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Freelance Fees Guide: What Should You Be Charging?

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Article by Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin © 19 December 2017.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

Whether you’re already a freelancer or you’re in the process of considering a career change in the New Year, one of the first things you need to think about is how much you’re going to charge for your writing services. A lot of people dive headfirst into a freelance position without really thinking about the financial logistics of the job, so we’ve compiled some top tips to make sure you’re not underselling your skills.

Different types of freelancer rates

To set the correct writing rates, you first need to understand the form of rates there are. There are five common categories:

These are the most common types of rates in the freelance world, especially for those who are just starting out as a self-employed writer. Your client should inform you of the type of rate they’re willing to pay, but if not, this is something that should definitely be clarified before you start.

If you’re looking to work with a client on a long-term basis, you should aim to avoid charging an hourly fee. Generally, continuing to work on the same projects for the same client will make you work a lot faster, and therefore your average hourly rate will begin to decrease.

What type of writing are you charging for?

Next, you need to know the type of writing that you’re charging for and how your writing falls within the spectrum of other freelance writers. Some of the most common examples at the lower end of the spectrum include web copy, blogging and SEO writing and the higher end tends to be feature articles such as in magazines that will vary in price depending on length, audience and the amount of research that is required.

If you’re looking for high-paying freelance work, keep your eyes peeled on sites like CV-Library for projects that include technical writing, medical and scientific writing and marketing/PR projects that include commercial campaigns and advertorials.

Establishing your pricing strategy

When pricing jobs for clients there are therefore are two main factors to consider: what type of project it is and how many hours it will take you to complete. Although there are some online tools to help you calculate your freelance rate, we’ve come up with some general guidelines that you might want to follow for certain projects. The following are based on hourly rates for a typical UK freelancer:

  • Online guest post/SEO friendly blog article (500 words in length): £10-£25
  • Write and distribute a press release: £50-£100
  • Writing and designing a CV or Resume: around £50
  • Create an advertorial (500-700 words in length): €50-£120
  • Manage a social media campaign with rich engagement: £50-£120

Guided by the Society for Editors and Proof Readers, editorial rates should be in the region of:

Proofreading £23.35
Copy-editing £27.15
Substantial editing, rewriting, development editing £31.30
Project management £33.80

Many editors work out their rates based on word counts as they know how long it takes them to work on an extract, however, it’s vital you see the piece of work before quoting as quality can vary considerably.

Other factors to consider

There are other factors that you need to take into consideration before you talk to your client about payment:

  • Time frame – if this is a job that’s needed very quickly, this should be reflected in your rate.
  • Take into consideration the type of client you’re working with. For example, for nonprofit clients such as charities, you may want to charge a little less. For large corporations, you shouldn’t feel bad about charging more.
  • Will the project gain you a byline or not and do you get to keep your copyright?
  • How much work is there to do? If the client is offering an ongoing project that’s quite high in volume, you need to take this into consideration.

Of course, as your skills continue to improve you should adjust your rates accordingly. Usually, freelancers tend to do this every three to six months unless they manage to land themselves a hugely impressive project. As with anything it’s important that you understand your skillset, your market and your customer before setting prices. Do your research!

(c) Dele Orotayo


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Writing.ie has been developed and is run by Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin who founded The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and is Ireland's leading literary scout. Vanessa is represented by literary agent Simon Trewin and writes crime as Sam Blake. LITTLE BONES will be published by Bonnier's Twenty7 imprint in May 2016. Vanessa is the Chair of Irish PEN and the Irish and Eurozone Adviser to the international organisation The Alliance of Independent Authors.