Rush rates are a common practice in lots of sectors, not just freelancing. The basic principle is this:
All work requires a certain amount of time and planning. If a client/customer needs a job completing in a shorter-than-usual amount of time, that exerts pressure on the supplier to deliver and may involve overtime, working on non-work days (e.g. weekends of holidays) or rescheduling other clients.
The client/customer is charged a rush rate to compensate the supplier for the inconvenience.
Rush rates vary – I’ve seen anything from 50% to 100% – so the amount you add is up to you.
Should you charge a rush rate? #
Firstly, it’s completely up to you as to whether you accept a job that’s been left too late – it’s the client’s problem, not yours. You might reasonably decide that the additional fee isn’t worth the inconvenience.
I know some freelancers who won’t take on last-minute work because it makes for stressful work.
If you decide to accept it, a compelling reason to charge a rush rate is that it educates clients that this isn’t the right way to go about working with you.
The Freelance Pricing Guide
The Work Notes Freelance Pricing Guide has helped 400 freelancers set rates than work for them.