Setting the right freelance writing rate is a complicated task. How can you calculate the freelance fee that you think is fair?
How much should a 500-word content piece cost? There are millions of freelance writers who charge per word as their freelance writing rates - is it the right way to do it? How do you calculate a freelance writer's time and effort in terms of money?
The freelance writing business is difficult to scale, and even more so, to sustain, and that's exactly why you are reading this article.
These questions may come to mind while you are searching for freelance writing jobs or projects. And a plethora of information, especially from the wrong source, can prove to be detrimental. For this reason, experienced writers must have a plan; otherwise, you will end up spending years writing for average freelance writing rates.
So, how much should a freelance writer charge?
A new job requires some background research. A new writer cannot charge a thousand dollars for an article in a day. Writing services will become meaningless if you cannot provide your client with valuable content that can drive leads and generate revenue for them.
Every writer is unique and has a different writing speed, business goal, pricing model, and writing skills. In the latest edition of the Peak Freelance's annual Freelance Writing Rates report, it was surveyed that around 213 writers gained insight into how much they should ask for their freelance writing services.
The major highlights of this report are:
- 2+ years of experienced freelance writers earn up to $100k.
- The most common freelance writing rate for a 1,500-word blog is $250 to $400.
- The most common freelance writing rate for white papers is $500 to $1000.
- Most freelance writers charge zero amount for ghostwriting, and for those who do, most of them charge a premium amount, i.e., between 15% to 20%.
- The widely used pricing model is on a project basis.
- The biggest source of referrals for high-paying writing gigs is word-of-mouth.
Freelance writing status in 2022
Freelance writers are a crucial asset. During the COVID-19 situation, most consumers and businesses moved online, and freelancers became even more popular.
To understand why freelancers enjoyed a higher demand during the pandemic, you need to go through the stats, i.e. around 16% of freelancers just joined the industry in November 2021 and about 19% joined a year ago. While the majority of freelancers, approximately 65%, have already been writing for two to ten years.
While understanding the freelance writing niches, it was noted that one industry enjoyed more demand than others. Some (27%) worked in software while other freelance writers (14%) worked for content agencies, and nearly 12% of them wrote for eCommerce.
Thus, understanding the niches in which writers work can help us move to the next section. It helps in acknowledging the changes. The vast majority of freelance writers usually earn less than $30,000 yearly.
The next income level was up to $50,000, which 18% of freelancers claimed was their annual earning in 2020. When you do the math, many writers make less than $50,000 in a year.
This means there is still room for improvement and a better project pricing model. The pricing can differ project and content-wise.
How much should freelance writers charge for blog posts?
The blog post is the most famous writing service as 98% of writers offer it to their clients. A client desires regular work to keep a strong hold on the search engine results. Usually, per post rate for a 1,500-word blog post charged by 27% of writers is between $250 to $400. Only 8% of writers charge four figures or even more.
How much does a freelance writer charge for a white paper?
White papers are comparatively lengthier than blog posts. It is used for content marketing purposes to attract leads. Over 50% of freelancers offer white paper writing services to their clients.
Only 10% percent charge between $500 and $1,000, while over 55% charge more than this and around 17% charge $3,000. It was noticed that many freelance writers picked up white paper assignments, considering the project scope.
Along with considering the type of the project to decide your prices, you need to understand what way is better to charge your existing clients.
Is charging an hourly rate better for a freelance writer?
The hardest truth is that, when you need the money, you will accept the rates no matter how low they are. For many writers, it is exciting to earn $15 per hour. While, after a few months, they might feel they are charging low rates and it is unsustainable.
Freelancing can be stressful if you aren’t making enough money and now face the threat of needing to get out of the industry. That’s why many writers end up working overtime on the content they don't even like.
So, if you enjoy freelancing and your clients appreciate your work, then the time to ask for a raise has come. Although, it can be extremely difficult to raise prices when charging at an hourly rate. For instance, making a jump from $20 to $100 will make you lose your clients.
Also, even charging $100 per hour won't help you as you can't stay active for 40 hours every week since a lot of time is spent on marketing, preparing invoices, and searching for new writing jobs.
That’s why it is more profitable to move to a “value-based” project pricing.
Transition to value-based project pricing
You simply match your performance with your current pricing to switch the recent client work from a flat fee to a reasonable rate. For example, let’s say you have taken a project of four blog posts at $20 per hour, and you spent around five hours to complete it, thereby earning $100 every month.
If you would like to start charging based on the value you provide, consider changing it to a per post basis. Now you can charge a set project price for each individual post, earning more money than you would have working for an hourly rate. Just share an email to inform your existing client about the change.
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Top takeaways on freelance writing rates
- Knowing the charges of other writers helps you in deciding your freelance writing rates.
- Raising questions to understand the job-related specifications will assist you in charging higher rates.
- Because something paid well earlier doesn't mean it will pay well now.
- Search for writing niches that pay higher such as ghost blogs.
- Find the areas where only limited writers are available. This way, you can charge high freelance writing rates as the competition is limited.
- Journalism fees are difficult, and a freelance writer looking for higher income should go for diversified business clients.
- If you are taking sales pages or content marketing pages, make sure they pay you well.
- Find top-drawer clients to earn better, instead of hunting them on bid sites, content mills, or agencies.
- Build your network, create a writer's website, and request referrals to boost inbound marketing.
Here are some pillars to help you fix your freelancing writing rates
The project scope - A post of 1,000 words with limited research versus a heavily researched blog must be subjected to different project rates. Charging a universal rate for all kinds of projects is not wise. Pricing depends on the content worth to your client, research needed, and difficulty level.
Location - The writer's living location and lifestyle impacts his personal expenses like utilities and housing, which influence his per post rate.
Industry of your client - A company associated with the technology industry will be willing to offer higher prices than a small business unit. You need to charge accurately based on the market, not just your experience. You deserve a reasonable rate whether you are an experienced writer or not.
Expenses - You need to keep your taxes, nominal costs, and freelance tools charges in mind while fixing your project rate with your prospective clients. These tools have a positive impact on the client's content.
Benefits: Retirement, insurance, and vacation time won't pay for themselves!
Experience: Your writing skill level and other valuable skill sets, like SEO, editing, and marketing.
You've got the basics about setting your freelance writing rates down. Now you're ready to fix them! Finally, no matter what a rate guide says or what others are charging, charge what you need to support your lifestyle. As you can see in this data, an elite sector of freelance writers are earning great rates. Why can't that be you? Usually, it's because you're simply not identifying better clients and asking for an appropriate rate. Value your time and skills, and clients will, too.
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