This is a tough question because freelance writing rates are all over the place. Even so, there is an easy way to determine what you should be charging, so instead of asking how much do freelance writers charge per hour, you should really be asking, what is the right hourly rate for you and your personal situation.
How Much Do Freelance Writers Charge Per Hour?
The truth is, most don’t charge enough. You’ll find writers charging $5 dollars an hour, $15 dollars per hour, and even $25 or $30.
The problem is if you want to make a real full-time income and even a great income, you need to charge more for a lot of reasons.
I know if you are new and just getting started, you might be thinking no one is going to pay you $30 or $50 or $100 dollars per hour, but you’d be wrong.
If you find your own clients, as you should, you decide what your time is worth. Then you just need to find clients that agree.
The truth is there are plenty of clients that will pay you top rates, so don’t settle for bottom dwellers that want to lowball you.
I can tell you right now that clients that don’t want to pay you much of anything or don’t want to pay your rate, will be the most difficult clients to deal with.
Make your life as a freelance writer easier by working with people who understand the value you bring to their business.
Don’t work with people that you have to convince of your value because it is a losing battle.
So, how do you decide what to charge per hour?
You need to take the following into consideration.
1. How Much of Your Time Is Spent Writing
Keep in mind, when you are a freelance writer, you are a business owner. There are many tasks you have to do that aren’t writing.
You might need to:
- Answer emails
- Find new clients
- Send invoices
- Follow up with clients
- Do the necessary accounting for your business
And so on…
Guess what…you don’t get paid for any of these activities.
You only get paid to write.
So, if you’re charging $10 dollars per hour, you might only be writing 10 or 20 hours per week, even less when you are just starting out.
That means you would only be making $100 to $200 dollars per week or $400 to $800 dollars per month and that is before taxes.
I don’t know about you, but I know I couldn’t pay my bills with that kind of income.
That means the first thing you need to take into consideration is how many hours per week will you be writing?
As I mentioned, when you are first getting started you won’t have a lot of clients, so you won’t be writing that much.
As you grow in your business, you will be spending more and more time per week writing, so your income will go up.
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2. How Much Time Do You Want to Be Writing
This is the flip side.
How many hours per day or week do you want to be sitting at your desk writing?
While writing isn’t physically demanding, it is mentally demanding. It is difficult to sit there and write four or five, let alone eight hours a day every day.
When I started freelance writing, my goal was to write two hours a day.
I know that sounds crazy, but I’m kind of lazy. The truth is, I worked more than that, and I had some really long days, but still, my goal was two hours of writing time.
Your first task is to decide how many hours per week you want to write.
3. How Much Money Do You Need to Pay Your Bills
Next, you need to know what all of your expenses add up to each month.
You’ll want to take into account all of your monthly expenses such as:
- Mortgage or rent
- Car payment
- Insurance for car and health
- So on and so forth…
Once you have a good understanding of all of your expenses per month you’re getting closer to being able to find what you should charge per hour.
For example, my expenses are pretty low. I live in the middle of a cornfield in a very small town in the midwest, so living expenses are nothing compared to someone living in New York or California.
My monthly bills are about $800 dollars.
That includes living expenses and utilities, internet, and the rest.
Then you need to add in food, entertainment, and other smaller expenses.
When all is said and done, let’s say I need $1,500 dollars per month to cover everything.
For a lot of people, it will be much higher.
For some, maybe a little lower.
Let’s Determine What You Need to Charge Per Hour as a Freelancer
Okay, so you know what you need to make per month to pay your bills and live comfortably.
You also know how many hours per week or month you want to write, keeping in mind all other activities you don’t get paid for.
Let’s say that you need to make $2,500 dollars per month, pre-tax.
And your goal is to write 20 hours per week or 80 hours per month.
That means you would need to charge $31.25 dollars per hour to meet your needs.
($2,500/80 = $31.25)
Now for me, when I first started, I went about this a little differently.
I decided I wanted to make $45 dollars per hour.
About a year into my freelance writing career, I upped that to $100 per hour.
When I first started I was freelance writing part-time, so I wasn’t worried about covering all of my expenses as I taught college part-time as well.
Keep in mind, I really only wanted to be writing two to three hours per day at the most.
I also had a goal that I wanted to make $100 to $150 dollars per day.
That meant there was one more step for me to take to determine how much to charge per hour.
That was how fast I could write.
I knew I could write and research a 500-word article in about 30 to 40 minutes. So if I charged $45 dollars per hour, I could make my $100 to $150 dollars per day pretty easily.
Now here is maybe the most important part of this –
You never…ever…want to charge by the hour!
When you charge by the hour, over time you lose money.
Because as you gain experience, you start to write faster and you have to do less research, so your income goes down.
So, why bother to come up with an hourly wage?
It’s for you.
You need to know how long it takes you to write and how many hours per day you need to write and how much income you need before you can know what to charge your clients.
I never charged a client by the hour.
I figured out that $45 dollars per hour for writing was a good rate for me and I knew I could write a 500-word article in less time than that, so instead of charging $45 dollars per hour, I charged a flat rate, and that’s what you want to do.
When you know what you want to make per hour and you know how long it takes you to write a set number of words, then you can easily figure out what you want to charge as a flat rate.
You Can Find Freelance Writing Clients Even If You Are New
It is much easier to find clients than you may think.
Not to mention, there are more than enough that will pay you what you deserve.
Don’t be afraid to charge higher rates.
Let me tell you when I was charging only $45 dollars for a 500-word article, I ran into clients that were concerned they might not be able to get the quality they were looking for at that low of a rate.
After about a year of freelance writing, I did up my rates to $100 per hour.
Sure some of my clients couldn’t afford that, and I had to drop them.
This is business.
Keep in mind, when you decided you wanted to become a freelance writer, I can guarantee, you weren’t thinking you wanted to write for pennies.
You wanted to be a success, and you wanted to make a good living.
Freelance writers can make a 6-figure income if they know what they are doing and go after the right clients.
That’s what your goal should be, and you can obtain it.
Forget about pouring your heart and soul into projects that only pay a couple of cents per word.
You can earn much, much more, once you know how to write for this little-known, but highly lucrative market. In fact, one writer, S.F., routinely gets paid $2 per word to write some projects that are only 250 words in length! To learn more, click here.
To Sum it All Up:
Freelance writing rates are all over the place. When you think about what you should charge, consider how many hours per day or week you will be writing and the amount of money you need to make to cover your monthly bills. This will give you the number you are looking for.