How to Set Your Freelance Writing Rates (as a Beginner or an Expert)

Ever gone through a mini heart attack when the potential client asks: “What are your rates?

Experienced freelancers will answer this question quickly. But new writers might panic.

You don’t know how much to charge for a 500 or 1000-word article. Should you charge what other freelance writers are charging? What are the standard rates? What are the different factors that affect these rates? And so on.

The truth is, “There is no right answer, and setting your freelance writing rates is not an easy task.”

Yet, the information I will provide below might help you get started.

How Much Should Freelance Writers Charge?

Prices vary from one freelancer to another. Pricing depends on various factors — time required, deadline, taxes, cost of living, etc.

Writing is an active job. This requires hard skills like creativity, research, time management, SEO, and editing. Thus, it’s quite hard to find an ideal pricing model.

Ashley R. Cummings is a freelance writer for SaaS, Marketing, and eCommerce platforms. She surveyed 344 freelancers to find out how much they charge their clients.

She found that freelancers use different pricing models shown in the graph below.

  • 40% charge per project
  • 38% charge per hour
  • 18% charge per word count

Let’s go deep into these pricing models to know how much an average freelance writer charges.

How Much do Freelance Writers Charge Per Project?

In the U.S. — pricing per project is the most common way freelancers charge.

A survey by Peak Freelance found that an average freelance writer charges between $250-$399 per blog post. For content like a whitepaper, the most popular rate is between $500-$999.

Many six-figure income freelance writers charge between $1000-$1500 per blog post.

Freelance writer Priscilla Tan charges $650 for a blog post of 1,000 – 1,250. Whereas Elise Dopson has a monthly project rate of $1500.

But the case is slightly different for freelance copywriters.

Copywriters write website copy — About Us, Sales Pages, Product pages, Landing pages, etc.

Since this requires more research and time, they tend to charge more per project.

Freelance medical copywriter Sarah Turner charges $2500 for web page content. “She combines marketing and biology to help clients get more patients.”

In contrast, Kayla Hollatz is a website copywriter with a starting rate of $5000. She works with creative entrepreneurs and small businesses.

How Much do Freelance Writers Charge Per Hour?

What’s better than hourly freelance writing rates?

According to Payoneer’s 2022 Global Freelance Income Report, the worldwide average freelance rate is $28 per hour.

Payscale has found that freelance writers in the US earn an average of $24.51 per hour.

avg hourly rate by region

Though it is difficult to define hourly rates for freelance writers. Still, Ashley R. Cummings’s survey found that freelance writers charge between $30-$40 per hour.

Many freelance writers with over 8 years of experience charge $100/hour.

There is a variation of the hourly rate used by copywriters called the “Day Rate”. Day Rate is the amount companies pay to someone to work with them for an entire day.

According to Media Entertainment and Art Alliance (MEAA), freelance copywriters can charge a “day rate” of around $257.

Laurajane Johnson is a UK freelance copywriter. She charges €425 as the standard day rate for her services.

Some copywriters even go for the “rushy day rate” where they produce a web copy for the client in less time such as 1-2 days.

US copywriter Christy Wolff charges $2625 for her VIP services. The VIP service consists of working with clients for 8 uninterrupted hours.

How Much do Freelance Writers Charge Per Word?

Charging per word means charging on the length of a piece of writing. This is generally the least popular pricing model used by freelance writers.

Beginner freelance writers charge anywhere between $0.10 per word and $0.30 per word.

This ensures that how much money you can make depends on how many words you write. But this doesn’t consider the time taken to do research.

But with more experience, they charge over $1 per word. Typically, the more experience you have, the more you earn.

Charging per word can be an effective strategy like charging for a project.

As a beginner freelancer, there’s no harm in charging per word to build a portfolio.

But make sure to revise your rates on time and do not work for less than you deserve.

Freelance writers Elise Dopson and Ashley Cummings charge $1 per word to write long-form content.

What Factors Affect Freelance Writing Rates?

Many factors can affect freelance writing rates. Let’s look at three major reasons in the freelance world affecting hourly rates.

1. Industry

This is one of the top reasons for the variation of prices in the freelance world.

Industries like SaaS, technology, and cryptocurrency have higher content budgets than other industries. That’s why they pay higher rates than consumer-facing brands like fashion, travel, etc.

what's the most popular freelance writing niche?

Kat Boogard is a B2B SaaS freelance writer. She writes for clients in career, project management, productivity, and human resource. In 2020, she made $1,27,000 as a full-time freelance writer.

Bureau of Labour Statistics report states that freelance magazine writers earn an average salary of $69,510 per year (as of 2021).

2. Niche

Writers can niche down within the industry. Some writers focus on email copywriting for eCommerce brands. While others only write website copy for Finance brands.

Long-form content like case studies, whitepapers, etc. pays more than short-form content. Because long-term content takes more time.

A B2B SaaS website copywriter earns more than an average lifestyle brand copywriter.

3. Years of experience

There is no doubt that experienced writers earn more than new writers. The image given below determines the potential of earning based on experience.

The same is the case for Carrie French. A copywriter for small and medium-sized businesses who earned $315 per hour as of 2021.

Newer writers need more skills and experience to earn this much.

