Tech Industry: Tips for Competitive Design Rates
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


When you're riding the tech industry wave as a designer, setting your rates can feel like solving a complex puzzle. But worry not! This blog is here to equip you with practical, down-to-earth tips on how to set rates for design in technology. So let's dive straight in!

Analyze the Market

To set rates that are competitive, you first need to know what the competition is. In the tech industry, design rates can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors. We're talking about the type of project, the client's budget, the market demand, and even the location. So it's time to put on your detective hat, and start investigating the market.

  • Look at the competition: Start by researching what other tech designers are charging. This will give you a ballpark figure of the going rates for different types of design work in the tech industry. Remember though, you're not trying to undercut everyone — you want to set fair, competitive rates that reflect the value of your work.
  • Understand the clients: Next, think about who your clients are. Are they startups, mid-size companies, or big tech corporations? Each will have different expectations and budgets. Understanding your client base will help you set rates that they're willing and able to pay.
  • Consider the project type: Not all design work is created equal. For example, designing a simple logo may take less time and effort than creating an entire website layout. So, your rates should reflect the complexity and size of the project.
  • Think about location: Last but not least, consider where you and your clients are based. Tech hubs like San Francisco or New York may command higher rates than smaller towns or cities. If you're working with international clients, think about exchange rates and cost of living differences too.

By taking the time to analyze the market, you're laying a solid foundation for setting your design rates in the tech industry. It's all about knowing your worth and making sure your rates reflect that.

Evaluate Your Experience and Skills

Now that you have a good understanding of the market, it's time for some self-reflection. What are your skills and experience worth in the tech industry? This is a key question when figuring out how to set rates for design in technology.

  • Assess your experience: How many years have you been working in the tech industry? Have you worked on similar projects before? The more experience you have, the more confident you can be in charging higher rates. But remember, it's not just about quantity — it's about the quality of your experience too.
  • Consider your skills: What specific skills do you bring to the table? Maybe you're an expert in user interface design, or you're known for your exceptional typography. Or perhaps you're a master of a particular design tool, like Adobe XD or Sketch. Whatever your unique skills are, make sure they're reflected in your rates.
  • Look at your portfolio: Your portfolio is a showcase of your best work. It's what convinces clients to hire you. So take a good look at your portfolio — does it demonstrate your ability to deliver high-quality design work in the tech industry? If yes, then don't be shy to charge rates that reflect this.
  • Think about your reputation: Last but not least, consider your reputation in the industry. Have you received positive testimonials from past clients? Have you won any design awards? A strong reputation can justify higher rates, so don't forget to factor this in.

Evaluating your skills and experience isn't about boosting your ego — it's about understanding the value you offer to your clients. And that's what setting competitive design rates in the tech industry is all about.

Set Competitive Rates

Now that you have a clear understanding of your skills and experience, you're ready to set your rates. But remember, setting rates for design in technology isn't just pulling numbers out of a hat—it's a strategic process.

  • Start with a baseline: Consider the current market rate for similar services, coupled with your own skill and experience level. This will give you a good starting point.
  • Factor in your costs: Remember, your rate is not just about making a profit. It's also about covering your expenses. So whether it's the cost of design tools, continuous learning, or even the electricity bill, don't forget to factor in your costs.
  • Consider the value you provide: If you're delivering high-quality work that brings significant value to your clients, then your rates should reflect that. Don't undervalue your work. Remember, clients aren't just paying for your time—they're paying for the results you deliver.
  • Add a profit margin: And of course, let's not forget about profit. After all, you're running a business. So make sure to add a profit margin to your rates. This will ensure you're not just breaking even, but also making a decent income.

Setting competitive rates is a careful balancing act. You want to price your services fairly for both you and your clients. But with careful consideration and a bit of strategic thinking, you'll be able to set rates that reflect your worth and keep you competitive in the tech industry.

Justify Your Rates

Setting your rates is only the first half of the battle. The next step is justifying them to your clients. But how do you do that?

  • Showcase Your Portfolio: Your portfolio is a testament to your skills. It shows potential clients what you're capable of and helps justify your rates. So always keep it updated with your best work.
  • Explain Your Process: The process you use to complete a project is as important as the final result. Whether it's the initial consultation, the brainstorming sessions, or the countless revisions, explain how each step adds value to the project. This will help clients understand where their money goes.
  • Highlight Your Unique Value Proposition: What sets you apart from your competitors? Maybe it's your years of experience, or perhaps it's your ability to deliver projects on time, every time. Highlight your unique value proposition to show clients why you're worth the rates you charge.
  • Communicate the ROI: Ultimately, clients want to know that they're getting a return on their investment. So, can you demonstrate how your design skills can increase their sales, boost their brand visibility, or improve their user experience? If you can show clients the value they're getting in return, they'll be more willing to invest in your services.

