Freelance writing: How much to charge?

40 replies
G'day guys - what are your thoughts on how much to charge per word for freelance writing? Is there a formula that's been proposed? I consider myself to be very well educated in the fitness industry and want to do some more writing.
#charge #freelance #writing
  • Profile picture of the author drr
    G'day Steve - to get an idea of what you may be able to get try looking at Elance.com. The pay varies wildly depending on those who want either bulk fluff content or pedigree content. My guess is between $10 to $15 per 500 words if you're reasonably good.
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    • Profile picture of the author alasdairsim
      Originally Posted by drr View Post

      G'day Steve - to get an idea of what you may be able to get try looking at Elance.com. The pay varies wildly depending on those who want either bulk fluff content or pedigree content. My guess is between $10 to $15 per 500 words if you're reasonably good.
      The problem with Elance is that it all to often has 80c for 500 words rates. You can find good gigs on there if you look hard enough but they are few and far between in my experience.

      Steve, it really depends on what you are providing. The fact that you are well educated in the fitness niche is a great start - you can charge a premium cost if you are providing superior content in that market.

      My advice, if you haven't done this already, is get a profile set up on oDesk, Elance & PPH. Get verified on them (helps a lot to show people that you are genuine) and look out for the better jobs. If you can get around 2 or 3 cents a word on these sites then that is reasonable.

      It all depends on what you want to get out of content writing.

      If you want extra income then earning $10-15 is decent for a 500 word article that isn't expected to be ground breaking. If it is on a topic you know (fitness) then you could probably easily knock 4 or 5 of these out a night and add a few hundred to your monthly income.

      It becomes a bit harder if you want to make a sizeable income out of freelance writing because you need to do ALOT of work to make a passable income out of those rates.

      I vary per project. My WF ad has a set rate per word as standard but if it starts getting technical, need to source images, do this, that and the other then the price goes up accordingly.

      Try not to restrict yourself too much with a set price.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Coutts
      Originally Posted by drr View Post

      My guess is between $10 to $15 per 500 words if you're reasonably good.
      My guess is $25 per 500 words as an absolute minimum, but easily up to $100 or more ...
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Hi Steve,

    Originally Posted by Steve Foulds View Post

    I consider myself to be very well educated in the fitness industry and want to do some more writing.
    You've educated yourself in the fitness industry, and now you want to put all that expertise to work for someone else? Oh well.

    To answer your question, your clients will pay you what you can demonstrate your writing's worth to them. Don't think for a minute that the rates you see being touted on the various freelance sites are the limit of what you could be charging. However, it's not enough to be a good and knowledgeable writer; you'll need to market yourself to be a successful freelancer

    But then, if you have marketing skills, you could almost certainly earn more by writing for yourself.


    Frank
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    • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
      Hi Steve

      I strongly suggest you take a look at John Coutts WSO: http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...ml#post8263211 (NOT an affiliate link.)

      John really knows what he's talking about and I recommend this WSO whenever the opportunity arises.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Foulds
      Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

      Hi Steve,

      You've educated yourself in the fitness industry, and now you want to put all that expertise to work for someone else? Oh well.
      There are 2 main reasons I'm doing it, one is to help position myself as an expert - then leverage off that to market my own work.
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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        Originally Posted by Steve Foulds View Post

        There are 2 main reasons I'm doing it, one is to help position myself as an expert - then leverage off that to market my own work.
        Okay, but freelancers don't normally get to claim authorship, so you'll mainly be positioning yourself as an expert in front of potential clients. It won't be quite so easy to translate that positioning to your own projects.

        But good luck anyway. You seem well-placed to command a premium rate for your writing.


        Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author Hannah Gardner
    I think it very much depends. I have started with little money on article writing. Maybe it would be a better idea to sell your ideas on your own blog.
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  • Profile picture of the author Devin X
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    Originally Posted by Steve Foulds View Post

    G'day guys - what are your thoughts on how much to charge per word for freelance writing? Is there a formula that's been proposed? I consider myself to be very well educated in the fitness industry and want to do some more writing.
    Charge whatever the market will bear. IF you can sell yourself to clients for $30+ per article, great! If not, you'll join the ranks of the millions who offer articles for like $5. Network, get testimonials, put yourself out there, and of course...look beyond just writing...unless you wanna start another textbroker.com type of site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    $10 for 500 words is good... starting off at least. Not sure what your marketing plan is to get more new clients, but you should do whatever you can to demonstrate value wherever you go online (ex: website, case studies, samples, breakdown of fees, etc).
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniWright
    You can immediately start charging what your articles are actually worth. I charge $25-$45 an article, depending on how familiar I am with the subject matter and how much I like my final piece. If it's not a $45 quality, then I lower the rating.

