Setting a Freelance Writing Rate Equal to the Task

dollarToday’s freelance writing clients are looking for a lot more bang for their buck, especially those looking for web writing.  Many aren’t looking for a mere writer, they want someone who uses SEO, builds traffic, moderates and responds to comments and more.  Before accepting a project and setting a rate, always find out what the job entails and set a freelance writing rate equal to the task.

Straight writing is one thing, but if your client is adding bells and whistles, make it clear the rates are going up. We all know interviews, research, mileage and expenses are often added into rates. However, there are other considerations as well:

  • SEO: Are you expected to research keywords, use them a certain amount of times in an article, and, in general, write an entire article around keywords or phrases? This is extra work and should be figured into your rate.
  • Promotion: Are you expected to create a social media presence and visit blogs and forums to promote your blog or website and bring in traffic? If so, this adds additional time to the project and should be included in your rate quote.
  • Community: Are you expected to moderate and respond to a community? If so,  this is additional work and should be negotiated into your contract.

The above-referenced items are all things that will add more time to each project. Your time is worth money and it’s up to you to make sure you’re adequately compensated.

What are some of the extra items that your clients tack on to a project? Do you raise your rates to reflect the increase in work?

Tip: Use the Freelance Switch Hourly Rate Calculator to help determine a rate for your project.


  1. says

    This week, I sat down and finalized my rate sheet. I now have it printed and on my desk. When a client calls for a rate or I am preparing a bid, I now have an easy way to reference my rates. I suggest this for anyone…it’s a great time saver, and you sound a lot more confident when someone asks you for a rate!

    PS: Don’t post it to your website or send the whole sheet to a client. It’s for YOUR reference.

    • says

      Good for you, Jeanne. Having figures in front of you will encourage you to be firm when quoting a rate. Let’s see if you can encourage more writers to follow suit.

  2. says

    It sounds great to set the rate, but the reality is that in many cases it’s not actually in your power to do so. You can decide it’s not worth the agony to work for a particular fee — but if you’re working for, say, Demand Studios, it’s take it or leave it.


    • says

      That’s exactly right, Lisa. Some clients set a rate with no negotiations – and by accepting it the writer is sort of setting a rate, I guess. My recommendation for these clients is to be sure the end justifies the means. This post was mostly meant for those who are quoting rates for their potential clients. However for any job the amount of pay should equal the amount of work – with enough left over to make a profit.

  3. says

    When I’m working for a client as opposed to a content mill, I can set my own rate to a certain degree. I’ve found that few will accept a per diem higher than $500/day, but often I can set up a project fee that allows me to do better than that. It varies, of course, depending upon project, client, and relationship. I should mention that I usually work for non-profits (museums, universities, hospitals) or for small businesses, so can’t make the really big bucks some can charge to major corporations.


    • says

      Private clients and many magazine markets are generally where the money is, though I’m happy to see the rates for web writing are going up. I remember when $20 for a blog post was considered extremely high pay, not it’s on the low end. Lisa, we should talk about getting you to guest post here about breaking into non-profits.

  4. says

    I write as a freelancer and the rates have definitely been going DOWN. I’ve noticed this and I think it’s because of content mills taking the lead in the market. That’s my personal opinion, of course and I could be wrong.

    I currently write for a few places for free or next to free. I just need the outlet until I find some clients!! :)


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