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Freelance Writer Rates – (**All You Need to Know**)

freelance writer rates
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There is no doubt about it. Freelance writer rates are all over the place. If you’re just getting started in freelance writing, it can be difficult to figure out how much to charge or whether you should charge by the word, hour, or project. Here are some tips to help you decide what your rates should be.

Freelance Writer Rates – Where to Start

freelance writer rates - all you need to know

First off, let’s talk about how you should charge your clients before we get into how much you should charge them.

1. Charge An Hourly Rate

Many new freelancers assume they should charge their clients by the hour. It makes sense on the surface of things.

When you work a regular 9 to 5 job, you get paid by the hour, but when freelancing charging by the hour leads to a road of less and less income.

Think about it.

Let’s say you charge $20 per hour when you first start writing blog posts and being new, it takes you two hours to write a 1,200-word article.

That means you would make $40 dollars.

Now, look down the road a bit.

Say a year later after you have some experience and are much faster at writing and researching, now that same article takes you an hour to write.

You just reduced your income by half and will only make $20 dollars for the same amount of work.

You don’t want that.

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Also, your clients really won’t like paying an hourly rate either. It leaves things too open-ended as they don’t really know how long it will take you to write an article.

They might even question your honesty and wonder if it really takes you two hours to write their article.

So, in general, stay away from charging by the hour.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with understanding how much per hour you would like to make, but that is different and you certainly don’t need to share that with your clients.

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2. Charge Per Word

This is what most freelance writers do. They decide how much they want to make per word and then that’s what they charge.

It’s not a bad way of going about things, but you need to be careful. There are plenty of people out there that will want to pay you pennies per word.

And let’s face it, if you’re making 3 cents per word, your word count needs to be pretty darn high to make a living and not work yourself to death.

Also, charging by the word only works for some types of writing. It is okay if you are writing blog posts for niche blog owners and other types of online writing.

But what if you are writing a white paper or an email series? Then charging by the word isn’t going to work.

3. Charge a Project Rate or Flat Rate

Charging a project rate or using a combination of per word cost and a project rate usually makes the most sense.

Before you can do this, however, you need to know just how long it takes you to write an article or complete a project such as white papers. 

If you are brand new, pick a couple of subjects and do the research and write the article. Make sure to time yourself and work at a pace that is comfortable for you.

That will give you an idea about the amount of time you need to finish a project and then what freelance rate you should charge.

Keep in mind that if you are doing technical writing or writing on a topic that you don’t know well, it will take longer to complete.

You will also want to consider how much you would like to make per hour when you are writing.

This is important because you only get paid for the writing part of a writing job. You don’t get paid for all the time spent marketing for clients, bookkeeping, or any of the other tasks that come with being a freelancer.

A freelance writing business is just that – a business, so a good deal of time will be spent on tasks that don’t pay.

Also, clients like to know what the full expense is going to be upfront, so a flat rate or project rate is going to make them happy as there are no surprises down the road.

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Determining Your Freelance Writer Rates

Once you know how you want to charge your clients then you can decide what you want to charge your clients.

While your writer rates may increase as your level of experience increases, that doesn’t mean you need to give away your time and hard work for pennies just because you aren’t an experienced writer.

It’s true that I charged less when I first got started than I did a couple of years into freelancing, but I also moved on to different types of writing that commanded higher rates.

Chances are, you will do the same as you gain experience.

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1. Rate Per Word

The first thing you need to understand is that you want to stay away from content mills. Content mills will charge per word for the articles you write, but they will keep part of the money.

Oftentimes, you will be paid just 1 to 3 cents per word.

That means you would be making between $10 dollars to $30 dollars for a 1,000-word article.

In the world of freelancing, that is nothing and it leads to burnout if you are trying to earn a living from writing.

Even as a brand new copywriter, you deserve more than this for your time. 

Before you decide on a per word rate, make sure you have figured out your income goal. You will also want to think about how many hours per month you want to write.

When I started out, I was writing part-time, and only wanted to write a couple of hours per day. Later on, I went full-time as a freelancer, and billable hours went up.

Do you want to make $30,000 per year? $50,000? $100,000?

All of those are possible and even more.

If you are charging 3 cents per word you are looking at about $15 dollars per hour and if you are charging 30 cents per word, then you should have an hourly income of about $150 dollars.

Which one sounds better to you?

Keep in mind, the type of client you have will also play a role in how much you can charge.

If you plan to write for blog owners of niche sites, then you won’t be making much more than the 3 cents per word. 

If you are lucky, you might get that up to 8 cents per word.

However, if you are writing white papers, case studies, and email series, then you are going to be much closer to that $150,000 per year income.

So, choose your clients carefully.

(Turn the writing skills you already have into a highly-paid recession-proof profession …working part-time! You’re already a writer. Find out how you can earn $100 to $150 per hour from this little-known lucrative business.)

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2. Price Per Project or a Flat Fee

The truth is, even if you are charging a flat rate for a project, you will still need to consider what you want to make per word or per hour.

As mentioned above, if it takes you an hour to write a 1,000-word article and you want to make $50 dollars per hour, then you know what your rate should be.

When I started out, I used a price range.

It looked like this:

0 – 500 words – $45.00

501 -750 words – $67.00

751 – 1000 word – $90.00

I wanted to make $45 dollars per hour. I knew it took me less than an hour to write a 500-word article, so I gave myself some cushion in case I had a subject that took more time.

Later on, I decided I wanted to make $150 dollars per hour, so my rates went up.

It may seem impossible to find clients that will pay you that much or more, but trust me, they are out there.

Of course, I also started to change the types of projects that I worked on.

Instead of blog posts, I started writing an email series and white papers.

As my skill level went up, so did my freelance writing rates. At that point, I also developed a rate guide and gave that to my clients upfront, so we would be on the same page.

The bottom line is you don’t want to work for pennies.

Your skills and time are worth a lot more than that even if you are just starting out.

The type of content you decide to write and the freelance writing niche you decide to write for will all play a part in how much you can charge.

Just be sure to take the time to determine how many hours per week you want to write and what type of income you need weekly or monthly.

This information, as well as how long it takes you to research and write will determine what you should charge.

To Sum it All Up:

Freelance writing rates are all over the place. Stay away from content mills and working for pennies. Decide what you need to make to cover your monthly expenses and how long it takes you to write. Then work backward, to determine your rates.

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