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As a freelancer, you’re often able to set the rates at which clients pay for your services. However, whose to say what the best rate to charge is? You don’t want to short-change yourself, but you also don’t want to scare away clients. So, how do you go about charging a reasonable rate?
There’s really no easy answer, and most of the time it depends on your skill and the job at hand. In the end, the best rate to charge depends on the freelancer and the client. It’s all about what you think the project is worth and then comparing it to the client’s idea.
In other words, don’t be afraid to haggle over a price. Negotiation is part of being a freelance writer.
What’s a Good Rate to Charge?
In reality, I’ve worked on projects ranging from $0.01 per word up to nearly $0.25. It usually depends on several factors when coming up with your own fees. Some jobs are simply easier than others while some clients want specific details.
I’m not saying you should start off charging a quarter per word, but you do need to carefully analyze each project and contract. Sometimes it’s not worth the trouble if you’re only making a few dollars on the materials.
Things to Weigh When Determining the Best Rate
When I started writing full-time, I was making about $0.01 per word using Textbroker. Thanks to my abilities as a typist and how quickly I can research a topic, I was able to replace my income as a network technician for the school district.
This doesn’t mean I was content with a penny per word. Since then, I’ve developed my skill and attracted a lot of lucrative clients. I can’t say you’ll have the same experience as it is up to you with how far you take freelancing.
However, here are a few things you need to consider when trying to determine the best rate to charge your clients.
Decide if it’s Per Word or Per Project
Are you going for a per-piece fee or charging a certain amount per word? If you use systems like Textbroker, then you’ll focus more on cents-per-word. Outside of those systems, though, you can determine whether you want to stick with that template or not.
Personally, I find it easier to stick with a per-word rate. Well, outside of having a retainer – which means you’re paid regardless of how much work you produce. It’s easier on me and gives the client an idea of what to expect when deciding to run with an 800 or a 1,000 word article.
Your Skills as a Writer
Perhaps one of the most important aspects to weigh when determining the best rate is your overall skill. And be honest with yourself.
How fast can you type? How good are you at researching topics? Can you quickly create a quality piece the client is simply going to love?
A lot of clients will gladly pay more for an article that shines than be cheap with something that is sub-par. After all, it’s the content that connects with guests and shoppers.
Your Knowledge of the Topic
Having a clear grasp of the subject not only makes the project easier on you, but it also impacts the quality of the piece. When you’re writing about something you know very well, it shows.
This doesn’t mean you have to charge less for certain topics, though. If you’re capable of putting in some in-depth research and creating a piece that looks amazing, you can easily pass it off as “expert.”
It’s all about delivering quality material every time.
The Project’s Timespan
Having a flat rate for freelance writing is one thing, but what if it’s a subject you don’t know or that will take you longer to complete? As a freelancer, time is money. The longer you spend on a project, the less value it has to you.
I had moments where a simple 500 word article would take more than a few hours to complete. Considering I only received $15 for the project, it doesn’t come out to a livable wage.
Unfortunately, there is no absolute way to be positive a project is going to go perfectly in your favor. The best you can do is estimate what your time is worth and whether you’ll make enough money to pay the bills.
What You Get from a Similar Article in Brokerage Systems
A lot of the time, I’ll gauge freelance writing rates per project according to what I would get in systems like Textbroker. This is to give me a base minimum fee of what I need to pay my own bills.
Anything less than this and it isn’t worth my time. And that’s one of the key elements you need to keep in mind.
If you make more money on a brokerage system than an outside client is willing to pay you, it doesn’t make sense to accept the job. On the other hand, it may be a more permanent contract and capable of delivering enough work to live on.
Your level of professionalism is going to contribute to how much you charge for various articles. For example, if you focus on client satisfaction and delivering a good experience, you can easily increase your rate.
If you have a poor attitude, clients are less likely to agree to what they may feel is an “overpriced scam.”
In fact, my current client has turned down work from other writers because of a poor professional attitude. Which is good for me because I get more of the work and make a decent amount of money.
Treat clients well and more often than not, they’ll keep giving you work.
4 Things to Keep in Mind When Coming Up with Your Best Rate
When determining how much you should charge clients for content, you need to keep a handle of many things outside of writing. Here are several elements you need to be aware of when coming up with your own figures.
1. The Competition
The Internet is full of competition when it comes to freelance writing. This means it’s relatively easy to replace you if the rate is too high or your attitude is too low.
You want to come up with the best rate that is competitive but not exaggerated.
2. Making a Living
One mistake I see a lot of writers make is lowering their price just to get the job. Don’t feel pressured to reduce your rates for the sake of getting work. It often results in making less than you would with a different client.
The Internet is full of work for freelance writers. If a client walks away because your rates are too high, then it may simply mean that he or she is too cheap to pay for quality. It happens.
I’ve had many clients walk away from me. Instead of chasing them down, I re-examine my prices. If they’re still competitive for what I deliver, then I keep them as-is. I am busy enough where I don’t need to put my own household in financial difficulty just to write an article for someone.
3. Building on a Reputation
Your reputation is going to precede you on the Internet. How you treat clients today will impact how much you make tomorrow. It’s vital you build a reputation based in quality and commitment.
Think of it more as working on marketing yourself. You never know when a client is going to tell someone he or she knows about this “great writer” he or she has. Networking can play heavily into better contracts, more clients and more money.
4. A Detailed Profile or Portfolio
Never underestimate the value of a good portfolio or completed professional profile. This is how many clients are going to find you, whether it’s on systems like Textbroker or from a Google search.
A portfolio that glimmers helps increase freelance writing rates per word. It shows the client what they can expect by using your services. So if you have something amazing ready, clients may decide your best rate is ideal.
Finding the Right Balance
In the long run, finding the best rate to charge for freelance writing depends on a balance. It’s a balance of what’s fair to you and what’s fair to the client. While you’re trying to make money, the client is trying to save it.
Establish what works best for you, but don’t sacrifice your time for the sake of making a deal.