Treyton Devor is a finance writer, creative entrepreneur, and financial planner. He started his freelance writing journey in 2021 and made $24,166 in the first year of freelancing.

What Are the Freelance Writing Rates For Different Types of Writing?

1. Long-form blog posts

Content marketing will skyrocket to a $600 billion industry in 2024. Businesses use content as a marketing tool. They get conversions through sales page websites or email newsletters.

Blog writing is one of the most in-demand writing jobs across the world. The 2023 Freelance Writing Stats & Facts Survey states that 77% of freelance writers write blog posts.

An average blog post writer can charge between $250 and $399 for a 1500-word piece of content.

This will take more hours for you to produce high-end quality content. Thus, you can bundle blogs for a month-long project or use a per-hour pricing model for this type of content.

2. Ghostwriting

According to the AWAI, ghostwriters can charge $150-$500 for a blog post. A ghostwriter writes for someone else without getting credit for their work.

Ghostwriting is one of the readily market out there with huge potential and many ways to make money. Businesses from all niches need ghostwriters.

You can write as a ghostwriter for a publishing house or a celebrity or a politician.

A business owner might hire you to help them share their expertise and knowledge with the world.

Nowadays many business owners on LinkedIn hire ghostwriters to write posts for them.

Tim O’Leary is a professional ghostwriter and an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, and columnist. He has shared his experience of landing a ghostwriting project worth $30000 to write a memoir.

James Patterson is a famous American author and fiction novelist. He outsources the majority parts of his books to a ghostwriter.

3. White Paper Writing

71% of B2B businesses use white papers in their content marketing strategy. And B2B industry takes up to 30 to 50 percent of the US market. This means you can work with a good number of clients.

A white paper is a detailed explanation guide on a particular topic and consists of at least 2500 words.

White Paper writing is a well-paid job with few complexities. You’re supposed to write technical articles like guides, software manuals, etc.

Writing a whitepaper requires advance level skills.

  • Subject matter expertise
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Deep research skills
  • Problem-solving skills

You can use per project pricing model for writing the white paper. You can calculate your hourly rate based on the time taken to complete the project.

According to AWAI, Copywriting Practice Guide 2022, the average rate for writing a white paper is between $2,000 and $10,000. The rates also depend on the complexity of the project and your experience level.

4. SEO writing

SEO writing is one of the highest-paying writing jobs. According to Ahrefs, freelance SEO writers can charge $75-$100 per hour.

SEO writers help businesses to get their websites to rank higher on search engines. It increases the chance of a user buying products from their websites.

SEO writing requires hard skills like keyword research, technical SEO, link building, etc.

As this is a specialized field, you can charge good rates for your writing services.

You can use per word pricing model starting from $0.20 per word.

You can even go for a “day rate” if the project requires an entire day to complete the project.

The hourly freelance writing rates pricing model is also workable if you know how much time will it take.

5. Email copywriting

Email Copywriting is a rewarding job. All industries — SaaS, fashion, finance, education, and eCommerce hire email copywriters.

This is a popular genre used by companies to grow their mailing list or sell products and services.

Peak Freelance survey suggests that an average email copywriter charges $99-$249 for an email.

Elna Cain is a B2B freelance writer. With over seven years of copywriting experience, she charges $275 per mail.

You can also decide your writing rate based on your level of experience. Even bundling it as a retainer project using a project pricing model is a good option.

What to Consider While Setting Your Freelance Writing Rates?

After reading the pricing model and factors affecting rates, you might have got some idea. But if you’re confused about exactly how to charge, then do consider the aspects given below:

1. Time to complete the project

When you charge on per hour pricing model, you’re charging for your time and efforts. You can also use per project pricing model to give justice to your work.

To calculate the per-project price — estimate how many hours you need to complete the project and multiply it by the hourly rate.

The actual time spent on writing depends on the length of the content piece. You can also add charges for extra revision.

2. Type of writing

Being a freelance writer you have the freedom to work on projects that excited you. You can decide your rates based on the industry and niche you wish to work on.

If you’re into technical writing jobs such as ebooks and whitepapers, you can charge a higher price. Because this type of writing is complex and requires more time.

Apart from this, the rates for content writing and copywriting also differ.

Copywriters usually charge 5x to 8x higher prices than content writers. Because copywriting requires outstanding research and creativity skills which is time-consuming.

Specialized writers also charge higher prices. If you’re specialized in a particular writing niche, you can charge high rates.

3. Experience level

Experience plays a vital role in the freelance journey. If you’re a new writer, then you might start with lower rates.

Clients might even pay you on a word count basis. As a beginner, you want to price your services lower rather than getting exactly what you wish to earn.

In the beginning, it will help you develop your skills and build an impressive portfolio. As the years of experience increase, you can charge higher prices from the clients.

4. Deadline

When figuring out what to charge, turnaround times and deadlines are hard to miss.

Sometimes companies want you to complete a copy or blog post within 24 hours. It means you’ll give more priority to this project over other projects.

Thus, you should charge more. As we discuss “rush day rate.” You can use this pricing model and charge premium or VIP prices for quick turnarounds.

Final Thoughts

Now, you’re ready to enter the market with your writing services. I hope the above information has helped you benchmark your rates.

Let me know if this has helped you or not. If you’ve any questions or if you feel I’ve missed any point. Do share in the comments below!

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