Final Fees



Updated September 19, 2022
Art for Money

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The very end of the proposal is a short list of the fees we haven’t addressed yet.

Day Rate and Hourly Rate

The likelihood of a client causing this project to go overtime is high, and you do not want to eat that cost. That’s why you have a day rate in your back pocket—the amount of money you require for a full day of dedicated overtime work. (If the work takes the majority of a day, you’ll charge your day rate. If it takes less, you might bill a half day.)

It should read something like: “Any services not outlined in this proposal or required after [end date here] may be commissioned from [your name here] at the rate of [day rate here] per day.”

To calculate your day rate, just divide the project fee by the number of days in the project, then add a small percentage, something like 20%. You don’t want your day rate to be so low that it incentivizes your client to avoid committing to full projects.

Unless you work solely on a day rate basis, your day rate is for special situations only.

Your hourly rate is the same, but take your day rate, divide it by 8, then add 20%. You don’t want your hourly to be so low that it incentivizes your client to avoid committing to full days.

Travel Fees

A day of travel should be billed at your regular day rate, plus expenses. Keep in mind that clients, when they send you on an all-expense paid trip to do a project for them, expect that you’ll be fully dedicated to their project while you’re there on their dime. As such, make sure that the day rate you quote is high enough to accommodate the fact that you likely won’t be able to squeeze in any other client work after-hours. If you’re the type of freelancer who’s constantly working on multiple projects at once, then paid travel days could potentially cost you money, so consider making your “travel day rate” a bit higher than your regular day rate.


To spare you a long list, I’ll just state that any expenditure that the client requires you to make on their behalf (reference samples are a common example in the design world; fill in your own as needed) should be submitted to the client in an expense report, separately from your invoice, so that the money comes back to you as reimbursement, and not as taxable pay. Pick a reasonable dollar amount ($250) and state in the proposal that any expenses over that amount will need pre-approval from the client. The client may have their own dollar amount already established for such situations as this. Go with it.

Client Contact

One last thing that often gets overlooked: name your client contact at the bottom of the proposal. This is the person to whom you report. You don’t take direction from anyone other than this person (like the late fees thing, be reasonably flexible in the spirit of partnership), especially if it’s conflicting direction. Tanya doesn’t get to take off on a 2-week vacation, leaving Brendan in charge, then return from vacation and override everything Brendan said so you can do two extra weeks of free work because of their miscommunication.

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