When launching your freelance writing career, at some point you’re going to have to sit down and figure out what you need to charge for your services!

As you gain confidence, this will become easier to “stick to”, because at first, you’ll be scrambling for work for both income and to build your portfolio.
However, before you can have anything to tell people is your rate, you have to figure it out!

Method 1 – The Market

The first method is the least preferable, but really can never be ignored. Simply go out and find out what people are offering their services for and match it! The range is very wide, so be prepared.

Content mills like upwork will have overseas writers working for a penny or less a word, meaning a standard 500-word blog post could be had for about $10 — and you’ll be surprised how many times you’ll see $8 or $7!

Fiverr is only a bit better, and there are many English-native writers on there pounding out 200, 300, and 500-word articles for just $5

Next, you’ll find a lot of listings for the $10-$20 range. One great example is there are a lot of news sites, that tend to lean either conservative or liberal, that will pay for 2 posts a day at $10-$15 a post. A nice way to fill in, but these can be surprisingly time consuming as you have to scour the political sites, reference your sources, and provide creative commons images for the article.

Above that, you’ll find blogs and content companies that will pay $20 and up for articles. These have higher standards to meet, often are getting much more topic focused, and have grammar and spelling reviews to keep you on your toes. Some of the top freelance writers I know make upwards of $100+ for their articles.

I have both turned down work because it was too cheap — I won’t write for $5 as I feel it devalues the entire industry — and negotiated down slightly to meet a clients budget.

Let your workload and income needs be your guide, but also keep in mind Method 2

Method 2 – Your Minimum Rate

The best method, but one which requires you to be very honest with yourself, is to determine the minimum per-article or per-word rate you’ll require to live.
It works like this:

  1. How much do you want to earn this year?
  2. How many hours a week do you want to invest to achieve that?
  3. How many articles will you write in that time?
  4. Add for taxes you need to take out.
  5. Find your minimum article rate.

Here’s a quick example.
Sally wants to make a solid income working around the time constraints of her young family. She’s like to make $24,000 and figures she has 5 hours a day, 5 days a week available to focus on this.

$24,000/52 weeks = $461.54 a week
10 hours a week = $46.15 an hour

Now we add for taxes. Assuming a 28% tax bracket, $46.15/0.72 = $64.1 per hour(note, if you assume any other expenses for your home-office, they should be added in as well. For simplicity in this example, I won’t)

Now, if Sally has enough work, and each blog post doesn’t require a lot of research, sourcing, or finding images and she believes she can do two articles an hour, she’ll need to charge $32 an article to hit this goal. Also means she’s writing 10 articles a day at that rate.

Achievable, sure. Will she hit this out of the gate in launching a freelance writing career? Probably not. She’ll have to take some $15, $20 and $25 articles, some will take longer than 30 minutes.

But now she knows what she’s aiming for!

The honesty I mentioned above? Reviewing your writing and answering humbly if your writing is deserving of the rate you’ll be asking clients to pay!

Be flexible, but keep in mind your ultimate desired rate! You will have to take some lower paying jobs at times, and others that will be right where you want them. Having calculated this, now when a client asks for your rate, you can say with confidence!

Author: Jon Patrick