Are you a freelancer struggling to set your rates? Do you feel your current fees aren’t reflecting your talents accurately? If this sounds like your current situation, you’ve come to the right place.
Setting freelance writing rates isn’t easy, regardless of the level you’re at. If you’re brand new to the industry, it may be even more difficult. Freelance writing is a competitive market, and the subjective rates set by competitors makes it difficult to place a value on your own work.
This article will explore how to be competitive with pricing, top tips for getting paid, and what key factors to consider when setting a solid rate.
Be Competitive in Your Pricing
It can be tempting to lower your freelance writing prices to undercut other competitors or even to compensate for a lack of skills. Although less common, it can also be tempting to set a high price to ensure time is well spent on the project on hand.
The best and easiest way to determine your rates is to research other freelance writers to find out what they are charging. You need to have an understanding of your competitors before you can pit your work and your fees against your competitors.
Once you understand the competitive marketplace, finding a middle ground is the logical conclusion. You want to set your fees high enough to look professional, but still low enough to attract clients. The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing by Zachary Petit offers some tips on all aspects of freelancing, which may prove helpful to you.
Keys to competitive pricing include:
- Understanding the market
- Informing yourself in regards to your competitors’ pricing
- Knowing what kinds of freelance writing is available
Online writing, such as web content, SEO writing, and blog content, usually pays the least (but don’t think that translates to an inability to make a living). Feature writing online pays a little more but is still often less than writing pieces for print. Further up on the scale are newspaper writing and social media campaign work, and at the top are ghostwriting and specialist knowledge pieces (medical, science) which can, if priced well, pay quite highly.
Use a Formula to Determine Your Rate
The most successful way to determine freelance ratings is to choose a formula and stick to it for all your freelance writing streams. When you choose to set your fees, you need to make sure the money you earn reflects the work involved.
A formula can help you to settle rates in a logical manner. The formula you choose is up to you, whether it’s based on hourly rates, project length, or other more personal factors.
Whatever method you choose, you need to factor in living expenses, taxes, health insurance, office supplies, and any other relatable outgoings you might have. You need to think about how much you need to charge to cover expenses. Once you have a baseline or a minimum acceptable rate, you can work upwards to consider any additional factors.
Your earning potential is also worth some deliberation. This refers to the highest rate you’ve been able to fix to date. If a company is willing to pay you a high rate, then you should accept that as confirmation of your true value. This also means that you should be able to secure the same rate again.
Competitive pricing isn’t about making the most money, but about setting solid, reliable fees that look reasonable and professional, while still covering your own costs. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim high or dismiss lesser paid projects, and it simply means you shouldn’t devalue your work.
Freelance Writer Rate Models
There are a number of different models that freelance writers use when working with clients. Browse through the models shared below to find the best one for you:
Charging at an hourly rate is one of the most popular methods among freelancers. It is a particularly good method if you’re just starting out and don’t have much experience.
This is also a particularly good method if you don’t know how long a project will take and if you need to perform extensive research. Although you earn less than with a value-based approach, this system is an excellent way to begin.
This model is best for the more seasoned writers who have some, if not extensive, experience. The system determines that you charge your rates based on the project and your level of experience. The fee is set on your ability to deal with the allocated project in a skilled and professional manner.
Each piece of work the freelancer provides is intended to add value to their client. For this reason, and those set out above, the value-based model is usually set higher than other rates.
This method means that the price is determined by the number of words in the piece. The system works well with projects set to a specific word limit, which most clients request.
Experienced writers may charge anything from ten cents to $1 per word, but this rate does vary according to personal choice and client requirements.
If a client does require recurring work, they will likely pay a monthly retainer. This is a fee the client pays in advance to ensure your services will be available to them for a certain amount of time. The price is usually determined based on the projects and work involved.
Show Me The Money
So now that you have an idea on how you’re going to charge your clients, let’s take a look at 4 tips to land better-paying gigs and get paid successfully:
1. Create service packages. These should detail all the services you offer, including your rates and how they’re set.
2. Find clients for ongoing weekly or monthly projects, or on retainer. This will enable you to bring in more money regularly.
3. Display your prices and packages on a website. Having a website demonstrates professionalism and provides a simple way for clients to access your services.
4. Use an online payment system for proposals and invoices. Online payments are cleaner and tend to avoid unnecessary complications.
Freelance Writer Pricing Examples
The rates shown below are based on an updated source. Freelance writing rates are constantly changing, and there is no set rate for any particular project. The rates listed below are just an example of what you could expect to charge for certain projects.
- Blog writing rates: $0.05+ per word, dependent on the word count. I’ve written plenty of blog posts in the .10-.15 per word range and few as high as .30.
- Article Rates: $600-2000 per article, based on the type and length of the article in hand.
- Book: $75 per page, again dependent on the length of the book.
- E-book: $15-25 per page.
- News Articles: $15-50 per article, depending on the word count and content type.
As this article has demonstrated, freelance writing is a fairly subjective area to work in. The rates you charge depend on your cash flow needs, level of experience, and the type of projects you manage to land.
There is no fixed answer as to how much you should charge, but there are ways in which you can determine a logical pricing system that works for you. Once you have a method you’re comfortable with, you’ll be able to negotiate with clients much more easily.
If you’re struggling to set your rates, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d be happy to help you with any questions you might have.