How Much Should I Charge for Writing?

How often do you get an e-mail from a prospect who asks, “I need help with my web site’s content” or “I need five articles on such ‘n’ such topic”… “How much do you charge?”

Web content — one page takes less time than five pages. Even one page can vary depending on the page’s content. Will you provide information, content, etc.? Or do you want me to come up with it from scratch?

Five articles. 500 words vs. 1000? About social networking or some obscure medical topic targeted to those in the medical profession? Big difference. Writing doesn’t have a standard process like other jobs.

New writers have emailed me asking how much should they charge for a project. As if I can give them a magic number. Like Deb says, our experiences vary so what I charge won’t work for most people. Not only does our writing experience differ, but also our topic knowledge.

This formula should help most writers get started in the scary world of coming up with rates. Yes, it’s scary. After lots of practice, I’m more comfortable providing quotes — but my stomach still stirs whenever I press, “Send” with my quotes.

  1. Start by figuring out how much you want per hour.
  2. Estimate how long it will take you to get the job done.
  3. Add 10% to that time because there is almost always something to make the assignment take longer.

After gaining experience, you won’t need to focus on how long it takes to do an assignment. You’ll get faster in some assignments. So if you charge $20 per hour and an assignment originally takes five hours, that’s $100.

With experience, the assignment takes you only one hour. $20 isn’t fair anymore. Instead, charge a flat fee such as $100. You factor in experience.
However, for some clients — I charge by the hour because they’re open engagements. I adjusted the hourly rate based on experience.

Doing enough assignments and quoting will help you come up with rates to use as the baseline. The experience will help you get a handle on rates and feel good about giving quotes.

So when a writer asks me how much to charge, don’t be offended when I don’t offer numbers and point to resources instead.

What works for you?

4 thoughts on “How Much Should I Charge for Writing?”

  1. Freelance writers will always have to answer this question. So, it’s best to prepare an answer you are comfortable with and can sound natural when repeating it to clients. Otherwise, you’ll always get that ball in the pit of your stomach. And that ain’t no fun at all.

    Nice way to cover some old ground Meryl.


    The Freelance Writer’s Blog’s last blog post..Blog Posting Rates: 6 Things to Consider Before Lowering Your Rate

  2. I dont only charge for the hours, i also charge for the complexity of a article 🙂 how complexer the higher the price gets 😀
    ( this works in the Netherlands and for Turkish company i really have no idea how it works in other countries )


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