One of the most difficult aspects of being a beginner freelance writer is setting your rates. It’s easy to understand why! There are many different factors that can influence your rates. But it’s important that you’re not undervaluing your work. Knowing how much to charge for freelance writing is something that comes with experience.
To know how much to charge for freelance writing, consider:
- Your niche and type of writing
- Rate structure
- Project scope
- Your experience and expertise
- The platform you use
If you’re breaking into the industry and have no idea where to start when it comes to pricing your services, don’t worry. There are several things to consider that will help you run your numbers and set a price.
How Much to Charge for Freelance Writing
1. Your Niche and Type of Writing
As a beginner, it’s tempting to say yes to every job that comes your way. But the more you specialise in a niche, the more you’ll be able to charge for your work.
The current highest paying freelancing writing jobs are in the finance, travel, and digital marketing niches. Within these, different types of writing have various earning potentials. So, it pays (literally!) to be strategic about what you specialise in.
Blogging, web content, SEO writing, and similar types of work usually pay the least. Although writing for more popular blogs usually allows you to charge higher rates.
Choosing the Right Work
Above this in the ladder, things like news article writing and social media work generally pay better. This is in part because of the amount of work and research involved and the level of demand for that content.
Writing for news publications requires specific research and in some cases interviews. Social media is more popular than ever, so it’s not hard to find people who need help managing their accounts. However, you will need to have an understanding of social media marketing.
The highest paying freelance writing jobs are usually related to ghostwriting or marketing, such as copywriting, sales pages, press releases, advertisements, and email content.
2. Rate Structure
Freelance writers structure their fees in a variety of different ways. These include charging rates:
- By the hour
- On retainer, for ongoing work
- Per project/flat rate
- By the page
- By the word
It’s worth considering the type of writing you’re doing to decide the best way to charge for it. For example, for a shorter blog post that requires minimal research, it might make sense to charge by the word.
Business, technical, and marketing writers often charge per project or by the hour. Some freelancers feel more comfortable asking for a retainer. This is where the client pays a regular amount for ongoing work. So, as you can see, depending on what type of work you’re doing, a specific type of rate might work better for you and your client. Working out what to charge for your freelance writing services then depends on the type of rate you choose.
3. Project Scope
It’s important to take into consideration the kind of project you’re doing and how long it’ll take to complete it. For example, there’s a big difference in terms of time and effort when it comes to ghostwriting an entire book versus writing a 300-word article summary!
Don’t forget that your fees also need to account for non-writing time. Most freelance writers also end up editing, revising, and researching, which are time-consuming. And time is money!
For example, if you charge £40 per article and you can write it in an hour, you’ll make £40 per hour. But you most likely also need another hour to conduct some research, which means you’re in fact earning £20/hour. Add in some time for editing and perhaps publishing, and your hourly rate quickly decreases! Remember to factor these time costs into your rates.
4. Your Experience and Expertise
Freelance writers have different backgrounds and levels of experience. Previous writing experience, a relevant degree or certification, or expert knowledge allows you to charge a higher rate for your work.
Another thing to account for is your growth as a freelance writer. As you work with more clients, you might start investing in some courses or other resources that help you improve your skills. Your growth as a professional should also be a factor when setting your prices.
As you acquire new skills and develop your craft, it’s worth reviewing your rates every six months or so. This way, you can adjust them to reflect your ongoing learning and the additional benefits you can offer your clients.
5. The Platform You Use
It’s common for beginner freelance writers to join online freelancing platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer at the start of their careers. These websites are perfect for finding your first gigs and building your portfolio.
The number of clients searching for talent on these platforms is huge, so there are lots of opportunities. However, there’s also a lot of competition! So, if you’re starting out with limited experience, you might have to compromise on your rates to get your first few clients.
Ideal for Beginners
These platforms are great for beginners because they work as a middleman between clients and freelancers, providing security to both. Unfortunately, they also take a fee from your earnings. You therefore need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages before committing to a freelancing platform. Accepting that you might get more work by charging a suboptimal rate may be worth it at the start. However, you might need to move off the platform once your rates outgrow your potential market.
Online job boards are good alternatives to freelancing platforms. Sites like MediaBistro and ProBlogger often advertise better-paying jobs than those on sites like Fiverr and Upwork. Simply look through the listings to find opportunities that suit you and apply for them as you would a regular job.
Learning How Much to Charge for Freelance Writing Takes Time
As a beginner freelance writer, it’s normal to have a tough time deciding how much you should charge for your work. Initially, you may need to charge less, but as time goes on, you’ll know when to increase your prices.
When setting your prices, keep in mind the factors that influence what you can charge for your freelance writing – your niche and type of writing, the amount of time and effort that goes into your work (including non-writing time!), your experience, and the platform you’re working on (if applicable).
If you want to learn more about becoming a successful freelance writer, check out these other articles on the Sophical Blog.