Spilling our guts on pricing

Valuable knowledge for freelancers, solo-preneurs, design studio / agency founders and managers. We’re sharing the ‘how-to’s’ of pricing from computing your ‘real’ hourly rate to value pricing. And what kind of profits you should be expecting.


In the video we use the Design Ladder to explain how clients accept different levels of pricing and the services that will gain higher prices. Here’s a few resources from the video.

The Design Ladder used to analyse services at each level and what clients will pay.

The Design Ladder with prompts to work out what level clients are on.

Useful links

The whole idea of selling design value has been widely explored. Here’s some useful links.

The four steps to measure the benefit of design

Understanding how mature clients are in their use of design.

Further reading

A good article on how design thinking has been used to gain value for clients.

An article that explains how design adds value.

A pdf report by McKinsey on the business value of design.

Action plan

This is your action plan after watching the video

Pricing and business models

  • Where do you fit in the continuum from craft to consultant?
  • Are you cost driven or value driven?

Analysing clients and pricing

  • Looking at the design ladder classify your top five clients by the position the fit on the ladder Use Design Ladder with prompts pdf from above.

Pricing and budgets

  • Prepare a budget and work out your hourly cost rate.
  • Examine how this fits with what you are charging your top five clients.

Pricing and the value stack

  • With your top five clients work out where you think you can add value for them. Use the design value chain to look at all aspects of their business.

Applying a pricing model

  • Having worked out where your top five clients sit on the design ladder develop a pricing structure for each of them.