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Freelance Writing Fees Factors to Contend With

Updated on December 28, 2014

Freelance Writing Fees

Freelance Writers are one of the world’s best sources for anything needed to be created from marketing, to advertising, to press releases, and even websites and newspaper articles. These writers can make a living if done correctly (and saying they have the skills and talent needed to compete with the best)! Writers normally enjoy an easy lifestyle to complete their projects and most things are strait out and easy. Not everything is easy about Freelancing; a lot of hard things are the basics of anything we do for work. These include but aren’t limited to getting a good computer, affording Microsoft Word or w/e program you prefer, advertising yourself, completing social media online, and most importantly the most VITAL part of the job – The Pay!

Freelance Writer

Being a Freelance Writer means you need to do everything, make sure you cover it!
Being a Freelance Writer means you need to do everything, make sure you cover it!

The Dilemma

Being a Freelance Writer means you’re the boss. Not only just the boss, no that’s too simple…You’re the marketer, the IT person, the networking manager, the person who buys the software needed, who buys the ads online and the one who is in charge of payroll. What is the point to making a living as a freelance writer when you aren’t making enough to live? Sounds counter-intuitive I know, but this is why so many people have a problem with deciding what to charge for their writing.

The Breakdown

Coffee isn’t free. Some of you (you know who I am talking about) are sipping on that expensive foamy flavored blend and I know its more than double if not triple the cost of normal “crappy” everyday coffee. Coffee luckily isn’t the main thing to consider in your Fee assessment. Now to make a healthy living as a freelancer, you need to count the same factors employers do.  Say you want to make a salary of $45,000 (personal salary goal) a year as a freelancer; well you need to make a lot more than that to amount out. Most likely, you will need to be making about $65,000 (yearly goal) a year to meet that income goal. That $20,000 equals out to cover things like:

  • · Basic Work Expenses (Including Internet, Power, Ink, Dvd’s/Cd’s etc.)

  • · Employer’s Portion of Taxes

  • · Employer’s Retirement Contribution

  • · Health Insurance/Dental/Etc..

  • · Personal Expenses to Help yourself Complete the Work

  • · Marketing “Extras” or “Savings” offered for Packages, Seasonal Specials, things like that

  • · Computer

  • · Printers (if needed)

  • · Software: E-Book, E-Commerce, Word/Writing Packages, Etc.

If that wasn’t enough to shake you, you also must remember you are NOT receiving a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck. You are NOT guaranteed work each day or week. You MUST factor that in to accomplish your goal. During the year your work will come and go and you might not be able to fill all your billable hours. No one can work every day for 15+ hours anyway, its leading you to be burned out quickly which is never a good thing. A safe bet is to go on about 45 working weeks to account for vacation, holidays, sick time, and personal days. Also, being a single unit you might only have 20 out of 40 billable hours a week, due to the fact the other 20 will be taken doing things like administrative tasks, marketing, set up, and many other problems you might run into that as a business you must account for like taxes.

Now if your soul still isn’t crushed and you’re not crying in your chair thinking you need to go work at McDonalds, there is only one more thing to account for.  Due to the most likely flex of work from high to low, you must account for the times were you might be lucky to get one or two assignments all week or month. The safest thing you can do is to add about 10% to your income goal in order to offset this affecting your lifestyle. Some people do make great careers just being freelancers, but if you’re afraid of this happening then its best to work part-time in some kind of field (stable pay to supplement your condition).

Freelance Writing Fee's Golden Ticket

The Golden Ticket to Freelance Writing Fees - Be glad you found it!
The Golden Ticket to Freelance Writing Fees - Be glad you found it!

The Formula

“'Cause I've got a golden ticket
I've got a golden twinkle in my eye”
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Now we have that breakdown it is simple dividing. The results of this formula can be used in many different ways, and the ways basically depend on YOUR ability. Anyway, the formula is:

Hourly Rate = Yearly Salary Goal / Weeks Worked / Hours Worked Per Week

Using the above example it works out to be:

$72.21 (hourly) = S65,000(year goal) / 45 (weeks working) / 20 (hours a week)

Now that you know, that if you only work 20 hours a week (not counting administrative etc) you must be making $72.21 an hour. This is a little on the high end, but this isn’t for me to judge. Using that figure you can make a plan like this if you wished:

You can write 1000 words on almost any topic in 20 mins. So you can fill roughly 3 1000 word articles in 1 hour. A good sales pitch would be:

“Freelancing 2 articles for $65 SPECIAL 3 Articles for $85!! That’s only $20 for an article! Limited Time Offer. “

Working at that rate, you are being paid only .024 cents a word. That is also a very demanding thing to be able to do, to fill your hours per week quota you would need to be writing 60,000 words a week! Remember, you also need to base your fee’s off credentials. Hopefully, you can be a little more creative then what I listed, and you might charge more. That is what I will talk about in the “Ugh-Factor”.


