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Freelance Writing – Guidelines for Setting Your Rates

freelance writing ratesMost freelance writers have a difficult time deciding how much to charge for jobs. When it comes to freelance work, one cannot just set a fee and apply it to every client. The following are some of the factors that need to be considered deciding on your rates.

What does the work involve?

To give a proper quote for a project, you need to have full understanding what it involves. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Type of job – Is it a press release, product review, sales letter or an article? The kind of job it is will have a major influence on the fee charged. For instance, a 500-word sales letter for a major firm would pay more than a 500-word post for a home improvement site.
  • Page/word requirement – How much are you expected to write? The more pages or words, the higher the rate
  • Deadline – Find out when the work is due. If you feel the time is too limited, inform the client. Avoid work which will put you under pressure, and probably compromise your standards. However, if the short deadline cannot be changed, make sure it is factored in your rate.

What is your level of experience/knowledge?

Specialist writers usually charge higher fees compared to those who are starting out in freelance writing. You should therefore work towards being an expert in your subject of interest. When applying for work, inform your client about your area of specialization. Set your rate based on your level of experience.

Who owns the rights?

Rates can vary significantly depending on who owns the rights to a piece of work. Usually, writers surrender full rights for their work. However, due to the writers’ ignorance, most clients get away without paying for full rights. This is why you need to insist on a contract before undertaking any work.

How much research is needed?

When setting your rate, don’t forget to factor in research, especially if it is a job which will require you to spend many hours in travel, reading or material preparation. For such projects, calculate your fee by the hour rather than on the basis of output.

Are there extra expenses?

Extra costs could include anything from courier costs, traveling costs and postage costs, to making phone calls. Never underestimate the importance of such expenses. Always make sure they are factored in to the contract.

What is the going rate?

To get an idea of the goings on in your industry, you need to find out what others are charging. You could visit a few writer forums to ask for advice. In addition, there are numerous freelance writing sites which can give you an idea of the going rates for similar projects. Don’t forget to check online job boards as well.

If a potential client is offering a fee which is too low, you could negotiate for better terms. In case they are not willing to budge, walk away. On the contrary, if the payment being offered is very high, take the job right away!

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