How to determine rates for your professional writing


Scientific calculator with lots of numbers and calculations on it, sitting on a deskI’ve been really looking forward to chatting with you guys about this topic!  It’s one of those popular topics for professional writers that gets talked about a lot, but never really answered.  So, I’m going to add my voice to the conversation by helping any and all writers understand what factors go into their professional writing rates! 

Top consideration factors for professional writing rates

I’ll be doing a post next time on choosing between per-word rates and hourly rates, but for the moment, I’m just going to talk about how to even start getting a feel for the figure you should be getting.  This was a huge mystery to me when I started, and it wasn’t until I sat down to start crunching the numbers that it made sense to me!

  • Your training and experience: This could be anything from your degree to online courses that you’ve taken to help improve your skills, to something classic like textbooks that you use to help you figure out the terminology, etc.  It all should factor into your rate because these are all things that make you a professional writer.
  • Your time and expertise: This one got by me at first, and it’s one that many don’t address. Your time is valuable.  Whether it’s communicating with customers, dealing with revisions, or even putting a quote together, it all has serious value!  Charge for it.  The same thing goes for specialized expertise.  For this one, I’ll give you an example.  I speak conversational-level Spanish.  I don’t write in Spanish, but I work extensively with Spanish-speaking customers who will communicate with me in Spanish and send me all of the instructions and keywords in Spanish.  From there, I take all of that Spanish information and use it to write an English piece of content.  Since this is considered specialized, I do charge extra for it.  
  • Your supplies and gear for the job: From sticky notes to office equipment to your internet bill, it all helps you do the job.  Consider building these charges into your rate.  I’ll go over that in more detail in the next post, but anything you bought for business purposes as a professional writer should be worked into your rate.  Otherwise, you’ll be left footing the entire bill! 

You deserve your rate

Read that again.  This is so important to keep in mind when you are looking at the final number.  We all tend to want to have a low rate because we think it’ll draw in customers.  It will, but it often will be customers that will give you no end of headache.  Set a rate that feels fair and accurate.  Even if you get challenging orders and/or customers, your rate will make the headache very worthwhile!  The other thing when setting your professional rates for writing is to charge extra whenever possible.  From extra grammar checks to abnormal formatting, it all takes time and effort, so charge for it!

Your rates as a professional writer should reflect your needs, not just be chosen out of midair.  These features are all factors to keep in mind.  As far as the actual rate itself, stay tuned for the next post where I’ll talk about how I created my own rates and whether a per-hour or per-word price is better!

Business content writing

Kelterss View All →

Kelterss is an experienced freelance business writer and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creating Writing. Having served over 1100 customers while maintaining a 4.9/5 star rating, Kelterss is looking to focus her professional services in writing product descriptions and blog posts.

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