The client won’t mind paying more because they know that it’s worth it and that their project will be successful as a result of your skillset and experience.

How Do I Know If I’m Charging Too Little?

If you find yourself saying yes to every project that comes your way because they’re paying less than what they should be paying, then that’s probably an indication from God telling you to raise your rates. While some people might argue that lowering prices results in more customers, it’s important not to sacrifice quality just for profit especially when it comes down to budgeting for personal projects like graphic design ones!

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