Negotiating Rates and Contracts: Pricing Strategies for Nigerian Freelancers

by Degreat Michael
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Freelancing has become a popular way for people to work independently in this evolving world. Hence, freelancers need to learn how to negotiate fair pay rates and manage contracts effectively.

This guide will provide you with diverse pricing strategies you need as a Nigerian freelancer. You’ll learn how to set fair prices for your work. You’ll also discover how to safeguard your interests by effectively handling contracts. 

Interested in building a successful freelance career through learning negotiation and contract rates? Keep reading!

Understanding the Freelance Market in Nigeria 

The freelance job market in Nigeria is improving, with a wide range of opportunities in various fields. Nigeria boasts over 1.5 million freelancers on UpWork, making it a top-ranking country on the platform. 

Also, the need for freelancers in technology, content creation, and online marketing is rising because companies are looking for experts in these areas. Thus, with more people opting for freelancing, freelancers must keep learning and figure out how to shine in their chosen field. 

To succeed as a freelancer in Nigeria, first, learn freelancing basics, especially how to negotiate and effective pricing strategies. 

Foundation for Effective Pricing Strategies as a Freelancer in Nigeria

No doubt about it, when you’re freelancing, having successful negotiations starts with building a strong foundation. It’s all about knowing your value and being ready. Here’s how to get that foundation set:

  1. Know your worth as a freelancer

To figure out your worth as a freelancer, start by evaluating your skills and experience. Next, research similar services and pricing trends, so you can confidently establish your pricing strategies and expectations when negotiating with clients.

  1. Define your financial goals

To set pricing strategies, begin by figuring out what you need financially; your income, monthly expenses, savings goals, and desired earnings. Adjust your prices accordingly to make sure you’re not undervaluing your work.

For instance, if you earn #100,000 monthly, you can aim to save #20,000 and make an extra #30,000. Make sure your pricing strategies align with these goals to ensure you’re not undervaluing your work.

  1. Create a professional portfolio

To make a fantastic professional portfolio, you should gather your top-notch work to show off your skills. Include different examples to make people trust your expertise.

Additionally, you should have a consistent online presence by having your own website or portfolio platform. All of this helps you appear reliable and skilled, especially when it comes to pricing strategies.

Read also: How to Become a Successful Freelancer in Nigeria

Effective Pricing Strategies for Nigerian Freelancers 

  1. Know your local terrain

If you’re a freelancer in Nigeria, it’s important to know how things work when it comes to setting your prices. Freelancers from all over the world usually charge between $20 and $50 per hour for their work.

In Nigeria, as a freelancer, you can decide to charge an hourly rate between $10 and $30. The specific amount you pick depends on how skilled and experienced you are.

When you’re trying to determine how much to charge for your services in Nigeria, it’s crucial to take these local differences into account. This should be your first step in developing your pricing strategies.

  1. Adopt the tiered pricing model

If you’re a freelancer in Nigeria and want to do a great job, you can use a tiered pricing system. This means you offer different levels of service at different prices.

This is a smart strategy because it allows you to work with a variety of clients. Whether it’s small businesses with a small budget or clients who want top-quality work, you’ll have something to offer everyone.

By doing this, you can attract more clients and boost your success as a freelancer by offering different services at different price points. This approach is part of the effective pricing strategies of Nigerian freelancers.

  1. Valuing your worth

To do well in the Nigerian freelance market, it’s important to use smart pricing strategies. One effective strategy is called “value-based pricing.” This means you should charge your clients based on the special value you offer them.

You need to highlight your skills, your past work, and the real advantages your clients will get from hiring you. When you link your prices directly to the value you bring, you can ask for higher fees. So, remember, pricing strategies like this can help you succeed in the freelance market.

  1. Transparent communication

Successful pricing strategies depend on open and clear communication. When you talk to clients or write up your proposals and contracts, it’s crucial to be clear about what you’re going to do for them.

This means you should explain exactly what clients will get; when they can expect it, and how it will benefit them. Being transparent like this helps build trust and makes clients see the real value in your services. Thus, when it comes to pricing strategies, clear communication is key.

  1. Offer flexible payment options

In the world of freelancing in Nigeria, using different ways to get paid can be helpful. You can try getting paid in parts as you finish different parts of a project. You can also choose payment plans that match what your clients can afford.

By being flexible with how you get paid, you can attract and hold onto clients, which can ultimately increase how much money you make. These flexible payment strategies can be a game-changer for your earnings.

  1. Regularly assess and adjust your rates

The freelance job market in Nigeria is always changing. The prices people are willing to pay and the amount of work available often go up and down. To do well as a freelancer, you need to keep an eye on these changes and adjust how much you charge for your services.

You can do this by regularly looking at your skills, how much experience you have, and what’s happening in the job market. Being flexible and making changes to your pricing strategies when necessary will help you make more money and be successful in your freelance career.

If you want to connect with like-minded people and share your fresh ideas, it’s time for you to join our WhatsApp community.

Contract Essentials for Nigerian Freelancers

As a freelancer, having contracts is crucial for your success and to protect yourself from scams or legal issues. Contracts ensure everyone knows what to do and what they can expect. They’re like the rules of the game when you work with clients.

Here are why they matter:

  • Legal protection

Contracts are like a legal shield. If your client doesn’t pay or breaks the rules, you can use the contract to protect yourself in Nigeria.

  • Clear agreements

Contracts make everything crystal clear. They say what work you’ll do, when you’ll finish, and how much you’ll get paid. Ultimately, this prevents any confusion.

  • Be professional

Using contracts shows you’re serious and professional. In short, when you have a contract, your clients will trust you more.

  • Solve problems 

If there’s a problem, the contract can help fix it. You won’t need to spend a lot of money on lawyers. So, if you’re freelancing in Nigeria, remember to use contracts. They save you a lot of pain.

