Don’t Sell Yourself Short: Freelance Writing Fees


There are two primary ways that freelance writers price their work: By the hour and by the word. For the new freelance writer it can be confusing trying to decide which to use and it can be difficult to explain the matter to potential clients.

I’m certainly not going to tell anyone that they way is good or bad. I just know what works for me.

You answer an ad looking for a freelance writer to write blog posts. The offer is for $100 a month. If you have no experience or are in need of money that can sound pretty good. When you inquire further you are told that they are quick and easy to write and need to be written daily. If you noticed that I highlighted that phrase it’s because this is one of the most hated phrases to freelancers of all fields. It’s generally said or written by someone who has no clue and it also means that the post/article/website change is going to be more detailed and complex than the riddle of the Sphinx.

Assume that you decide to take the job. After doing it for a couple of weeks you have learned the following things:

  • You have to write the posts to a minimum of 250 words
  • You have to insert links
  • You have to insert tags
  • It must green light on SEO

It takes you roughly 20 minutes to do the post. There are a couple of ways that you can look at this: Per post and per hour. The per post rate is roughly $3.23 or $9.69 per hour. If you look at it per word it’s about $0.01 per word.

That’s not very good. If you are paid via Pay-Pal and you have to pick up the fees you are making about $9.15 an hour. If you need the money then it’s better than nothing; barely.

Some blog posts want more and some less. These things will alter the numbers above. You have to decide if it’s worth it to you. Now if you have no income or are just starting out, it’s great while you are looking for better paying gigs. Otherwise, you might want to pass. Textbroker pays better. So keep looking for better paying gigs. If you are doing 2-3 of these a day, that’s fine. You get a little cash and still have plenty of time to hunt for more work.

I generally prefer to charge by the word. Keep in mind, I can turn out about 1,000 words in around 30 minutes. So it’s in my best interest to charge that way.

If I feel that the project is going to require more than the normal amount of research I will sometimes charge by the project or raise my per word rate to compensate for the additional research.

The one thing I never do is charge by the hour. I have known far more freelancers than I care to admit that have been insulted by potential clients who think that they will be cheated by a per hour rate. They can normally understand the per word rate and a project rate. But for an hourly rate they seem to want to stand over you and watch. I just prefer to avoid the matter entirely.

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4 Responses to Don’t Sell Yourself Short: Freelance Writing Fees

  1. Pingback: Freelance Writing: Should You Specialize? | Freelance Writing Adventures

  2. Pingback: Your Questions About Freelance Writing Rates

  3. Pingback: Pass it on Before You Pass On « Thea Atkinson

  4. Good post. I have a very active freelance career. I NEVER charge by the hour. It makes no sense to me for article writing/ghosting etc. My base rate is .05 per word. My quote can vary depending on the type of work, and I usually base it on a desired word rate. If I go over the requested word rate (I aim for the length the client wants, but I won’t stop abruptly at a particular limit if it takes a little more to finish a concept.) I don’t charge more for the overage. I’m pretty good at hitting the desired mark and I’ve never had a client complain about having 750 words instead of 700, lol.

    I also feel it is very important to accurately judge how long it will take you to complete a project for a client and let them know right up front. Keep lines of communication open, especially if that time quote goes awry, but always try to at least deliver by the deadline. My motto is under promise over deliver. If I quote a 4 day deadline for a project, I already have it in my mind that I can normally complete it within 2 or 3 baring any unforeseen complications. Clients are thrilled that they get their work faster, and I have a cushion of an extra 2 or 3 days in case there is some personal disaster happening, the power goes out, the internet goes down or any number of problems that can happen.

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