5 Factors to Consider When Setting Freelance Writing Rates

woman working kitchenOne of the great things about being a freelancer (besides not having set hours, being your own boss, and sometimes working in your pajamas) is that you get to set your own rates.

It can also be one of the more difficult things about being a freelancer. You don’t want to charge too low a fee, or you won’t make enough money and people might not think you’re very good at what you do. On the other hand, you don’t want to have the most expensive rate either as you might get looked over for a more budget-friendly option. It’s kind of like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears – you want your rate to be “just right.”

Here are 5 factors to consider to come up with the perfect number.

1. What’s the Market Rate for Your Work?

One of the first things you need to do is research the market rate for the kind of work you do. Find out, generally, what other freelancers in your field are getting. You can also find out what companies and web sites are paying. Many freelancers are reluctant to give a straight up dollar amount, but you might be able to get a range.

You should also be aware of whether your freelance industry charges by the hour, or uses some other rate. Graphic designers, for example, often charge by the hour, or by the project. Freelance bloggers are often paid by the post (depending on the word count). Knowing the going market rate per unit of work performed is an important part of setting your rates.

Also realize that the rate might be different in your niche, and from different sites. In the personal finance blogging space, I’ve found that a big name site can pay a lot more than a blog run by someone with a day job. Take that into consideration when quoting a price.

2. How Much Experience and Training Do You Have?

Also, consider your experience and training. A few years ago, I felt lucky to be paid $5 to $10 for a post. But, not only has the market for bloggers grown, but my experience has also increased my worth. I make more than that per post now. Greater experience leads to higher pay. The longer you have been doing what you’re doing, the more you can command. Additionally, if you have been with one client for a while, your long experience might warrant a raise – especially if you can show that you have added value for the client.

Your training also makes a difference. Someone with the right background and expertise can make more as a freelancer than another person who may not have the same credentials. I may not be a financial professional, but my long experience and research in the field has helped. Plus, my training as a journalist has provided me with research, interview, and writing skills that some find valuable.

3. Quality of Your Work

If your work is riddled with grammatical errors (beyond the occasional typo), you will have a hard time asking a higher rate as a freelance writer. A freelance graphic designer whose work looks fast and cluttered will not be paid as highly as someone with crisp, professional work. Pay attention to the quality of work; if you want to ask for more, do what you can to improve it. This might include taking classes, taking more time on each project, or just practicing.

4. Other Forms of Compensation

Sometimes, compensation comes in more than just a per-unit rate. I am sometimes willing to negotiate a lower per-post rate if I am offered a traffic bonus, or if there is a revenue sharing plan in place. One of my clients lets me keep everything I earn from AdSense, in addition to a flat per-post rate. Consider what else is being offered, and negotiate based on that. If you are being offered a travel account, or if you have the potential to earn more based on traffic and other factors, it might be worth it to take slightly lower up-front pay.

5. Exposure You Offer

Finally, consider the type of exposure someone can get when they hire you. Are you a top user on a niche social media site? Tip’d may not offer awesome traffic, but someone who hires me knows that when I submit something to Tip’d it will likely make the front page (and provide a do-follow link). Consider your Twitter followers, and your other social media presences. You can also factor in your connections with others in your industry when deciding how to set rates for your freelance services.

Final Word

After taking all these factors into consideration, you  should be able to set a general range for your freelance services, and then you can negotiate on a per-client basis based on that. Do you have tips for setting freelance rates? Please share them below.

  • http://www.Savvy-Writer.com Rebecca

    Great points! Many freelance writers are afraid to set their rates and often want to know what other writers charge. Setting your freelance writing rates is personal. Writers possessing experience complemented with education can set their rates higher than most. The bottom line is to charge what you’re worth and believe clients will pay. Believe in yourself and clients will pay your rates.

  • http://www.allbusiness.com/personal-finance/2975922-1.html Miranda

    Thanks for dropping by, Rebecca. I agree that one of the keys is knowing what you’re worth. But, at the same time, it helps to have a realistic idea of what others are willing to pay you as well.

    • Smath56

      I have been self employed in another industry, but all in all you create your price by determining all of the expenses incurred and the time you spend and all of the overhead also. Each and every single penny that you have to spend, plus your time and effort to do the job, is all a considering factor in the price that you charge. If the price is too low, there is no reason to even do the job to start with. If you are not coming out ahead, then what would be the purpose in costing your own self money. You would be paying them to work for them. Nobody should ever cut themselves that bad. II am certainly not interested in paying out of my pocket to please anyone for lesser money than is owed. If it is that hard to determine a rate of pay, then the job is worthless.

  • http://knsfinancial.com Khaleef @ KNS Financial

    This is definitely the most difficult part of doing freelance or consulting work. I still need a lot of help in this area. You bring up some good points here when it comes to writing!

  • http://rumblinglankan.com Nishadha

    Setting the price is something most freelancers struggle with, I guess it depends on your workload, if you are getting steady stream of jobs then you can gradually increase the price

  • http://www.jessicaschmeidler.com Jessica S

    Sheesh. I’ve been freelance writing now for nearly a year… wish I would have found this post when I first started out! It all seems rather clear now, but this would have been absolutely priceless then!! LOL

  • http://www.MekhongKurt.com Mekhong Kurt

    Ms. Marquit, your points are excellent, particularly for the beginner.

    I never have been a website designer, but I do know (just) enough about doing it that I have done a handful of sites, all for people I know, and all, with one exception, for a set fee.

