How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Merchandise Design Freelancer?

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Merchandise design is a critical aspect of any business’s brand strategy, as it helps convey the company’s message and values to its customers. Many companies choose to outsource their merchandise design projects to freelancers, as they offer a wide range of skills and flexibility. However, one common concern among businesses looking to hire merchandise design freelancers is the cost. In this article, we will explore how much merchandise design freelancers typically charge for their services, and what factors may influence their rates.

Factors that Influence Pricing

Before discussing the actual rates that merchandise design freelancers charge, it’s important to understand the factors that can influence their pricing. One of the most significant factors is the freelancer’s level of experience and expertise. Freelancers with a proven track record and a strong portfolio may command higher rates than those who are just starting out in the industry. Additionally, the complexity of the project and the time it will take to complete can also impact pricing. A simple t-shirt design, for example, will likely cost less than a more intricate product packaging design.

Hourly Rates

Many merchandise design freelancers prefer to charge by the hour for their services. Hourly rates can vary widely depending on the factors mentioned above, as well as the freelancer’s location and overhead costs. According to a survey by Upwork, a popular freelancing platform, merchandise design freelancers in the United States charge an average of $30 to $75 per hour. Freelancers in other countries, where the cost of living is lower, may charge significantly less.

When discussing hourly rates with a merchandise design freelancer, it’s essential to be clear about the scope of the project and the specific tasks that need to be completed. This will help both parties accurately estimate the total time required and avoid any surprises when it comes time to pay the invoice.

Project-Based Pricing

In addition to hourly rates, many merchandise design freelancers also offer project-based pricing. This approach involves agreeing on a flat fee for the entire project, regardless of how many hours it takes to complete. Project-based pricing can be beneficial for both the freelancer and the client, as it provides more transparency and predictability. However, it can be challenging to determine a fair price for the project, especially if the scope is not clearly defined from the outset.

When negotiating project-based pricing with a merchandise design freelancer, it’s crucial to outline the deliverables, milestones, and any additional costs upfront. This will help ensure that both parties are on the same page and set clear expectations for the project.

Retainer Agreements

Some businesses may have ongoing merchandise design needs and prefer to work with a freelancer on a more long-term basis. In these cases, a retainer agreement may be the best option. A retainer agreement involves the client paying a fixed monthly fee to the freelancer in exchange for a specified amount of work each month. This approach provides consistency for both the freelancer and the client and can be a cost-effective solution for businesses with recurring design needs.

When entering into a retainer agreement with a merchandise design freelancer, it’s essential to define the scope of work, the number of hours or projects included in the retainer, and the terms of payment. This will help avoid any misunderstandings and ensure a smooth working relationship.


The cost of hiring a merchandise design freelancer can vary widely, depending on a range of factors such as experience, project complexity, and pricing structure. While hourly rates are common, project-based pricing and retainer agreements are also popular options. When considering hiring a merchandise design freelancer, businesses should carefully assess their specific needs and budget, and seek out freelancers whose rates align with their expectations. By understanding the various pricing models and factors that influence rates, businesses can make informed decisions and establish successful partnerships with merchandise design freelancers.

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