Justifying your rates may seem tough at first. But remember, you're not just selling a service, you're selling a solution. If you can effectively communicate the value you bring to the table, clients will be more likely to see your rates as an investment, not an expense.

Communicate Your Value

Once you've set and justified your rates, the next step is to effectively communicate your value. However, this is often easier said than done. So how can you convey the value of your design work in the tech industry?

  • Speak the Client's Language: Not everyone is tech-savvy. So, when talking to clients, use simple, clear language to explain your work. Avoid jargon unless you're sure the client understands it. Remember, if a client doesn't understand what you're offering, they're less likely to see its value.
  • Align Your Work with Their Goals: Every client has unique goals. Maybe they want to increase their website traffic, or perhaps they're looking to improve their app's user interface. Whatever their goals, show them how your design work can help them achieve these objectives.
  • Present Case Studies: Case studies are powerful tools for demonstrating value. They show potential clients how you've helped others achieve their goals. If you can show a client a successful project you've completed for a business similar to theirs, they'll be more likely to see the value in what you offer.
  • Be Transparent: Transparency builds trust. If you're upfront about your pricing, processes, and what the client can expect, they're more likely to see the value in your services. So, don't hide anything. Be open and honest from the start.

Communicating your value is an ongoing process. It's not something you do once and then forget about. It requires consistent effort and a commitment to understanding your clients and their needs. But if done right, it can make all the difference in how clients perceive your rates.

Offer Tiered Pricing

When asking yourself "how to set rates for design in technology?", consider offering tiered pricing. This is a strategy in which you present your services at various price points to cater to different budget and needs.

  • Basic Tier: This is your entry-level option. It should include the minimum services necessary to satisfy a client's needs. With a lower price point, this tier is a good fit for those just starting out or with smaller budgets.
  • Intermediate Tier: This tier includes everything in the basic tier, along with additional services. It's priced higher and suited for clients who need a little more but aren't quite ready for your top offering.
  • Premium Tier: This is your top-of-the-line offering. It includes all your services at the highest level. With a premium price, this tier is designed for clients who want the best and are willing to pay for it.

By offering tiered pricing, you give your clients options. It allows them to choose the level of service that works best for their budget and needs. Plus, it shows your flexibility and understanding of different client needs, which can strengthen your relationship with them.

Remember, the goal isn't to get every client to choose the premium tier. Instead, it's about offering value at every level and ensuring that each client feels they're getting their money's worth, no matter which tier they choose.

Be Flexible with Your Rates

While setting competitive rates for design in technology, it's important to remember that flexibility is key. The tech industry is dynamic and ever-changing, meaning your rates should be as well. You don't want to become stagnant in a field that's constantly evolving.

Think of your pricing as a framework rather than a fixed structure. Sure, you've done your homework and set up a tiered pricing system, but there will always be unique projects that won't fit neatly into one of your tiers. For these, you need to have the ability to adapt.

For example, let's say you land a project from a start-up with a great vision but a tight budget. Instead of turning them away or forcing them into a tier they can't afford, consider offering a custom quote. This strategy shows potential clients that you're willing to work with them and their specific needs, which can help build long-term relationships.

However, be mindful of not underselling your services. Flexibility doesn't mean you have to accept every offer that comes your way. Always remember your worth and the value you bring to the table. Clients who understand and respect this are the ones you want to work with.

Review and Adjust Your Rates Periodically

Setting rates for design in technology isn't a 'set it and forget it' kind of deal. You can't just set your rates once and expect them to remain competitive forever. The tech industry is constantly changing, and so should your rates.

Make it a habit to review your rates periodically. This doesn't mean you need to change them every time, but you should at least take a look at the current market conditions. Are you still competitive? Are you charging enough for the value you provide? These are the questions you should be asking yourself.

Additionally, consider the feedback you've received from clients. If you're consistently hearing that your rates are too high, it may be time to reassess. On the other hand, if you're swamped with projects and clients are willing to wait for your availability, it could be an indicator that you could raise your rates.

Remember, adjusting your rates is not just about reacting to the market. It's also about recognizing the growth in your skills and experience. As you become more adept at what you do, your rates should reflect that.

So, how often should you review your rates? There's no hard and fast rule, but a good starting point could be every six months to a year. Remember, the goal is to ensure that you're adequately compensated for your work while remaining competitive in the tech design industry.

If you're looking to stay competitive in the tech industry and want to learn more about establishing a solid pricing structure for your design services, don't miss Olivia Ghalioungui's workshop, 'How to Price Yourself as a Creative.' This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and help you navigate the competitive landscape of design rates in the tech industry.