Determining How Much to Charge for Your Work

Whether you have just received your first freelance writing job or have been at it for a while, determining the price to charge for your services can be one of your greatest challenges. (Just imagine: Asking for money being harder than actually doing the work!) It’s not all that different from someone asking you to give three good and bad traits about yourself: The bad ones likely come easily, while the good ones are more of a struggle. You have to not undervalue (and for some, overvalue) yourself when it comes to freelance work and freelance writing online. The price is the customers’ first taste of your quality of work. Remember that time is your most valuable commodity, so don’t shortchange yourself. Follow my tips with these steps to come up with a fair price for your work.

What do you need to survive?

Figure out how much money you want to make annually and use that to determine an ideal minimum hourly rate. So if you want to make a minimum of $45,000 annually while averaging 40 hours a week  that breaks down to $21.63 an hour. You may want to work more or fewer than 40 hours a week, so adjust the numbers to suit your needs. You will need to remember that taxes are not being withheld and you are responsible for filing and paying your taxes at the end of the year.

Look at the competition.

Next, look at the going rates of fellow freelancers. Find ones that do the same type of work in your area as well as any companies that offer the same services. So if you are going to be writing press releases, look at the rates of local public relations firms as well as other freelance press release writers. You will likely be substantially cheaper than the firms and should be in the same ballpark range as your fellow freelancers. You can find national averages for prices of various types of freelance work in Writer’s Market. You can find the rates of fellow freelancers by word of mouth or by looking at the rates charged for freelancers in your area on sites like oDesk.com and checking out local firms’ websites. Writer’s Market is another great resource for how and where to sell your work; there are articles and other tools to help you find the right price and market for your work.

Factor in experience

You will want to factor in how much professional experience you have in the field and raise your hourly rate to coincide. So if you are in college and have very little experience outside of the classroom, your rates will start low and go up as you get some projects under your belt.

Per Hour vs. Per Word vs. Per Project

Deciding how much to charge varies on the client, but you can easily figure them all out with your hourly rate. Determine how much time you will have to invest in a particular project and use your hourly rate to calculate a total for the project. To determine the rate for an article that has a set word amount figure out how many words you can write per minute and use the hourly rate to determine how much you would charge per word. Some current average rates are as follows: $70/hour copywriter, $68/hour content writer, and medical writer $90/hour.

Jessica J. is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments. WriterAccess is powered by ideaLaunch.


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