As in other countries there is a growing community of freelancers in Germany. Can this be a perspective for you as well? We have worked out this guide on work as freelancer in Germany for you.
Why International Freelancers Currently Have Great Prospects in Germany
Germany, known for its robust economy and commitment to innovation, presents a promising landscape for international freelancers. The country’s strong focus on digitalization, coupled with its diverse market, offers a wealth of opportunities for freelancers from around the globe. Here’s why international freelancers currently have great prospects in Germany.
Firstly, the demand for freelance services in Germany is high and continues to grow. This is particularly true in sectors such as IT, marketing, and business consulting, where freelancers can offer specialized skills and flexible services. Whether you’re a software developer, a digital marketer, or a business consultant, there’s likely a demand for your skills in Germany.
Secondly, Germany’s strong economy provides a stable environment for freelancers. The country has one of the largest economies in the world, and it’s known for its high standards of living. This economic stability can provide a reliable income stream for freelancers and make it easier to find new clients.
Thirdly, Germany is a hub for international business. Many global companies have offices in Germany, and the country is known for its strong export industry. This international focus means that there’s a demand for freelancers who can offer services in multiple languages and who understand different cultural contexts.
Fourthly, Germany’s digital infrastructure is excellent. The country has a strong focus on digitalization and offers high-speed internet and advanced digital services. This makes it easier for freelancers to work remotely and offer their services to clients both in Germany and around the world.
Lastly, Germany offers a supportive environment for freelancers. The country has a range of resources and support services for freelancers, including networking events, coworking spaces, and freelancer platforms. There are also clear regulations for freelancers, which can make it easier to navigate the legal and administrative aspects of freelancing.
Basics to know about freelancing in Germany
What is a freelancer in Germany?
Freelancers are called ‘Freiberufler’ in German. Freiberufler are self-employed entrepreneurs simultaneously working for clients without binding themselves only to one client. Unlike other businesses in Germany freelancers mostly operate under their own name rather than a dedicated company name. Freelancing in Germany is open as well for Germans as for expats alike.
Can I work as a freelancer in Germany being a refugee from Ukraine?
This question is not yet settled in political discussion. According to the current political discussion it might become poissible for Ukrainian refugees to open up companies or to start a freelancer work in Germany as well as to become regular employees. Return to this page for updates.
Can I open up a business in Germany as EU citizen?
There a no special restrictions to open up any business as an EU citizen. Under the free movement of people within the EU you may settle in Germany and open your company here or to start to work as a freelancer.
How can I work as a freelancer in Germany being not a EU citizen?
Nationals of non-EU countries need to have a visa / residence permit for Germany allowing to work in Germany in a self-employed capacity. This needs to be specially remarked on the visa. When applying it often needs to be proofed to already have clients in Germany. Also a business plan and a CV might be required to show to the German embassy / consulate when applying for a visa.Pursuing a global career often entails relocating to a new country, which makes finding the right accommodation crucial. To streamline your search, consider exploring the options available on HousingAnywhere.
Is it easy to open a bank account as a freelancer in Germany?
Opening a bank account as a freelancer in Germany is fairly easy. There are plenty of banks which focus on this target group and offer competitative accounts. You even find banks which offer fully free accounts for business. In case you need more service other banks offer accounts with small regular fees.
Around four million self-employed people currently work in Germany. That is around ten percent of the total workforce in Germany. The most common occupational groups for self-employed persons in Germany are management, human medicine, dentistry and restaurants.
Individuals with foreign citizenship living in Germany are almost as likely to be self-employed as employed in companies.
About half of the self-employed in Germany are solo self-employed who do not employ any staff. Many of these work only part-time and have only a comparatively low income. Self-employed persons without employees are particularly strongly represented in the occupational groups of insurance and financial services, agriculture, personal care, and non-medical therapy and healing.
Unlike in other countries it is fairly easy to open up a business as a freelancer in Germany. The routine administrative work (e.g. taxes, reports) are comparably simple and overseeable. Due to its export orientated economy there are still plenty of opportunities for internationals, foremost English speakers.
The German language issue
In German companies the German language is predominant with exception of some international companies or a few German blue chips. However English has developed to a more and more common language in German business in the recent 20 years. In each higher management you will find good English speakers in Germany nowadays. So this means that you can start with English. If you like you can try to learn some German though.
Where do freelancer work in Germany?
Freelancers are common in Germany in the following fields:
- IT (programming, SEO, …)
- Physicians, dentists, vets, therapists, psychologists
- Media (journalists, interpreters, translators, writers, operators)
- Business consulting
- Arts and culture (actors, artists, photographers, musicians, designers)
General considerations when starting as freelancer
If you’re willing to work alone, you can be a freelance writer, programmer, designer, consultant, or anything else where all you need is a computer and an internet connection. This isn’t easy to do unless you have a lot of experience in one or two of those areas, but it’s not hard to make a living either.
