Pricing

What to Charge as a Freelance Writer

what to charge as a freelance writer

One of the main questions I get asked is what to charge as a freelance writer.

If you’ve searched this question online you’re probably thinking that the answer is as scarce as a mythical creature.

The truth is that there is no set template on what to charge as a freelance writer – which makes it both exciting and frustrating.

Let me tell you a story. When I first started out, I thought that $10 for a 500 word blog post was great. I was so happy to be getting paid for my writing that I didn’t give it too much thought – I was naive. I quickly learned that $10 a pop wasn’t going to pay my bills, especially as it meant that I was actually earning under the minimum wage here in the UK. I started searching for better-paid jobs and increased my prices. These days, I typically earn between $50 – $100 per 500 word post, although that depends on research, topic and if it’s an extended contract.

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What to charge as a freelance writer

In this post, I won’t tell you what to charge as a freelance writer – as I said, there’s no set template or guidelines. But, I can give you a guide to help you set your service pricing so that you can confidently bill your clients without worrying that you’re pricing too low. However, be aware that rates vary depending on your location, niche, service and experience.

Pricing on experience

Usually, pricing for freelance writing content depends on your experience. If you have several years of experience as a freelance writer or you’re a fairly new writer but have vast experience in a certain area, then you’ll be able to charge more than someone with no experience.

One of the best guides for freelance writing rates is from Clear Voice. This guide gives you a rough estimate of what to charge based on your experience and type of content.

This guide is very much in line with what I’ve seen many freelance writers charging, but I’d recommend using it as a basic template, especially if you’re getting started.

A basic pricing guide for freelance writers

However, before you consider your income, take a moment to clearly establish your services.

Pricing per word versus pricing per project

I highly recommend pricing per project as I said in my post on how I went from $15 to $100 per hour.

By charging on a per project basis, you have a better earning potential and your fee is linked to the end result. It’s also a much more attractive process for the client. For instance, if you can write a 500 word article in one hour, some clients may gasp at a $50 per hour rate. Alternatively, $50 for a blog post may seem like a much more attractive prospect.

Your freelance services

Before you consider your rates, it’s important to establish your freelance writing services – what are you going to offer your clients. You might specialise in writing for social media, long-form blog posts or writing product descriptions.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at what you can offer.

Blog posts and articles – these may require research if it’s an extensive article or blog post. If it’s in a niche in which you’re an expert you won’t require much research. It’s important to factor research time in your price.

Pricing example for an article: If we take the Clearvoice guide into consideration, writing a 500-word article for a company based on 8 cents per word would be $40 or around £31. If you’re an experienced writer charging 50 cents per word, a 500-word article would be $250.

Whatever your fee may be for a blog post, you may decide to offer a discounted rate for bulk posts.

Web writing – web writing can include crafting different pages for websites. For example, you might be asked to write a homepage for a service provider. These pages may require a little research on the company you’re writing for.

Social media content – this may include tweets, Instagram content and Facebook posts. These are usually required in bulk, so its likely that you will charge a monthly fee based on X amount of posts.

E-books – An e-book is normally 5000 words plus. Again, pricing on a per project basis is a better option for this type of content.

For editing and proofreading, you might want to check out this guide from the Editorial Freelancers Association on common rates.

Factoring in research

If you’re writing an article or piece of content that requires a lot of research, factor this into your price. Let’s consider that you are writing an article of 1000 words for $100. If you’re comfortable with the topic, you may be able to write this within 2 hours, earning you a nice $50 per hour. However, if you’re writing about a complex topic which requires 5 hours of research, you’re earning far less for your time at just over $14 per hour. If a piece of content requires research, I normally add at least 25% onto the price, obviously depending on how much research is required.

Profitable niches

If you’re using job boards to find work, you’ll likely find that pay differs depending on the niche or topic. It’s well known that common topics like lifestyle, celebrity and home etc are less well paid than those that require more expertise. If you want to maximise your earning potential, take a look at the following profitable niches.

Technology

Healthcare

Finance

Marketing

Business

Very specific niches – for example, health insurance for business to business or report writing for the finance industry.

