The real costs of freelancing

THE FREELANCE Ready Reckoner for 2006-7 is now online. In four simple columns it gives a chilling insight into how much we save clients by taking on work as freelances, and how much we should charge to arrive at what it would cost them to employ salaried, in-house staff instead. Check it out on

The Ready Reckoner is the work of NUJ Ethics Council Freelance Rep Andrew Bibby. "Many freelances fail to adequately appreciate when pricing their work that they are responsible for a range of costs" according to Bibby's explanatory notes. These include "office equipment costs, premises costs, sick pay, pensions, holiday pay, insurance".

Per employee per year, you're looking at £3500 for recruitment, £488 training costs, £10-15000 for providing workstation space in London, £606 on sickies, and let's not forget 25 paid days off.

The Reckoner assumes freelances can only "work productively" for three full days a week, bogged down as we are by so much self-employment admin.

The Reckoner doesn't factor in costs for photography kit, but it gives advice how to adapt it to include these expenses. See feesguide/phcalc.html for advice on factoring in equipment costs.

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