There are also negative sides of working as a freelancer:
If you switch from employment to freelancer you may see a falling income in the beginning. Minus 25% is not rare. As a freelancer you also do lots of additional work besides your actual focus. This extra work as a freelancer compared to an employee comprises:
- you take over the work of full departmens yourself: management, marketing, production, administration, book keeping etc.
- more tax declarations and additional paper work
How to win clients as a freelancer in Germany
As in other countries many new contacts and clients can be won via:
- local SEO (if you are a starter here we recommend to start with Chase Reiner)
- 99 Designs
A dedicated German platform to find new clients is Freelancermap.de which we have experienced as very vital and easy to use in the past. Here it is fairly easy to find clients in Germany with many hundred new postings on the platform each day.
In addition you can establish contacts to the following institutions to start building a network:
- regional chambers of commerce
- Start-up hubs
How do I know what to charge as a freelancer in Germany?
This can be one of the most difficult aspects of freelancing, especially if you’re new to it. New freelancers often set their rates too low because they’re afraid they won’t get work if they charge more than their competition. But setting your rate too low can end up costing you in the long run.
Instead of looking at other freelancers’ rates, think about how much time it will take you to complete each project and how much money per hour you want to make. For example, if you want to make 60€ per hour and it will take 20 hours to complete a job, don’t accept anything less than 1,200€ for that project.
Advantages of freelancing in Germany
Running your own business has a lot of advantages when compared to working as an employee for someone else. The first advantage is the amount of freedom you get. You get to decide when to work, how much money to earn and what tasks to take on.
The second advantage is being your own boss. Being your own boss means that you don’t have someone telling you what to do all the time, which makes your work more pleasant. You also get to use your creativity in ways you were never able to do before if you were an employee. The third advantage is the flexibility it provides. You can work from anywhere: at home, at a coffee shop or while traveling.
This way you can spend more time with your family without sacrificing your income level or having to quit your job altogether just because they won’t let you take a day off every once in a while.
Achieving Work-Life Balance as a Freelancer in Germany
In the world of freelancing, it’s easy to get caught up in work and forget about the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This is especially true when you’re freelancing in a country like Germany, where the work culture is known for its efficiency and productivity.
However, it’s crucial to remember that a balanced lifestyle is key to long-term success and happiness. Here are some tips to help you achieve a good work-life balance as a freelancer in Germany.
Firstly, set clear boundaries between your work and personal life. This could mean designating specific work hours and sticking to them, or setting up a separate workspace at home. Remember, just because you can work at any time doesn’t mean you should.
Secondly, don’t forget to take breaks. It’s easy to get lost in a project and work for hours on end, but regular breaks can actually boost your productivity and creativity. Try to take a short break every hour or so, and make sure to take longer breaks for meals.
Thirdly, make time for activities you enjoy outside of work. Whether it’s going for a walk in the park, reading a book, or catching up with friends, these activities can help you relax and recharge.
Lastly, don’t neglect your health. Make sure to eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep. These are all crucial for maintaining your physical and mental health, and they can also boost your performance at work.
Remember, achieving a good work-life balance is a continuous process, not a one-time task. It requires constant adjustment and reassessment, but the benefits are well worth the effort. So take the time to find a balance that works for you, and enjoy the flexibility and freedom that comes with freelancing in Germany.
Navigating Health Insurance for Freelancers in Germany
Health insurance is a crucial aspect of living and working in Germany, and it’s especially important for freelancers. In Germany, health insurance is mandatory, and as a freelancer, you’ll need to arrange this yourself. Here’s a simple guide to help you understand your options.
There are two main types of health insurance in Germany: public (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) and private (private Krankenversicherung). Most people in Germany are on public health insurance, but as a freelancer, you have the choice between the two.
Public health insurance is provided by statutory health insurance funds. The cost is based on your income, so if you’re just starting out as a freelancer and not earning much, this might be a good option for you. Public health insurance covers a wide range of health services, and you can also include your dependents in your coverage at no extra cost.
Private health insurance, on the other hand, is provided by private insurance companies. The cost is based on your age, health condition, and the level of coverage you choose. Private health insurance can offer more comprehensive coverage and shorter waiting times for appointments and treatments, but it’s usually more expensive than public health insurance.
If you’re an expat freelancer in Germany, you might also consider expat-specific health insurance. These plans are designed specifically for foreigners living in Germany and can offer coverage that’s tailored to your needs.
Before deciding on a health insurance plan, it’s important to carefully consider your health needs and financial situation. You might also want to consult with an insurance broker or advisor to help you understand your options and make an informed decision.
Remember, having adequate health insurance is not only a legal requirement in Germany, but it’s also crucial for your peace of mind as a freelancer. So take the time to research your options and choose the best health insurance plan for you.