Wondering how to set your freelance trainer daily rate for the UK market?
In my last blog, I talked broadly about how to set corporate training rates that you feel confident about. Although I personally lean towards value- rather than time-based pricing, I understand that many client businesses feel comfortable talking in terms of day rates, making this a number you’re keen to pinpoint.
Today, I want to look at some of the tools and approaches you can use to set a day rate.
What was your salary in full-time employment?
Many trainers who’ve been employed full-time before going freelance start with their previous salary but add a further 10% to cover additional expenses such as sick leave, a pension, insurance and other business costs. This gives them a target annual income for their business.
For example, if you earned £30,000 while employed, you might aim to earn £33,000 per year as a freelance trainer.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, you won’t be working 365 days a year. A safer estimation is around 200 days.
If we divide an annual income of £33,000 by 200, you land on a day rate of around £165. This is your starting point (and a pretty low one at that).
Based on experience, I think adding 10% to your previous or target salary is aiming far too low. You need to budget for marketing, advertising, overheads, hardware and software, travel, networking, etc.
Many freelance experts recommend adding 30% to your annual basic target salary instead. That’s probably more realistic.
If we use the £30,000 example from above (£30,000 + 30% = £39,000 divided by 200), this would bring your day rate to £190.
Work back from an overall target
Of course, you don’t need to base your freelance income goals on a previous salary.
Many people work out what they need to earn to cover their business and personal outgoings, plus an additional income for holidays, entertainment, home improvements, etc. and then calculate their day rate by dividing it by how many billable days they want to work.
Whichever approach you take, how does your potential day rate compare to the rates other trainers are successfully charging?
What freelance day rates are typical for your industry?
It’s important that you don’t set your day rate too low. Not only does it devalue your own knowledge and expertise but it can also attract clients who are just shopping on price.
It’s also not fair to bring down rates across your field/industry, making it harder for other trainers to charge what they’re worth.
When I was researching the corporate training rates blog, I found that IT trainers were paid an average of £403 a day between March and November 2019. Another source put the figure around £325 per day.
On the findcourses.co.uk website, data from 2015 showed that communication skills training day rates averaged £424, while finance training day rates averaged £721. Four years later, it’s likely that these averages have increased.
Crunch offers a very basic freelance day rate calculator, which gives average regional day rates regardless of the freelancer’s role. This says that the average day rate nationally in the UK for the first quarter of 2019 was £353.
The National Union of Journalists currently puts technology training, e.g. software such as Photoshop, in the region of £500 per day.
I found these figures after just a few minutes on Google. It’s certainly worth doing a bit of research to test whether the marketplace can support the day rate you’re proposing.
The good news from my initial search is that day rates seem to be higher than the £190 from our example above.
Tap into your network
As well as Google, your network may be able to help you settle on the best daily rate.
Do you have any friends, previous colleagues, networking contacts or trusted clients who would be willing to talk rates with you?
Their insights can help you determine whether you’re on the right track.
Don’t ignore your value
As I’ve said before though, try not to get too bogged down by what everyone else is charging. Your location, experience, skills, approach and knowledge will all influence your rates.
As you pick up more clients and build your reputation, think about increasing your day rate to reflect what you bring to the table.
Each of the industry day rates mentioned earlier in this article are average rates so, trust me, there are people out there charging more. If you know your stuff, you deserve to be one of them.
The most important thing is that you can live comfortably on what you earn, have room for personal and professional growth, and feel that you are being fairly paid for the training you deliver.
Freelance rate calculators
If you need some help, there are some great free tools out there to help you calculate your freelance trainer daily rate in the UK:
- Freelance Solutions day rate calculator – factor in your proposed day rate, expenses, holiday and sick days, and non-billable time to work out your potential income before and after tax
- Microbusiness Hub hourly rate calculator – use as a basis for your day rate; takes into account all of your expenses, desired income, holidays, billable hours, etc.
- Your Rate calculator – takes into account your desired income, billable weekly hours and weeks worked per year to give you a day and hourly rate
- Reuben Sinclair day rate calculator – enter your desired annual income and this basic calculator will give you a suggested day rate
- BeeWits hourly rate calculator – enter your current income and how much you’d like to increase it by next year as well as a breakdown of your outgoings and BeeWits will give you your ideal hourly rate, which you can use to create a day rate
Which do you feel most comfortable with – a day rate, hourly rate or per project? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this sometimes tricky topic. Do you feel confident your freelance trainer daily rate for the UK market? How did you settle on your current rates? It would be great to find out more and to keep the conversation going.