Don’t Leave Money on the Table

Originally published on LinkedIn in January, 2023.

Don’t leave money on the table. Don’t leave money on the table. Don’t leave money on the table. Yesterday I saw a job listing looking for a freelance ACD/CD that was stupidly underpaid.

Some of these numbers might be outdated but here’s my general guide to what you should be getting paid at each level as a creative based on my experiences and talking to others in the industry over the last few years. 

— Fulltime —
Jr: $50-70k
Mid: $70-95k
Sr: $95-125k
ACD: $125-200k
CD: $200k+

— Freelance —
Jr: $300-$500/day
Mid: $500-800/day
Sr. $800-1100/day
ACD: $1100-1500/day
CD: $1500+

These are not hard and fast numbers and only meant to serve as a guide. Additionally, your financial situation may require you to take a gig below your skill level or for a lower rate. That is a decision only you can make, don’t let anyone guilt you for that if you need money. After all, it’s stupid to turn down a day rate because of $100/day.

What do you all think? Are these numbers still accurate or outdated? Anything you want to add?

Edit: Should clarify that this is for large markets like LA, NYC and SF. Other cities will have different rates based on cost of living (or percieved cost of living).

– Josh D. Weiss is a Co-Founder of The Side Show and Freelance Associate Creative Director

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