Ugh. Not everyone will want the same service. As being a freelancer you must customize your offerings and your prices to different clients according to there needs and wants. A good example is your writing a press release for Coca-Cola. Obviously your not charging them only the normal rate. You must up your price because they will make millions off your writing, some PR writers for large companies can make an easy $20,000+ Commission on just one piece of work.

Now how about a real “Ugh” moment. A non-profit for Animal Safety comes to you for your normal offer. You could charge them more, but it is taking away from the animals and you happen to be an animal lover. Knowing what you’re writing for, you will charge them less OR not even charge them at all. No Pay? WHY!!! Its simple, writing for a nonprofit means it comes out of your taxes. Not only that, you will be getting a LARGE audience with your writing because there’s a good chance they have a marketing team, what a great way to get more traffic and work for yourself!

Biggest Freelance Writing Fee Error!

Biggest Errors of Freelance Writing Fees

The biggest mistakes made by freelance writers are the ones who try to change completely. Do not make large pricing changes or you will fail. Most of this is because of the time spent to target what market. Pricing too low early is the LEADING cause of failure for freelance writers. Pricing low just to raise the cost later will not produce a good ROI for the time invested. Never ever, under price your service.

Final Freelance Writing Tips to Ponder

Freelancers have the world open to them. They must embrace and evolve with it or else they will be left in the dust. Here are a few more things to think about:

Learn how to do a lot of various things. Articles, PR, Poems, Website Copy, Sales Copy, Reviews Etc…

Offer other services like Freelance Photography and Freelance Marketing. This will maximize your income potential.

Make extra income from writing articles on sites like:
Hubpages – Hubpages (the site your at) is a great place for Freelancers, want to be Freelancers, reviewers, or people who like writing guides or recipes or whatever you want! Join some of the best article writers in the world! You are not paid by Hubpages and this isn’t a scam, you’re paid by affiliates including; Google Adsense, Amazon Partner Network, eBay Partner Network, and Kontera. On your page 60% of the time it displays YOUR ads which if clicked you get 100% of the revenue, the other 40% goes to Hubpages. If you want more info, check out the Hubpages Review.

Knol – Share what you Knol…and even generate some income!

Blogger – Your all purpose Web Logger, no doubt its Blogger!


Now you have the key component to becoming a successful Freelance Writer all is left is to go out there and make it happen! New content is KING in this world, and if you can help provide it you will fall directly into the golden rain and even find some Limelight. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and will share it with your friends and family! Its easy to do, you basically just need to click on the word to promote it on your twitter account or click the Digg word to be taken to a page were this article can be dugg! If it is a source you wish to check back on, you can always bookmark it on Delicious. Like my articles? Subscribe to my Rss feed using your choice of feed reader! You can also come see more of my Hubs on my Profile.

Thanks again for reading!

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    • emievil profile image

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      Ugh, great hub! :) Setting my fees is kind of difficult for now because I'm in bidding sites (where the lowest bid most often than not usually wins).

      I'm actually contemplating to make this my semi-full time job. Are you serious about the 1,000 words per 20 minutes? That's very fast! *sigh* you're discouraging me! :( Oh well, I think I need to come up with my own estimate of how much I need to charge per hour or per word. I'll refer to your hub for this. Thanks!

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 7 years ago from Rep Boston MA


      The article 1000 words in 20 mins was a for-instance. Its a working example for the layout I said. It doesn't have to be like that. I am not factoring in other writing styles or offers or anything like that! Don't be discouraged. Also, the article example I used is like that because it would create the yearly goal if you could get people ordering 3 articles for that price for 20 hours a week (which means you can do the 3 articles over 3 hours if you want, its just that will be on your own time or your admin time)!

      Hope this explains!


    • emievil profile image

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks tharanx, that cleared it up. :)

    • profile image

      Writer's Block 7 years ago

      A decent Hub and very useful. Many thanks.

    • FGual profile image

      FGual 7 years ago from USA

      This is a helpful Hub. I've been working for Textbroker at 1.5 cents a word, which is not enough to live on, and if one period should have been a comma, they will let you know. Are they really expecting the perfect article at that price?

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 7 years ago from Rep Boston MA


      Well yes, they do expect perfection. Think about it, anything I personally pay for I want to be perfect, if its advertised for a lower price the better. Its hard to get me to buy anything, and if I buy something because its cheap I still expect a high quality to it or else they would know about it!

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