Section One: How to Set Your Rate

It’s not as simple as picking a number, and you’re done. There’s so much to consider, and your rate should be flexible, moving up and down with the different demands of different jobs.

Standard Freelance Writer Rates

In the ever-evolving landscape of freelance writing, standard rates can be as varied as the niches writers inhabit. For the most part, rates are influenced by factors like industry standards, project complexity, and the writer’s experience level.

For fixed-rate projects, prices might range from $50 for a simple blog post to upwards of $500 or more for in-depth technical writing.

A more flexible fixed rate is a per-word rate, which is a set amount per word you write. This can range from $0.02–$0.10 per word, depending on experience.

Basically, you really have to weigh things out before offering a fixed rate.

Hourly rates can vary from $15 per hour to $100 or more, depending on the writer’s expertise and the project’s demands. However, these figures only serve as a baseline to give you a rough idea. Let’s break it down further.  

Setting Rates

Determining your rates is a delicate process that demands a thorough understanding of several factors:

  • Job Requirements: The complexity, length, and research needed for a project should directly influence your rates. A straightforward gig deserves a fixed rate. A highly detailed job with moving factors should be played out on an hourly basis.
  • Your Experience: More experienced writers can command higher fees because they have a proven track record and expertise.
  • Market Rates: Being aware of what others in your niche are charging helps you position your rates competitively. Stay active on job sites and freelance groups on social media to get a feel for current rates.
  • Skill Level: Specialized skills or knowledge in a high-demand niche can justify higher rates. A former nurse with some writing experience could easily land a medical writing gig and demand a decent rate, for example.

Setting your rates involves balancing these factors to establish a pricing model that’s fair to both you and your clients.

Fixed Rate vs. Hourly Rate

The big conundrum! I get so many new freelance writers asking this very question. So, do you offer fixed or hourly rates? The answer is both, but there’s more to it than that.

When to Offer a Fixed Rate

If you find a job listing that appeals to you and you meet the requirements, look at what the job entails. Does it sound like your daily job will be the same throughout the course of the project? Is everything presented up front? Are there no moving factors or possibilities of big changes?

Then, offer a fixed rate. When the job is straightforward, you can usually determine how long it will take you to complete it and how much research is involved. Figure out a rough estimate for your time and come to a price that you feel will pay you fairly.

When to Offer Hourly Rates

This is the most flexible and fair way to go, in my opinion. I’ve written a 2500-word article on a fixed rate that took me about twenty minutes, and the next 2500-word article had me writing for three hours. Sometimes, this industry is unfair that way. But an hourly rate would have given me the compensation I deserved.

If you feel that the project will be lengthy, unpredictable, and have a lot of moving factors, then offer them an hourly rate. If clients are uneasy about that (some worry the writer will waste time and overcharge), then reassure them with a suggested weekly cap on hours.

Good Examples of Fixed-Rate Jobs

  • The client needs ten articles, 2500 words in length; they provide topics and briefs.
  • Someone needs a single article translated from English to French.
  • A client or company wants a regular writer to provide weekly articles on a per-word basis.

Good Examples of Hourly Jobs

  • A client wants someone to overhaul their website content.
  • A company needs you to revise, reword, and add to existing articles on their site.
  • You’re asked to create a detailed course that teaches others how to perfect a skill.

Fixed Rate Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Predictability in earnings for both writer and client; encourages efficiency in work.
  • Cons: Underestimating project complexity can lead to underpayment for the amount of work done.

Hourly Rate Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Payment reflects the actual time spent on a project; can be more equitable for complex, variable tasks.
  • Cons: Less predictability in earnings; clients may cap hours to control costs.

Choosing between these models depends on the project scope, your work style, and the client’s preferences.