    It depends on what you're using the article for. Is it so you can hand-spin it and submit it to a thousand article directories? That's ridiculous and hasn't worked in years.

    If it's to write a quality piece to place on your clients website and then slowly drip-feed that same article to a network of content aggregation sites... now you're talking about $50 articles and $200 articles instead of shitty $0.01/word spun crap.
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  • Profile picture of the author GeorgR.
    A lot of blogging or review websites I checked recently pay on avg. $25-$40 for reviews which can be anything from 600-1000 words. (Which would come down to about $15 for 500 words.)

    That being said it's really IMPOSSIBLE to give a "recommended" figure since writing can be so different from one client/project to the other. Obviously, a very complex article about cloud computing or some technical writing would cost a lot more than $15/article.

    The other criteria (now for me) what to charge is also how much a client orders and how regularly they order. When someone needs to have several articles per week or has a large bulk order they obviously get a discount. Say, if someone needs 50+ or more articles in one large order I cannot simply charge them $40 per article like you would get freelancing for some blog.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Coutts
      Originally Posted by GeorgR. View Post

      ... if someone needs 50+ or more articles in one large order I cannot simply charge them $40 per article like you would get freelancing for some blog.
      Why not? I can and I do, and they pay too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Moneymaker2012
    If you have just started offering a service and have no past experience, you know the competition is tough in this niche, so you better not be charging too much, Don't go above $20 to early.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Coutts
      Originally Posted by Moneymaker2012 View Post

      If you have just started offering a service and have no past experience, you know the competition is tough in this niche, so you better not be charging too much, Don't go above $20 to early.
      A much better plan is to go above $20 immediately. There isn't an apprenticeship to complete here - start out as you mean to go on.
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  • Profile picture of the author hotconcepts
    If you are just starting than $3-5 for 500 words articles is a good start. Once you establish yourself than you can charge $10-20. It all depends on how well you write. But if you are just starting than go for $3-5 per 500 words articles
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    • Profile picture of the author John Coutts
      Originally Posted by hotconcepts View Post

      If you are just starting than $3-5 for 500 words articles is a good start. Once you establish yourself than you can charge $10-20. It all depends on how well you write. But if you are just starting than go for $3-5 per 500 words articles
      A good start? $3-5 for 500 words articles is a good start?

      That's the worst advice I've ever seen!

      Anyone who can write well can start charging at least $25 for 500 words, and go up from there.

      Only the really crap writers are worth "$3-5 for 500 words".
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  • Profile picture of the author Bellerine
    Possessing knowledge in an industry is fantastic, and can give you a leg up if you are also a good writer. If having done well in high school English class is your only qualification, taking the advice to come out charging $40 per 500 words is not advisable.

    Just as you've taken the time to learn the fitness industry, so too must you learn the craft of writing. You can get paid training at lower rates and work your way up. Invest that money in books by great copywriters. I suggest paying especially close attention to lessons about creating titles and headlines.

    It sounds like you are looking to write content, which is definitely easier than writing sales copy. It also comes with a lesser price tag.
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    • Profile picture of the author Adam Short
      There is some great advice here from those who are saying not to shortchange yourself. The freelance writing industry is one that is widely varied with low rates offered from content mills to high rates when working with private clients and becoming a specialist.

      Working with content mills/broker sites is a path many new freelance writers take. While they can be useful to learn your chops and get professional editing which will help you improve your writing, they do not offer writers what they are worth. Depending on your level of writing, I would shoot for the higher-paying gigs, especially since you have experience in an industry already.

      To position yourself as an expert, create some sample articles and put them on a portfolio website. You can also start a blog and create continual posts to showcase your expertise. You can command higher rates this way.

