Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Getting Paid What You're Worth

One of the biggest hurdles for new freelancing web writers is establishing rates. Where do you start? Should you charge clients a flat rate or charge hourly? Do you post your rates on your website, or avoid doing so to throw off the competition and give you more flexibility to charge projects on a case by case basis? Many web writers are settling for much lower rates than they deserve because they don't know what to what to do.

Posting a rate card on your site

See, to me the best part about freelancing is that you do what works for you; and if it stops working you can always switch things up. Except for a few constants that should remain consistent at all times: professionalism and meeting all deadlines with no excuses, proof reading/editing copy before submitting it to a client, marketing your services and having a website with portfolio are a given. Should you post your rates on your website? I post some rates on my site because it lets clients searching for $5 article writers know to keep searching somewhere else. It's a big waste of my time to send emails back and forth about a potential project with someone not prepared to pay my rates.

Reasons not to reveal your rates upfront

On the other hand, another well established and respected writer recently revealed that she never lists rates on her site because it allows her establish rates both she and individual clients can live with more easily. I can see how that works to her advantage. I guess this is one of those situations where you just have to pick your poison and do what works best for you. You can always change it if it doesn't seem to be working out.

Figuring out how much to charge

So what do you charge your clients? This had to be the single most annoying thing for me to figure out when I was first started freelancing. I underpriced myself on quite a few projects considering the work that was involved. Most freelancers won't willingly give up their rates, and you shouldn't blindly charge what someone else is charging. Consider the fact that exerience, where you live and the cost of living has a lot to do with setting rates. Here is a pricing guideline that might help both new and established freelance writers earn rates that make all of the effort put into this business worthwhile.


Jennifer said...

This is one of the hardest parts of being a freelance writer. Right now I am quoting my rates on a case by case basis. This has worked so far for me.

Kimberly Ben said...

Jennifer, I have to say that I'm thinking about not posting rates when I finish redesigning my website. This was a discussion that took place on a writer's forum a couple of weeks ago. Some writers advocated posting rates (like me) while others didn't.

Good to know that quoting case by case is working out for you - you have me rethinking my strategy.;)

Devon Ellington said...

I do NOT post rates on my site. I negotiate each job individually -- using my rate card for myself as the basis -- because a client's idea of how long a job will take and what it entails often has very little to do with what actually needs to be done.

I set rates by talking to other freelancers and seeing what the regular market rate is in my area, and/or the area in which the job is located (many of my clients are far from me). I also figure out time involved, aggravation factors, and percentage of overhead that the job needs to cover.

Lori said...

I don't post rates. Projects are too different to say "I charge $500 per resume" or "My flat fee for white papers is $1000." I won't post hourly rates, either. Clients call whether the rates are there or not.

Kimberly Ben said...

Devon & Lori:

You guy make some pretty strong points. I post rates for things like press releases and articles, but even those can become involved depending on the client and the topic they surround, deadline and the aggravation (VERY god point there, Devon). It's official: the new site will NOT post my rates. I LOVE learning a thing or two from other freelancers.:-)

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