salary as a freelancer
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By 7.7 min readLast Updated: 17. January 2024

Get control of your salary as a freelancer

As a freelancer, you are actively involved in your salary. Your freelancer salary does not just roll into the salary account as a fixed transfer from the boss. You must set the right hourly or project price for each new customer yourself and consider all costs – including the hidden ones that are easy to forget. 

Salary calculation as self-employed Freelancing can be a tricky business, but don't worry, we've got your back. We have put together a guide that makes you more aware of your salary as a freelancer. We show you the pitfalls and help you set a realistic price for your work, which ensures that you can make a living from what you love to do.

From permanent employee to freelancer

If you come from a permanent job and start out as a freelancer, there are a few things you'd better be sharp about from the start.

Many become freelancers in the industry they already work in. It can make a lot of sense if the industry is suitable for freelancing. But be careful if you step on a former employer's toes by making competing company. It usually doesn't pay to get into a fight about this sort of thing.

Perhaps you are considering taking on your old employer as a customer in your freelance biks. It is also an obvious possibility if the tasks match. You know the hustle and bustle of the workplace and can easily solve a few familiar tasks - now as a freelancer.

Here you must ensure that you get a new contract for the freelance hours - not only because the salary needs to be adjusted, but because your new role in the workplace must be able to is approved by SKAT as a freelance relationship. Otherwise, you risk having to pay tax as an employee, which can be an expensive affair.

So rule #1: Get control of yours freelance contract.

create free user

Invoices without own CVR no.

Use Factofly to get paid without your own CVR number, and have automatic control over all employment conditions.

create free user

How much does a freelancer earn?

Then we come to that freelancer salary. Because how much do you actually earn as a freelancer? There are several factors that come into play here.

Are you a full-time or part-time freelancer? There is a big difference between whether you have to live off your income as a freelancer or whether it is a supplement to a fixed salary. If you want to live off your freelancer's salary, you must have all the hidden costs included in your price.

However, you do not necessarily have to be cheaper just because you are a part-time freelancer. Your price must, of course, reflect your skills and the results you can thereby deliver. If you are an expert in your field, you can of course allow yourself to charge more for your services than if you are a beginner. 

As a full-time freelancer, you must see yourself as an employee, employer and company in one person. You must have it all running around and this must be reflected in your price - even if you are new to the arena.

Salary as a copywriter

The copywriting industry is a good example of an industry where prices vary enormously. With a single Google search, you can easily find companies that specialize in very cheap texts down to 16 øre per word. At the other end of the scale, you can at one skilled copywriter few professional quality texts to a minimum of DKK 800 per hour. The cheap text agencies have their merits as long as they don't promise more than they can keep. But it also makes copywriting a bit of a cowboy business. If you want serious grown-up money for your text work, you must be able to prove that what you deliver has the desired effect. 

Salary as a journalist

If you are a trained journalist, you have slightly more regulated conditions behind you. According to Danish Association of Journalists the indicative hourly price for ordinary journalistic freelance work is at least DKK 946 in 2022. If the journalistic product requires specialist knowledge, the indicative hourly price is at least DKK 1,326. 

Does that sound like a high hourly rate? Not when you count all expenses as self-employed. 

What costs should I be aware of as a freelancer?

As ordinary wage earners, we get a lot of benefits thrown at us. It can be office space, internet connection, insurance, pension or holiday with pay. As a freelancer, you must cover all expenses yourself. 

In addition, you must consider hidden working hours. Because unfortunately you cannot invoice all the hours you work. If you think through your day, there are plenty of time wasters such as bookkeeping and bidding. Some of the hidden working hours can probably be distributed among customers, but the time wasters must also be factored into your price if you want to make a living from it.

Examples of hidden costs as a freelancer:

  • Insurance
  • Pension
  • Holiday
  • Office space
  • Internet
  • Website operation
  • Various licenses
  • Advertising expenses
  • Materials
  • Driving expenses
  • Bookkeeping
  • Tendering
  • Customer meetings
Send your first invoice through Factofly

Get paid without your own company

Factofly lets you invoice without your own company, and handles all administration so you can focus on your business.

Send your first invoice through Factofly

How many hours can you actually bill as a freelancer?

This one can be a bit deceiving. How much can you actually invoice? It can look very different from industry to industry.

There are a few important factors that affect how many hours you can invest in invoicing. You have to deduct some of your hidden work hours. The time you spend on your accounts or on marketing your business, you cannot write on the bill to the customer. As a copywriter, you also cannot write effectively for 7.4 hours straight. The brain needs breaks in between so that new oxygen comes to the words. 

A rule of thumb is 60-70% billable hours. Some may invoice a little less and others a little more.

Do you need help with invoicing? Check out our invoice guide, which tells you everything you need to know, when you want to create an invoice.