      A woman I work with on my ventures started as a freelance writer in 2007 and worked with content mills for no more than $10 for 500 words. She quickly realized the opportunities available and started specializing in internet marketing topics, blogging on high-profile blogs and got most of her work from referrals even though she did a bit of job hunting as well. She now writes selectively and charges a minimum of 22 cents per word. Clients have no problem paying her for it.

      Here is a helpful Writer's Market PDF that lists writing rates by type: http://www.writersmarket.com/assets/...d_I_Charge.pdf

      My point is not to sell yourself short and to see your knowledge of the fitness industry as an asset. Build your portfolio and start branding yourself.

      Good luck!

      Adam
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      • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
        One way to determine what to charge is to work backwards from what you need to make. If you need to make X per hour, how long does it take you to write Y?
        Be sure to factor in office expenses and your time with clients.

        You also want to be competitive and writer forums can help with getting rate ideas etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Simseen
    It's depend on how good you're. I'm writing Danish articles on Freelance basic, and i'm charging $8/300 words.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Foulds
    Thanks a lot for your input Warriors!

    From what I've learned, I will start at 2.5c per word and add 50c to my rate every 6 months whilst studying the recommended resources above.

    Its supplementary income, so I'm not doing it for free and value my knowledge greater than that anyhow. I am a native English speaker, self published one ebook, am finishing a degree in sports science (So I have the ability to decipher and simplify scientific research) and pride myself on high quality work, regardless of what I do.

    Thanks again!
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    • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
      Originally Posted by Steve Foulds View Post

      Thanks a lot for your input Warriors!

      From what I've learned, I will start at 2.5c per word and add 50c to my rate every 6 months whilst studying the recommended resources above.

      Its supplementary income, so I'm not doing it for free and value my knowledge greater than that anyhow. I am a native English speaker, self published one ebook, am finishing a degree in sports science (So I have the ability to decipher and simplify scientific research) and pride myself on high quality work, regardless of what I do.

      Thanks again!
      Ugh. So you've decided you're going to write for poverty wages. Why?
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve Foulds
        Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

        Ugh. So you've decided you're going to write for poverty wages. Why?
        Because I'm new to the game and I'm confident I can get work while I become educated on where to position myself.

        I might decide in 3 weeks after reading John's WSO I can get $200 a 1000 word article, maybe $500... one way of finding out.
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        • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
          Originally Posted by Steve Foulds View Post

          Because I'm new to the game and I'm confident I can get work while I become educated on where to position myself.
          Unfortunately, it's all about perception. If you start out at the prices you are indicating, you are straightaway aligning yourself with the crap writers for whom English is a second language. Is that really how you want potential clients to see you?

          Take heed of the experienced writers who are trying to advise you; once you've dug that hole for yourself, it's extremely difficult to climb out.

          These days, I only write for my own websites and for Kindle, but in the past I had clients who were more than happy to pay $200+ for articles I wrote for them.
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        • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
          Originally Posted by Steve Foulds View Post

          Because I'm new to the game and I'm confident I can get work while I become educated on where to position myself.

          I might decide in 3 weeks after reading John's WSO I can get $200 a 1000 word article, maybe $500... one way of finding out.
          Being new to the game is irrelevant. It's talent and quality that matters. On my first real paid writing gig I asked for ten cents a word and got it. Two months later I insisted on fifteen cents and got twelve. I was too dumb to know new writers didn't get that much. There's a strange thing that happens when you under-price your work. You start to believe that's what you're worth. Many writers never break away from that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raymond Duke
    If you're good...

    $200+ per 800-1200 words.

    People that want good content will pay that much, because they know that paying cheaper will not get them results.

    There are a lot of companies out there with small teams making a ton of money. For them, spending 6 hours to write 1000 good words is definitely not worth their time. For example, think about how Snapchat turned down a 3 billion cash offer from Facebook.

    How many people are on the Snapchat team? Probably no more than 100. Their time is far more valuable.

    But as a writer, you can write something for this kind of crowd, make a decent amount of money and grow their customer base.

