To Agree or Not to Agree: Writing for a Rate Below Your Norm

You set your rates and you write. But your content writing rates may be negotiable at times, like when the mortgage is due next week and your dog is looking at you like you’re Old Mother Hubbard. There are other times, however, when you should avoid cheaper-than-normal rates at all costs.

When to consider it

When it’s something that can lead to bigger and better things. Big, fat clients may kick off early assignments with lean, stingy pay. That doesn’t mean the client won’t increase the pay once they see how fabulous you are. After completing a few low-cost assignments that leave the client beaming, you are in a perfect position to negotiate for a higher rate. Now they know what you can do and may readily pay more to reward your awesomeness.

Another aspect to consider is steadiness. Even if a client pays a bit below your norm, if that client is offering up a steady stream of work through 2099, you may benefit greatly from taking it. Steady and freelance can be tricky words to use in the same sentence. Steady helps pay that mortgage and feed the dog.

When it can add to your experience. Going for a lower rate from a bigwig client that would look fabulous on your credit list is feasible, as is taking on a reduced rate for an assignment that offers you experience. Let’s say you normally write loads of short web content but you want to get into writing longer eBooks. It may behoove you to take on an eBook project for a lower than normal rate to get a completed project under your belt and find out what skills you need to hone to charge more for such projects in the future.

When to avoid it at all costs

When it’s ridiculous. Ridiculous rates can be the norm on sites where random writers from across the globe bid on equally random projects up for hire. You thought your bid of $100 was more than fair. Until you see another writer bids $10. Don’t underbid yourself just to nab a job. Forget it and find something else to do. Maybe your neighbor’s lawn needs mowing?

When it will create resentment. Never take on a job that’s going to set up resentment. This scenario can only result in horrible things. You’ll be irked from the get-go and most likely end up doing a stinky job. The client will send it back for revisions, which gets your resentment bubbling to a boil. You and the client may go back and forth with nasty notes until SOMEONE ENDS UP TYPING IN ALL CAPS AND EVEN USING WORDS LIKE F@?!.

That’s just one scenario where the cost of the writing is the least of your worries compared to the high cost of taking on a gig that sets you up for seething. The outcome can easily ruin your relationship with the client, mar your professional reputation and, perhaps most importantly, annihilate your serenity.

Ryn G is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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