What should I take in class as a freelancer?

So what should you take in class? Imagine if it were simple to answer. 

If you need a rule of thumb that you can use in most industries to calculate a reasonable independent consultant salary, try it here:

As a rule of thumb, your hourly rate as a freelancer should be 2.5 times the average hourly wage that a permanent employee in the same industry would earn.

We can take an IT consultant as an example with one average salary of DKK 40,000. 

A permanent IT consultant earns DKK 40,000 divided by 160 hours per month = approx. DKK 250 per hour. As a freelancer in the same industry, you must therefore not take less than 2.5 times DKK 250 = DKK 625 per hour.

To find your price can do two things:

  1. Use our hourly rate calculator to find your starting point and adjust your price so that you have a good gut feeling about it. Here you are counting back from a desired income, and there are therefore a lot of things that are not taken into account here. All in all, however, it gives you a good pointer in relation to where you should expect to lie.
  2. Your price is ultimately dependent on your skills and the level of the market. Here you can look at freelance platforms such as Worksome or Upwork to get a sense of where the top and bottom are within your niche.
Send your first invoice through Factofly

Invoices without own CVR no.

Factofly lets you invoice without your own company, and handles all administration so you can focus on your business.

Send your first invoice through Factofly

Set the right price from the start

Is it difficult to set the right price as a new freelancer - and stick to it? In the beginning, you will feel compelled to give discounts and offers to get customers to bite.

There is nothing in the way of that, as long as you convey your full price in the agreement and on the invoice. Even if you are new, you can therefore set a long-term sustainable price. You can possibly choose to swallow the cost yourself, by spending the time needed for the result to be satisfactory. Over time you get faster and then things go up.

The last thing you need to do is lower the hourly rate to get clients. The full price shows what you are worth and that price is not devalued by you spending more time on the task - or by an offer or a discount. Call it the introductory discount for new customers. Then you have paved the way for withdrawing to full price later.

Remember the external factors – you are not in control of them, but you have to deal with them. It is, for example, about who your customers are. You cannot charge the same per hour for private clients as for larger companies with established budgets. Also examine what your competitors charge for similar services or products and decide whether you want to be above or below. 

Get even more inspiration in our guide to freelancer pricing 101.

Send your first invoice through Factofly

Invoices without own CVR no.

Factofly lets you invoice without your own company, and handles all administration so you can focus on your business.

Send your first invoice through Factofly
salary as a freelancer
By 7.7 min readLast Updated: 17. January 2024

Get control of your salary as a freelancer

As a freelancer, you are actively involved in your salary. Your freelancer salary does not just roll into the salary account as a fixed transfer from the boss. You must set the right hourly or project price for each new customer yourself and consider all costs – including the hidden ones that are easy to forget. 

Salary calculation as self-employed Freelancing can be a tricky business, but don't worry, we've got your back. We have put together a guide that makes you more aware of your salary as a freelancer. We show you the pitfalls and help you set a realistic price for your work, which ensures that you can make a living from what you love to do.

From permanent employee to freelancer

If you come from a permanent job and start out as a freelancer, there are a few things you'd better be sharp about from the start.

Many become freelancers in the industry they already work in. It can make a lot of sense if the industry is suitable for freelancing. But be careful if you step on a former employer's toes by making competing company. It usually doesn't pay to get into a fight about this sort of thing.

Perhaps you are considering taking on your old employer as a customer in your freelance biks. It is also an obvious possibility if the tasks match. You know the hustle and bustle of the workplace and can easily solve a few familiar tasks - now as a freelancer.

Here you must ensure that you get a new contract for the freelance hours - not only because the salary needs to be adjusted, but because your new role in the workplace must be able to is approved by SKAT as a freelance relationship. Otherwise, you risk having to pay tax as an employee, which can be an expensive affair.

So rule #1: Get control of yours freelance contract.

create free user

Invoices without own CVR no.

Use Factofly to get paid without your own CVR number, and have automatic control over all employment conditions.

create free user

How much does a freelancer earn?

Then we come to that freelancer salary. Because how much do you actually earn as a freelancer? There are several factors that come into play here.

Are you a full-time or part-time freelancer? There is a big difference between whether you have to live off your income as a freelancer or whether it is a supplement to a fixed salary. If you want to live off your freelancer's salary, you must have all the hidden costs included in your price.

However, you do not necessarily have to be cheaper just because you are a part-time freelancer. Your price must, of course, reflect your skills and the results you can thereby deliver. If you are an expert in your field, you can of course allow yourself to charge more for your services than if you are a beginner. 

As a full-time freelancer, you must see yourself as an employee, employer and company in one person. You must have it all running around and this must be reflected in your price - even if you are new to the arena.

