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Basic Guide to Freelance Writing Fees: How to Set the Bar for Beginners


To succeed as a writer, individuals have to be able to write well and find potential clients. More importantly, writers must be able to set fair rates. If the writer charges too little, they will be unable to cover all of their bills each month. When the writer charges excessively high costs, it ends up driving away clients. Like most things in life, writing fees are best in moderation. For each writer, there will be a perfect balance between cheap rates and good living.

The Same Hourly Rate Is Never Enough

Some writers will try to charge the same hourly rate that they used at their full-time job. This is almost never a good idea. In a traditional work setting, the employee does not have to cover overhead, self-employment taxes or similar expenses. To earn a good living, the writer must account for these costs. In addition to new expenses, freelance writers have to remember that they will not always have a project. The time that they spend e-mailing clients, finding jobs and bidding on projects will all work to reduce their actual hourly wage.

Calculate Bills

Before setting a pay rate, writers should figure out exactly what they need each month. They should calculate their fixed expenses and any discretionary spending like entertainment or vacations. Once this is done, the writer will still need to figure out their overhead. The cost of a new laptop, rent on a home office, business cards and other items are all business expenses. Afterward, the writer should add 40 percent to the number that they have added up. Although self-employment taxes may not equal out to 40 percent, the writer should be prepared with extra savings just in case.

Read the Contract

Even after setting a rate, freelancers must exercise caution. Certain clauses in the contract could end up costing the writer a significant amount of money. They should always read through the contract carefully before agreeing to it. Initially, they should look at the description of services and the number of edits allowed. If the project is larger than discussed or requires unlimited revisions, the writer needs to raise their rates. Likewise, the writer should make sure that the listed price is what they will actually receive. Money transfer costs, escrow accounts and freelance sites may take a cut of the actual payment. To prevent this from occurring, the writer needs to factor these costs into their price.

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