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I hope this post has given you a basic idea of what to charge as a freelance writer. Remember, as your experience grows so does your rate. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this topic in the comments!

How I Went From $15 to $100 an Hour Freelance Writing and Why You Shouldn’t Charge an Hourly Rate

How I went from $15 to $100 per hour as a freelance writer

This isn’t your average case study on freelance writing. In this post, I’ll go over how I went from $15 an hour to $100, why I highly recommend not pricing your fees on an hourly basis and the different types of writing you can do. 

The great thing about freelance writing is that there is no blueprint for pricing your services and for most, $100/around £79 an hour sounds pretty sweet right?

So, how did I get there?

A few months ago, I applied for a job position that required a writer and social media assistant. The fee was only $15 per hour – lower than I would normally apply for, but I wanted the opportunity to tackle some social media work in which I had zero experience, other than running my personal accounts.

Now, I wouldn’t normally advise anyone to work for a low rate, but sometimes taking a lower rate can pay off. As Elna Cain says, lower paying jobs can boost your business, especially if that gig will eventually lead to more work down the line. If you’re learning new skills or writing in a new niche, you can use this to your advantage by applying for higher paid work at a later date – when you have the relevant experience to land you that golden gig.

The $100 gig

As I said at the start, I don’t recommend pricing your services by the hour.

Why?

When it comes to charging for a project per hour, you have a limited ceiling.

Let’s imagine you start charging your clients $20 per hour.

When I first started freelancing, I worked a couple of gigs via Upwork on an hourly rate. These jobs were for blog posts and at the time, I was charging around $20 an hour. For most of these jobs, I completed the work in an hour, which basically meant I was charging $20 per 500 word article. So, while $20 an hour might not sound terrible, when you consider the amount against the project you’re completing, it’s not so great.

Let’s consider another example. Imagine you charge $50 per hour for a copywriting project. For this gig, you’re writing five pages of copy for a new website. If you completed this in 3 hours, you’d earn $150, whereas a copywriter charging a per project rate could earn at least double that amount.

But, didn’t you say that you earned $100 per hour?

A couple of months ago, I landed a job writing a pre-sales page for a beauty company. The fee was $200 and the majority of it had already been written, it just needed completely editing and some additional text. I completed the job in two hours, earning a pretty lush $100 per hour rate.

Charging per hour versus per project

When it comes to freelance writing, clients want high-quality work. Obviously, if they’re paying you on an hourly basis and have a budget then they may limit you to a certain number of hours for the project.

On an hourly rate, the chances are that you’re creating work that is worth a lot more than you are charging for. The great thing about project based pricing is that you have much more earning potential and your fee is linked to the end result of the project. All your client cares about is receiving high-quality content at the end of the project, so they don’t really care how long it took you to complete the work.

As well as limiting your earning potential, setting an hourly rate can cloud a client’s judgement.

Say a client wants you to write a 500 word article on a marketing topic and wants to know your fee. It will take you an hour to write the article, but the client isn’t aware of that.

Imagine the following options

You propose an hourly rate of $100 per hour.

You state that the fee for the article is $100.

Which one sounds more attractive for the client?

Its highly likely that the client would reject a rate of $100 per hour, unless they’re a high paying client. Why? Because it isn’t based on value. $100 for an article sounds much more reasonable and he/she may assume that it will take you longer to complete the article than it actually does.

When you’re pricing your services, consider the value of the content you’re offering rather than time.

Creating rates in relation to the type of writing you’re doing

As a writer, you may decide to charge on a per word basis, which can work well for blog posts and short articles.

For example, if you charge 10 cents per word, an article of 500 words equals $50.

However, this may depend on your niche. In general, certain niches are higher paying than others.

Lucrative niches include;

Technology

Finance

Marketing

B2B or business to business

Marketing

Certain types of writing also pays more, for example, writing content for websites usually pays more than a standard blog post or article. However, this may again depend on the niche and the extent of the content required. Below is a general overview of what you can expect. 

types-of-writing-and-fee

Remember, this is just a basic guide and your pricing will depend on the number of words required and the amount of research needed.