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Help Me Define Acceptable Freelance Writing Pay Rates

When beginning a career as a freelance writer, individuals have to learn how to set an appropriate pay rate. Early in their career, writers command lower rates than they will later on. Although a lower rate is expected, the writer still needs to charge enough to pay their bills. To figure out a fair starting rate, writers should use the following guidelines.

Figuring Out the Minimal Acceptable Rate

Before quitting their day job, writers should do part-time freelance work. During this time, they should track how many words or articles they can produce per hour. This will give them a rough idea of what they will ultimately be able to make per hour. Afterward, the writer should calculate their overhead. If they have $6,000 in business expenses each year, then $500 of their earnings each month will go toward the overhead. This number must be figured out in advance so that writers understand what they need to earn to survive.

Look at Bills

People often underestimate how much they spend each month. Writers should track their spending over several months to get a clear idea of their average expenditures. Some expenses like rent or insurance will remain the same from month to month. After totaling the amount of bills and overhead together, the writer will have the minimum amount that they need to earn this month. They should also keep in mind that taxes will be due on their earnings. In general, freelancers should budget an extra 20 to 40 percent for taxes.

Looking at a Weekly Schedule

Some writers will want to work 40 or 50 hours a week. It is perfectly fine if the writer only wants to do a 20 hour a week schedule. Once the writer knows the number of hours that they want to work, they should divide the monthly total hours into the required earnings. For example, a writer that wants to work 40 hours a week and needs $1,600 a month would divide $1,600 by 160. This would produce a minimum hourly rate of $10. Since there will be unpaid hours spent bidding on projects and contacting clients, the writer will actually need an hourly pay that is slightly higher.

With this understanding of the earnings that they need, writers can figure out what they must charge a client. As their work schedule fills up, the writer can charge new clients a higher price. In general, a more experienced writer can demand a better hourly wage.

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