You’re absolutely right Barbara. I’ve touched on this point in Fast design vs. quick design.

But that’s not a problem specifically with hourly pricing — it’s a universal truth that transcends any pricing method.

The more experienced person who offers 5 times the value should theoretically be charging 5x more. But if the beginner charges $50/hr, how realistic is it that the experienced pro can charge $250/hr? Even if you offer tremendous value for that price, it’s too much for many people to stomach. So, in reality, there are some “ceilings” to hourly based pricing that hold back the most valuable and experienced people from earning what they deserve.

Value-based pricing solves some of that issue because the freelancer is rewarded for their time efficiency by making more profit — if they can produce the same or better result in less time. However, I would argue that the less valuable beginner is very unlikely to get total buy-in from their client for value-based pricing in the first place. In practice, it’s only the very experienced pros — who earn a lot of trust and respect — who can make value-based pricing work on these large, complex jobs where their added speed and value have the most impact.

What it really comes down to is perception of value, regardless of what pricing method you choose. The person who can do the job better and in 1/5 the time — they need to be able to demonstrate that value to the client. If they can, it doesn’t matter much what pricing method they choose. They will get adequately paid either way.

I’m a UX/UI designer from Auckland, New Zealand. Writing about freelancing & business for indie designers & creatives at

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