Key Elements of a Freelance Contract

Now, let’s delve into the key elements of a freelance contract that every Nigerian freelancer should include:

  • Scope of work

Clearly define the project’s scope. This involves outlining what you will deliver and what is excluded. When agreeing, clarify what services you’ll offer, what results are expected, and any extra services and their costs.

  • Payment terms and milestones

Explain how you’ll get paid, how much the whole project costs, when you’ll get paid, and what types of payment you accept. As a Nigeria freelancer youecifyfy specific (e.g., Nigerian Naira) and any applicable taxes.

Of course, you can break the project into milestones or phases and link payments to the successful completion of these stages. This ensures that you are compensated for your work throughout the project.

  • Deadline and deliverables

Set clear deadlines for project milestones and the final delivery. Define what constitutes a deliverable or a completed phase of the project. This section helps manage client expectations regarding project timelines.

  • Revisions and approvals

Outline the number of revisions or rounds of feedback included in the contract. Define the process for revisions and client approvals. Clearly state any additional charges for revisions beyond the agreed-upon limit.

  • Dispute resolution

Include a clause on dispute resolution, specifying the steps to be taken in case of conflicts. Mediation or arbitration can be more cost-effective and less time-consuming than legal proceedings. However, you should mention the applicable jurisdiction and governing law in case legal action is necessary.

Read also: The Best MTN Data Plans for Freelancers and Entrepreneurs in Nigeria

Handling Payment Structures in the Nigerian Freelance Market

Nigeria’s freelance market offers money-making opportunities for skilled individuals looking for extra income. Yet as a freelancer in Nigeria, you should grasp payment procedures for fair compensation and to prevent issues. 

Below are some payment options you can explore in your freelance journey to secure your income:

  • Bank transfer

This method is trustworthy for larger payments and leaves a clear payment trail. However, be cautious with sharing your bank details and ensure to use invoices or contracts.

  • Online payment platforms

Platforms like Paystack, Geegpay, Flutterwave, and Interswitch offer secure online payment processing, ensuring client convenience. Still, check the platform’s legitimacy and any associated fees.

  • Mobile money services

Services like MTN Mobile Money and Airtel Money provide quick, easy payment solutions. However, be aware of service fees and transaction limits.

  • Escrow services 

Payment services such as Escrow make sure your payments stay safe, especially for large projects. They keep your money secure until both parties fulfil their promises. 

Most freelancing websites like Upwork and Fiverr already include this feature. Just ensure to establish clear rules for when the money is released from the escrow account.

How to Secure Payments and Protect Yourself as a Nigerian Freelancer 

To protect yourself as a Nigerian freelancer and secure payments, follow these essential practices:

  • Use contracts

As mentioned earlier, use a written contract that details the work, payment schedule, deadlines, and how to handle disagreements. This document is legally binding and can protect your rights.

  • Request an advance payment

Request an initial upfront payment or deposit before starting work, especially for larger projects. This ensures your client’s commitment and helps cover initial expenses. It can be 70% or 80% off the total charge, as the case may be.

  • Invoice professionally

Provide detailed invoices that specify the services rendered, the payment due date, and your payment instructions. Meanwhile, never forget to keep records of all invoices and payments.

  • Keep records

Maintain comprehensive records of all communications, project deliverables, and agreements with clients. These records can be invaluable in case of disputes.

Read also: How to Handle Objections as a Freelancer

Pitfalls to Avoid in Freelancing

Freelancing offers many benefits. However, it has its own set of difficulties and problems. To have a lasting successful freelance career, you need to know about some common mistakes in discussing pay, warning signs in contracts, and legal problems that might pop up. 

Here’s a breakdown of these common mistakes in rate negotiation:

  • Undervaluing your services

One common mistake many freelancers make is charging too little for their work. When you don’t charge what you’re worth, it can hurt your earnings and even lead to dissatisfaction and burnout.

  • Failing to research market rates

Not researching industry standards and market rates can leave you in the dark about what clients are willing to pay. Thus, always conduct research to determine competitive rates.

  • Negotiating without a clear strategy

Entering rate negotiations without a clear plan can result in bad results. That’s why you should ensure you know the lowest rate you can accept and be ready to explain your pricing.

  • Ignoring value-based pricing

When thinking about how to set your prices, don’t just focus on the hours you work. Think about the worth of your work for the client’s project. Many clients like it when you use pricing strategies that are based on the value you provide and the results you achieve.

Red Flags in Freelance Contracts

  • Vague or ambiguous terms

Contracts with vague or ambiguous language can lead to misunderstandings. Thus, ensure that all terms, especially those related to scope, payment, and deadlines, are explicitly defined.

  • Unrealistic expectations

Be cautious of contracts that set unrealistic expectations or promise outcomes beyond your control. Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and disputes.

  • No payment terms or escrow

Contracts lacking clear payment terms or a provision for escrow services can put you at risk of non-payment. Always clarify payment schedules and methods.

  • Lack of intellectual property (IP) clauses

Contracts that do not address intellectual property rights may lead to disputes over ownership of work. Ensure that IP rights are clearly defined in your contracts.

If you need more tips on how to make the most out of your freelance career and improve your professional image, all you’ve got to do is join our newsletter subscribers.


Successful rate negotiations and managing contracts are important for freelancers in Nigeria. By using these pricing strategies in this guide, you can establish a successful freelance career in Nigeria. This will help you get fair payment and build strong relationships with clients. 

Edited by Priscilla Ajayi.

About Author

Avatar of Degreat Michael
Degreat Michael
Degreat is an expert SEO content writer, self-published author and founder of With over 5 years of experience in a variety of content writing, he helps struggling small business owners create result-driven web copies that sell their brand stories.

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