The Average Freelance Writing Rates: A Guide for Starters

One of the most difficult things about getting started in the freelance writing industry is choosing rates. There are a number of clients overseas who want to pay less than a penny per word for high-quality work. Although these rates work well for writers located in nations with low costs of living, they are not always financially viable for individuals in first-world countries. To make a livable wage, writers need to figure out the minimum amount of money that they can make every month.

Calculating Overhead

The amount that the writer needs should be based on their current bills and expenses. Writers should add their rent, food costs, utilities and insurance costs together. Miscellaneous expenses like clothes or electronics may change from month to month, so writers should track their spending for several months. Once the writer has a clear average for the miscellaneous expenses, they can add all of these costs together. The remaining number is the amount the writer has to make to stay afloat.

Figuring Out Hourly Payments

Once the overhead has been figured out, the writer should calculate the number of hours that they need to work each month. While some writers want to work a 40 hour workweek, other individuals only want to work for 20 hours or less. If the writer wants to make $2,000 each month and work 25 hours a week, they would need to make $20 an hour. For hourly projects, they can submit this as their bid. This number can also be used on fixed rate projects as long as the writer knows how many words they can produce per hour. Writers who can consistently finish 1,000 words an hour only need to make $0.02 per word. If the writer only completes an average of 500 words every hour, they need to charge $0.04.

Looking at the Market

In the previous scenario, the writer may have problems finding work initially. Clients are willing to pay an experienced writer a higher wage, but they are not always willing to give a newbie the same word rate. During the first few months of work, writers may have to take on low-paid projects or extra work while they develop a resume.

The previous technique lets the writer know how much they need to earn, but it does not tell them what the market rate is. To get this number, the writer should check out the rates that are charged by their competitors. In some writing niches like finance, the average pay rate may be $0.10 to $0.30 per word. For basic SEO articles and web content, the average rate may drop to just $0.01 per word or less.