    The exception is the one worth mentioning a bit further. The person who asked me to do a website for him is a close friend who has done me countles favors over the years. What he wanted involved only four or five pages, each very simple — a few graphics, and some text, with me doing the photography — more like “snap-shooting” — and the writing, which was very straightforward and easy to write.

    Because he had done me so many favors, I told him I would make him the site for free.

    I lived to regret that. Yes, I did get a fee, at his insistence, the same I had charged others. But he told a lot of folks he wouldn’t do it again, not because of any dissatisfaction with my work, but because he distrusted my professionalism — *because* I had initially said I would do it for free. that both puzzled and hurt me, puzzled because I never have pretended any expertise — what I can do is essentially fill-in-the-box, insert-file-here, and click-and-paste, so I wasn’t trying to sell myself as a professional web designer, the latter because he knew I was hoping to develop a local niche market designing simnple websites for individuals and very small businesses with either insufficient resources or no desire to invest much (or both), folks for whom someone with my very limited set of skills could do for them, and do it satisfactorily. After all, you don’t go to the world’s top brain surgeon when all you need is a stitch or two.

    After that, I raised my rates (though they are still low, probably too low). And I’ll never evern just *offer* to do a free website again (well, okay, if *Mom* asks. . . .).

    • http://www.MekhongKurt.com Mekhong Kurt

      Jeez. Should have proof-read! “even,” not “evern”! And a capital “T” at the beginning of the sentence “That both puzzled . . .” “And “simple,” not “simnple.”

      To repeat myself, jeez. . . . ;^)

      • Smath56

        It happens to the best of us, especially when we are so intent on telling our story.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing a great informative post Miranda !

    I believe that the rates vary a great deal from one place to another, and we as freelance writer’s need to depend a lot on our personal and work experiences, nature of work, and so many other factors, before we finally decide upon what rates to quote.

    The general rate quoted on various sites can merely be as a guideline for us, as we would eventually have to make that tough decision on our own, whether to charge lower than the approximate rates, or charge more than that!

    • http://www.mirandamarquit.com Miranda Marquit

      I often visit other sites, just to get an idea of what other freelancers are charging as well. It can provide a useful guideline.

    • Treena

      Obviously you didn’t read Miranda’s article, as one of her guidelines was “no typos.” I wouldn’t hire you because you don’t know how to use apostrophes appropriately.

      • http://www.freelancewriter.co/ Harleena Singh

        Small mistakes do occur while you are commenting Treena- that is no basis to decide whether or not you should hire a person or not. It would depend upon the number of years, experiences, testimonial, and so many other factors before you make up your mind- not just based on typos you notice on a comment!!

      • Smath56

        I didn’t see a single mistake that was made. I read the article and thought it was very professional. No mistakes at all, maybe you are the one that doesn’t know what the correct manner of writing is. Did that ever occur to you?.

      • Smath56

        There is no such thing as perfection in this world we live in. This is our temporary home, until we go home, and everything becomes perfect. So quick to condemn.

      • Sheri

        Thank you, Treena, for pointing out the obvious. I have to hold my nose and fingertips when I read many posts from professional bloggers. I itch to pull out a sharp, red pencil and grade posts.

  • http://www.audiosystemreviews4you.com/magnavoxmdr513h MDR513H

    I love doing freelance work. Right now, I am much focused on the quality of work that I am doing and gaining some work experience. Rates would depend on the bids that I am doing so I guess it will be nice to get higher rate than usual. I agree with the factors that you’ve indicated. I don’t have much tips to share since I am a newbie but you already included the techniques to consider in freelance rates.

    • http://twitter.com/MMarquit MMarquit

      The tough thing about bidding on work is that you have to undercut others — and yourself. I never really liked freelance marketplaces for that reason. For the most part, I stick to the job boards and let the quality of my work hopefully get me a better paying job.

    • Smhurt2009

      How would one get into this line of work and can you tell me what the duties would include as a freelancer?

  • awais

    i want money please help me give job

  • Doable Finance

    So far as typos, what do you say to folks who can’t tell the difference between “your” and “you’re,” “who’s” and “whose” and similar mistakes. They are not typos per say. They just can’t tell the difference especially folks whose mother tongue is English. The way they say it is what comes out in their writing.

  • Nitten

    Employers in India always prefer writers who ask for lowest rate. They are always looking for freshers, so that they can easily exploit them and get their work done at cheap dirt price like- Rs 50 ($1) for 500 words article/post.

  • Rjb

    interested in freelance writing . so how can I write articles that’s sells ?

    • https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/training/online-entrepreneur-certification-getting-started-level-1/a_aid/429cf95d Wealthy Writer

      Learn how to monetize the content you create. This is something not many writers will share with you. There’s a whole new set of skills to learn. I’m not talking about writing to get by. I’m talking about becoming a wealthy writer.

    • aguafiesta

      There are loads of books and articles telling you how. But the times are changing, and it is no longer as lucrative as it used to be. As the lady said here, some write a post for five or ten dollars. And I say that is no way to earn a living. Furthermore, people stand in line to write for free these days.

      Before the web became a reality pay used to be decent in most publications.. Today no pay seem to become more and more the norm.

      However, if the urge to write is strong, and you do have something to say;go ahead: Write it!

  • Rjb

    Willing to write on any topic

  • Kevin James Parr

    I had an advert on my page that said you need us.It was a word correction company whom wished to sell me a guardian angel when attempting to write my books on line. I surrendered two brief paragraphs as requested for sample.Came back that I was illiterate. Feeling hurt I took a small passage of RLS from Treasure Island and placed it with them.It came back with so many mistakes that I went no way near. Robert must have been illiterate too so I am in good company