Questions To Ask Yourself Before Setting Your Freelance Writing Rates

Setting Your Freelance Writing Rates

Posted by on March 3, 2020

Judging by my inbox, there’s a lot of confusion out there in the writing community when it comes to setting your freelance writing rates. There’s a fine balance between what you want to make, and what you feel you can realistically charge. To find the right rate for your writing services, it helps to ask yourself these questions.

Disclosure: Sometimes my work here (and all around the web) contains affiliate links. Find out what that means here.

What’s your time worth?

This isn’t always an easy question to answer. You may know how much you want to earn per hour, but freelance writers don’t always charge by the hour. Depending on the type of writing you do you may price your services by the project, per word, or per 1000 words. However you advertise your rates, you’ll want to have an idea of the minimum hourly rate you want to make, and adjust your rates to reflect that.

How long will each project take you?

In order to assess your hourly rate, you’ll need to take a look at how long it takes to complete a typical project. For example, you may be able to finish a short blog post in thirty minutes. But it might take you three hours to write a five page report. If you want to earn an hourly rate of $50 an hour then you might decide to charge $25 for the blog post. But you’ll want to price the report at $150.

What’s the market rate?

While you may not want to base your rates on your competition, it is important to know what they’re charging. That knowledge will help you position yourself. You can market your services with your competition in mind. For example, if your rates are higher than the standard rate, you might market your services as a more exclusive product. You might stress scarcity or market your authority to justify your rates.

What’s expected of you?

What does the client expect from you? For example, can you write the content based on your existing knowledge? Or do you need to carry out research and interview people for the content? If you’re writing SEO content does the client provide the keywords or do you need to research them? More expectations will require more time and effort and therefore you’re perfectly justified in quoting a higher fee. Certain writing related skills take time to master, and are worth more money. Remember, your clients are paying you for what you can do, not just how long it takes you.

It can take 10 years to get really good at a specific skill. Your clients aren't paying you for the hour it took you to do something. They're paying for the 10 years you spent perfecting that skill. Share on X

How many of your hours are billable?

All freelancers work a certain amount of non-billable hours. You’ll always have tasks, such as marketing, record keeping, and invoicing, that you won’t be paid by a client for. Remember to factor this work in, though. Otherwise you’ll constantly find yourself either working more hours than you planned, or falling short financially on where you expected to be.

What are your financial goals?

Finally, what do you want to earn? This isn’t just about your hourly rate. Consider your weekly, monthly and annual goals. Take a look at the number of projects you have, what you’re getting paid for them, and how this will tie in to how much you’re aiming to earn this year. Keep adjusting your rates to reflect your goals. Don’t get stuck working for clients who just don’t pay enough for you to hit your own goals. You’ll only end up resenting them. CoachGlue have a great FREE report on this topic.

Of course if you’re just starting out you’re missing a lot of the above information. It’s okay to adjust your rates as your business grows and changes. It’s also okay to leave room in your agreement for adjustments. Just make sure any additional fees are cleared by the client in advance, otherwise you’ll end up having some very difficult conversations, and no freelancer needs that.


Struggling to make your first $1000 from freelance writing? Check out the Write Your Way To  Your First 1K course.

While you’re here, feel free to check out lay the useful writing tools I use every day to run my successful freelance writing business, or download my FREE list of freelance markets that pay writers, along with a few other free gifts. Or you might like the writing section over at my Amazon store.

Posted in: Writing


  1. Leave a Reply

    Newton Onukwusi
    November 19, 2020

    I have a friend who is so much interested in freelance writing and this post really gave some nice bullet points sequel to it so i will be sharing this post to her, Thanks alot.

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