    The trick to getting paid more to write is to show a biz how much value you can provide. Convince them you can really grow their audience. If you want to get paid $5 for 500 words... well... what's the point?
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Writers are their own greatest enemies. It's not the "mill" sites or clients' willingness
    or lack of willingness to pay, but the writers concept of the worth of their own
    talents which is the fly in the ointment here. Don't charge low because it is easy
    for you. Charge the value you are offering the client.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author Mogly
    More than you think.

    I increased my prices by 1000% and relaunched my service -- and now I'm making 10x what I used to, work less, and make a much higher profit margin.
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  • Profile picture of the author automationhero
    not only the more education you have but also the more experience you can show and quality of work will get you to be able to charge a higher price
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    When you charge these ridiculously low rates - whether it's for an article or copy - you're essentially telling your potential clientele, "Yup, my writing ain't worth much."

    Let's get real:

    You're in business to help entrepreneurs build their business and grab bigger profits, right?

    Can you see the disconnect in even charging by the word?

    Who cares how long an article is? Seriously, the whole 250, 500, 1200 word construct, as marketing tools, is total BS.

    It's NOT the length of an article or copy that makes it effective.

    It's the actual words you're using.

    Are they triggering REAL emotion?

    If so... it can help the business owner grow his or her sales.

    If not... it doesn't matter how long or short it is. The whole thing is just a waste of online real estate.

    Just from taking a quick look at your Paleo site, you're not demonstrating the value of effective writing.

    You need to put your best foot forward - in everything you write - to make sure your value is clear.

    Start there.

    And please...

    Don't position yourself to become just another content writer.

    Whether it's content OR copy...

    It MUST be effective in accomplishing its purpose.

    How much is that worth?

    It ain't .5 cents a word.

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Foulds
    I've actually had the time to sit down and read all your responses thoroughly, once again thank you. I'll enter at $25 an article and keep you all updated
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  • Profile picture of the author Kecia
    If you are are well educated in fitness, why not begin writing ebooks, reports, or courses right out of the gate? That way, you could be creating somewhat passive income for your writing rather than selling it once for a flat fee. Being a ghostwriter isn't going to get you viewed as an expert to the buyers you would want to reach in the future -- when you start writing for yourself rather than others.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Foulds
      Originally Posted by Kecia View Post

      If you are are well educated in fitness, why not begin writing ebooks, reports, or courses right out of the gate? That way, you could be creating somewhat passive income for your writing rather than selling it once for a flat fee. Being a ghostwriter isn't going to get you viewed as an expert to the buyers you would want to reach in the future -- when you start writing for yourself rather than others.
      Thanks - I've written one ebook, hope to finish my second in the next 2 days that will leverage into an online course
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  • Rookie mistake: Agreeing to write an article and actually doing it before agreeing on the cost. I just learned that lesson the hard way. I asked for $15 and he wanted to pay me $2.5 max!!! He sent me many links to lengthy YouTube videos to watch and articles to read as research before writing my science article. I had told him I would get back to him about my rate for 500 words (b/c I saw that one video alone was 50+ minutes long) and he replied no problem, don't worry about it. So I figured we could come to an agreement even if he wasn't okay with what I charged initially. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. Being the classy guy that he is, he started making personal attacks...with very poor English!!! I'm just glad that I didn't send him the article. At least I can use it to showcase my work!!!. :/
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery Moss
    If you're really good at writing and want to be paid what you're worth, you have to prove it to potential clients. You could yell it from the roof all day how talented of a writer you are in the niche and it's just your word against theirs. And, when it comes to getting people to part with money, you really have to prove your worth. So put every testimonial and proof and writing sample you can on your site to back up your words. Then, you will stop competing against the $5.00 article writers and move up into the well paid few who actually earn a living from writing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Rookie mistake:
      bumping an old thread
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  • Profile picture of the author pxjenkins
    Originally Posted by Steve Foulds View Post

    G'day guys - what are your thoughts on how much to charge per word for freelance writing? Is there a formula that's been proposed? I consider myself to be very well educated in the fitness industry and want to do some more writing.
    My feeling - test the market price based on your specialism inside fitness. You could appeal for quotes as a publisher; that would give you a quick and accurate idea of what others bid.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Guys, the question was asked LAST YEAR ... shall we leave it alone, now???

      .
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