Freelance Graphic and Visual Designers Spill it on Their 2015 Earnings Outlook

By: Diana Ying Posted in Austin, Pricing

We recently released the results from our Freelance Austin 2015 Pricing Survey, digging into how Austin’s freelancers are earning. Now that summer’s officially kicked in, let’s take a closer look at how our friends and colleagues doing freelance work in the Austin design industry are poised to do this year.

46 survey respondents (21%) identified themselves as part of the Designer category, which primarily includes graphic designers and Web designers, with less than 5 respondents claiming expertise in illustration. This category does not include Video / Film freelancers (more on that category later).

Most of Austin’s freelance designers have been freelancing for numerous years, with 24% reporting between five and ten years of freelance experience, and an impressive 39% who’ve honed their craft for more than ten years. Only 9% of the designers who responded to the survey were fairly new to the game, with less than a year of freelancing experience.

Amongst our local designers, 46% freelance full-time (more than 30 hours per week) and 44% work part-time. In keeping these hours, designers mostly charged in the ranges of $40 – $59 per hour (24%) and $60 – $79 per hour (36%). While 71% of designers prepare project-based quotes, 29% of the surveyed designers only use hourly billing when charging clients.

Although an overwhelming 86% of our designer respondents generated half to all of their 2014 income strictly from design, a third of them reported earning less than $10,000 last year. Tied for second position were two groups of 11%, which each earned in the $20,000 – $29,000 and $30,000 – $39,000 ranges per year. Some respondents cited difficulties in collecting payments, along with a need to learn about prospecting and marketing to the right, “honest” audience.

As with most of our freelance categories, referrals come in as the lead source of design work at 78%. And with 66% of design projects coming from within the state of Texas, our designers could considerably increase their earnings with some simple lead nurturing best practices and out-of-state marketing.

As one designer put it, “I need to work with more freelance communicators to be more informed in the community and learn to put my work out there more.” (Hint: joining Freelance Austin can help with that). We’ll be digging deeper into the numbers of our annual Pricing Survey in the months to come. Local freelancers (and anyone out to hire freelancers)  can keep an eye out here on the Austin freelancing market.
Got a question about the 2015 Pricing Survey and how it relates to your freelancing practice? Let us know what other aspects of the Pricing Survey you’d like to see us dive into at freelanceaustin@gmail.com.

Diana Ying

Diana Ying

Principal at Lionshare Partners
Diana Ying is the principal and founder of Lionshare Partners, an Austin-based consultancy specializing in B2B sales enablement and customer advocacy strategies.
Diana Ying

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