Similar to Who Pays Writers? the Freelance Rates Database by Contently is a site that lets users anonymously submit information about the projects that they’ve worked on. Note that while the majority of entries in this database are about writing assignments, you’ll also find submissions from designers, photographers, and other freelancers.
How Much Should Freelance Writers Charge? Here are 3 Ways to Determine Your Rates
I wish there was a definitive answer to this question. But the fact is, a freelancer’s rates will depend on several of factors, including your living/working expenses, your experience, and the type of content you’re producing, among other things.
It can be tricky to figure out how much to charge, but with a bit of introspection and research, you should be able to determine the best prices for your services.
In this post, we’ll discuss the steps you should take when determining your rates, as well as the tools you can use for the task. If you’re unsure about how much to charge, this post will point you in the right direction.
Types of Freelance Writing Rates
The first step to deciding what to charge is to know the different types of rates you can set. There are basically five types of freelance writing rates:
Most businesses hiring freelance writers will prefer to pay by the project or by retainer if they’re going to want regular ongoing work. Consumer magazines, online and off, generally pay per word for articles. Trade magazines can be either per-word or a flat fee. Business, technical, and marketing writing work is likely to be priced at a per-hour rate or by the project. Payment by page is more often used in long projects, such as books or manuals, or editing.
How Much Should You Charge?
You’re probably wondering how much you should charge as a freelance writer. Set your rates too low and you’ll never earn good money. Set them too high and you’ll find it difficult to get clients, right?
Well, how much you should charge ultimately depends on how much you want to get paid. But you can get a ballpark idea by first taking a look at the rates other freelancers charge in your writing niche.
Go to search talent, and select the “writing” category. Type a keyword related to your freelance writing niche into the search bar (e.g. “cybersecurity”). Then you’ll see search results of writers in your niche and their rates:
You can filter these results to see highest and lowest pay. That will give you a good idea of what writers in this niche are asking for payment, and what their credentials are.
Don’t Forget to Charge What You Want
Regardless of the rates you see posted on freelancer profiles, the most important thing is to charge a rate that you’d be happy to earn! There’s nothing worse than a writer underpaying themselves simply because they don’t think they can earn more.
The rates you see on Upwork profiles are not the ceiling on what you can earn. Freelancers who market themselves from their own website can earn much more than these rates. One thing I’ve learned from experience is that you can earn however much you want as a freelance writer, if you market yourself to the right potential clients and package your services in the most valuable way. (More on that below!)
How Freelance Writer Pay Is Determined
Freelancers typically get paid by the word, by the hour or by the page/post/project. Paying per word is a great way to set clear expectations and manage your budget. If you offer 20 cents per word for a 1,000-word blog post, for example, you know you’ll spend no more than $200. Setting a word count ahead of time also helps prevent miscommunications regarding payment.
While you can certainly pay by the hour, doing so makes it more difficult to determine how much you can expect to pay for the whole project. The freelancer may take longer than you expected, increasing your overall costs. Hourly pay is best reserved for “extra” services, like interviewing an executive for a business profile or attending a Zoom strategy meeting with your marketing team.
In some cases, it makes sense to pay a flat fee. For social media posts, a flat fee for each post is fair because the writer needs to spend time learning about your brand and tailoring their writing to match the tone of your existing content. Flat fees are also ideal if you have a budget in mind and don’t know how many hours it will take to complete the project.
The Final Word on Freelance Writing Rates
I hope this advice on freelance writings rates from me, other freelancers, and groups has helped you. In the end, though, realize that a “good freelance writing rate” is one that helps you reach your financial goals and one that, of course, your clients will accept.
I’ve been freelancing since 2013, and throughout the journey, I’ve always wished I had a "freelancer friend" who could give me advice and support. Well, I’m going to be that friend for you! I’ve built a successful freelance writing business, and I’m sharing everything I’ve learned here on this blog.