I’ve only been freelance for about 6 months after a long time in startups and agencies. I’m about to snag my first gig as an outside design systems consultant for a medium-sized, profitable company that’s been around 10 years yet never had a system before. I’ve designed 4-5 systems, but it’s always been as a sole designer at an early startup.
So... The budget is 320 hours. Based on what I usually charge hourly for shorter-term freelance product design work in New York, that comes to almost $40,000-$45,000 for 3 months of work.
I know I should be considering a value-based strategy here, but that part is feeling somewhat abstract to me right now. The design system will be a big deal to the company and move them pretty far forward. We'd be doing a public design system, too, and syncing whatever we can with the engineering team. This wouldn't just be a simple Figma project.
I'm curious how anyone here would handle the budget for this.