When I started my freelance writing business over five years ago, I did some research to help me arrive at my pricing. What I found confused me more than helped me.
The disparity of rates among writers offering similar services is astounding.
Many freelance writers don’t post their rates on their websites. But to get a feel for the range of rates that are out there, a quick search of Upwork’s (formerly oDesk) writers turns up billable rates of $10 per hour to $100 per hour. That’s quite a variance.
As a writer, I’ll sometimes check my rates for reasonableness by using Writer’s Market’s “How Much Should I Charge” guide for writers. It lists an array of writing projects and provides “low,” “average,” and “high” rates when billing by the word or page, hourly, and by the project. The distance between the low and high ends, however, is often substantial. For example, the low rate for blogging is $6 per post and the high rate is $500.
No wonder you, as a client, don’t know what to expect or what to accept.
So what’s fair?
What Makes A Writer Worth The Price?
Besides having solid writing talent, there are other things that set good writers apart and make them worth their rates:
- They take the time to ask questions and understand the scope of projects before quoting a rate.
- They want to understand your business, your prospects, your customers, and your objectives for the content before they start writing.
- They meet deadlines.
- They’re clear about what they’ll need from you and when they’ll need it to meet deadlines.
- They’re collaborative and easy to get along with.
- They’re professional and will represent your company with integrity if you ask them to interview sources outside of your organization.
- They offer suggestions and ideas to make your project a success.
- They approach freelancing as a serious business, not as a hobby.
The last bullet point is one I should expand upon. As small business owners, freelance writers have more than just their time on task to consider when setting their rates. They pay taxes, and they incur costs for things like their phones, internet, project management tools, proposal generators, insurance, computers, printers, office supplies, invoicing and bookkeeping software, fuel for their vehicles, accounting and legal consultations, business entity formation, website development and hosting, social media management tools, and the list goes on. And after all that, they need to pay themselves.
They also need to factor in the non-billable time they spend operating their businesses (reconciling bank and credit card statements, preparing invoices, following up with prospects, networking, organizing files, updating their social media and websites, staying up to date on industry news, dealing with tech issues, etc.).
Cheap Could Cost You.
It sounds cliché, but when contracting a writer, you will often get what you pay for. Dirt-cheap writers are often cheap for a reason.
Writers who don’t have the right skills or who don’t take their work seriously, could end up costing your business far more in the long run than what you’d pay a really good writer.
- You could end up with content that sounds unprofessional.
- You might find yourself spending your valuable time requesting a significant amount of corrections or changes to content that’s far off from what you asked for.
- You could miss out on generating new business—or losing business—if assignments drag out past their deadlines.
All of those things can hurt your bottom line, so keep them in mind before you run from a writer who charges more than bargain basement rates.
Can you afford NOT to hire a good writer?
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