Pricing Design by Dan Mall is an A Book Apart book about pricing design projects as an outside designer (or developer or, really, any type of consulting or service provider — but specifically as a web designer). It’s well written and concise — just on the verge of being too concise.
Pricing Design is specifically labeled as a “brief” on its book page. They explain,
"Briefs are ebook-only guides to essential fundamentals, of-the-moment techniques, or deep nerdery on a single aspect of a topic. Whatever the book, you’re only a quick break away from learning vital, practical know-how.”
Pricing Design has four chapters:
In the book, Mall promotes value-based pricing. Mall feels designers tend to rely on a time-based pricing method because it's simple — simple to determine, to explain to a prospective client, and to compare against competitors.
But he thinks it's too simple. He argues that charging an hourly rate:
If done well, Mall feels, value-based pricing can skirt a lot of these problems. Value-based pricing is an attempt to quantify and charge for whatever value you’re providing to a customer, as well as whatever value that you’re giving up. Its advantages over a time-based, market-rate price includes:
In the book, Mall provides a walk-through example of how he would price-out a project for a customer. He also describes a quick exercise to help designers arrive at their price floor for a given project. He encourages you to imagine what item you would trade directly for completing the project. For instance, you might not be willing to do the work for a new iPhone, but perhaps you'd do it if it meant you could remodel your bathroom.
After reading Pricing Design, I did not suddenly feel like an expert in pricing theory, but I do feel the book provides enough information to serve as a framework for using value-based pricing in freelance projects. Although the book is written "for people who make websites," I think it could be useful for any service provider.