Salary as a copywriter

The copywriting industry is a good example of an industry where prices vary enormously. With a single Google search, you can easily find companies that specialize in very cheap texts down to 16 øre per word. At the other end of the scale, you can at one skilled copywriter few professional quality texts to a minimum of DKK 800 per hour. The cheap text agencies have their merits as long as they don't promise more than they can keep. But it also makes copywriting a bit of a cowboy business. If you want serious grown-up money for your text work, you must be able to prove that what you deliver has the desired effect. 

Salary as a journalist

If you are a trained journalist, you have slightly more regulated conditions behind you. According to Danish Association of Journalists the indicative hourly price for ordinary journalistic freelance work is at least DKK 946 in 2022. If the journalistic product requires specialist knowledge, the indicative hourly price is at least DKK 1,326. 

Does that sound like a high hourly rate? Not when you count all expenses as self-employed. 

What costs should I be aware of as a freelancer?

As ordinary wage earners, we get a lot of benefits thrown at us. It can be office space, internet connection, insurance, pension or holiday with pay. As a freelancer, you must cover all expenses yourself. 

In addition, you must consider hidden working hours. Because unfortunately you cannot invoice all the hours you work. If you think through your day, there are plenty of time wasters such as bookkeeping and bidding. Some of the hidden working hours can probably be distributed among customers, but the time wasters must also be factored into your price if you want to make a living from it.

Examples of hidden costs as a freelancer:

  • Insurance
  • Pension
  • Holiday
  • Office space
  • Internet
  • Website operation
  • Various licenses
  • Advertising expenses
  • Materials
  • Driving expenses
  • Bookkeeping
  • Tendering
  • Customer meetings
Send your first invoice through Factofly

Get paid without your own company

Factofly lets you invoice without your own company, and handles all administration so you can focus on your business.

Send your first invoice through Factofly

How many hours can you actually bill as a freelancer?

This one can be a bit deceiving. How much can you actually invoice? It can look very different from industry to industry.

There are a few important factors that affect how many hours you can invest in invoicing. You have to deduct some of your hidden work hours. The time you spend on your accounts or on marketing your business, you cannot write on the bill to the customer. As a copywriter, you also cannot write effectively for 7.4 hours straight. The brain needs breaks in between so that new oxygen comes to the words. 

A rule of thumb is 60-70% billable hours. Some may invoice a little less and others a little more.

Do you need help with invoicing? Check out our invoice guide, which tells you everything you need to know, when you want to create an invoice.

What should I take in class as a freelancer?

So what should you take in class? Imagine if it were simple to answer. 

If you need a rule of thumb that you can use in most industries to calculate a reasonable independent consultant salary, try it here:

As a rule of thumb, your hourly rate as a freelancer should be 2.5 times the average hourly wage that a permanent employee in the same industry would earn.

We can take an IT consultant as an example with one average salary of DKK 40,000. 

A permanent IT consultant earns DKK 40,000 divided by 160 hours per month = approx. DKK 250 per hour. As a freelancer in the same industry, you must therefore not take less than 2.5 times DKK 250 = DKK 625 per hour.

To find your price can do two things:

  1. Use our hourly rate calculator to find your starting point and adjust your price so that you have a good gut feeling about it. Here you are counting back from a desired income, and there are therefore a lot of things that are not taken into account here. All in all, however, it gives you a good pointer in relation to where you should expect to lie.
  2. Your price is ultimately dependent on your skills and the level of the market. Here you can look at freelance platforms such as Worksome or Upwork to get a sense of where the top and bottom are within your niche.
Send your first invoice through Factofly

Invoices without own CVR no.

Factofly lets you invoice without your own company, and handles all administration so you can focus on your business.

Send your first invoice through Factofly

Set the right price from the start

Is it difficult to set the right price as a new freelancer - and stick to it? In the beginning, you will feel compelled to give discounts and offers to get customers to bite.

There is nothing in the way of that, as long as you convey your full price in the agreement and on the invoice. Even if you are new, you can therefore set a long-term sustainable price. You can possibly choose to swallow the cost yourself, by spending the time needed for the result to be satisfactory. Over time you get faster and then things go up.

The last thing you need to do is lower the hourly rate to get clients. The full price shows what you are worth and that price is not devalued by you spending more time on the task - or by an offer or a discount. Call it the introductory discount for new customers. Then you have paved the way for withdrawing to full price later.

Remember the external factors – you are not in control of them, but you have to deal with them. It is, for example, about who your customers are. You cannot charge the same per hour for private clients as for larger companies with established budgets. Also examine what your competitors charge for similar services or products and decide whether you want to be above or below. 

Get even more inspiration in our guide to freelancer pricing 101.

Send your first invoice through Factofly

Invoices without own CVR no.

Factofly lets you invoice without your own company, and handles all administration so you can focus on your business.

Send your first invoice through Factofly