How to Charge for Freelance Writing
Written by
Cindy M. Jones
July 2016
Written by
Cindy M. Jones
July 2016

he other day someone posted a question in one of the Facebook groups I belong to.

It's a question that I am regularly asked as a freelance writer.

"What is the typical hourly rate for a content writer (creating website/email sales copy) might be?"

One of our members answered with some practical advice.

"I started as a copywriter, and it's hard to say what's typical. Some people work practically for free while top sales writers might charge thousands for long form marketing copy.  My advice is to charge per project rather than hourly. You almost always make more that way. Personally, for someone brand new, I think $25 for up to 500 words is a good "foot in the door" rate. However, I wouldn't stay there for long. Once you get a few references under your belt, I would raise rates to at least 10 cents per word."

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With that advice, I chimed in with my answer.

"I make around $12.50 per hour for two of my clients. But for another client I have a set rate per month that includes 2 blog posts, a every-other-month magazine blurb of 150 words, and I manage their Facebook page. I pitched them a low rate just to get their business but after creating a schedule, it's paying off nicely. I started out at $10 per hour as a virtual assistant and from there learned to set a pay-by-project fee instead. For my tourism clients I make almost double because it's per project pay and not an hourly wage.  Your rate also depends on what industry you work with. Generally I make anywhere from $12.50 - $25 per hour with my specialty evolving around real estate and tourism. Time management is key."

I did start out at $10 an hour and only 5 hours a week as a virtual real estate assistant. It took around 3 three years to grow my niche and find other clients but well worth the investment.

I asked other assistants about their pay rate. I looked on job sites such as and did several Google searches. From there I created a gauge and designed my own rate sheet.

I've included it here: RATE SHEET. You're welcome to use this yourself. Open it in Google Drive, make a copy, edit it with your information.

I took this sheet to various offices and asked if I could leave in it their break room. I gained a couple of clients that way but I found that the best way is to meet with people face to face. If you want to offer your services to a specific type of business, invite the owner or office manager to lunch to discuss your services. Take the office a fruit tray or cookies and leave your information. Ask if you can give a presentation. The personal touch works better for me than leaving a paper brochure. If you are still trying to decide what or who to write for, check out: FINDING YOUR WRITING NICHE.

I also have a page link to the top of my blog that further describes my services. See here: PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. If you're not sure where to start, I've written a post here, FINDING IDEAS FOR CONTENT CREATION.

I started by reading several helpful blogs, Alexis Grant:What to Charge for Social Media Work (as a Freelancer or Consultant) was a great one.

If you are still wondering if working as a freelancer is for you, start here: 5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD WORK FROM HOME.

If you are looking for writing gigs, I would sign up for these free blogs, FREELANCE WRITING JOBS and WRITE JOBS. Joining Facebook groups is also a way to make connections as well as taking classes. I highly recommend WRITER'S DIGEST UNIVERSITY.

After writing for three decades, I've discovered that it takes time to find your niche, obtain dependable clients and create a reliable income. I started out writing for free for several organizations and built my freelance portfolio. Now clients contact me for hire.

I wish you the best and if you have any more questions, let me know. But whatever you do, #NeverGiveUP!

Drop by next week, I'll be sharing tips for using Google Sheets to track your business, submissions and time.

Let's be friends

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