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How to Determine Hourly Pay Rates for Freelance Work: Determining Freelance Writing and Design Prices

Updated on May 21, 2020
Rui Carreira profile image

Rui Carreira is an entertainment buff who writes about a myriad of different things... one of them being lists.

How to Set Your Hourly Wage as a Freelancer?

How do you set your Hourly Wage as a Freelancer? This is a question we Freelancers often ask ourselves - Yes, I am a Freelancer myself and I wrote this article because I know it's hard to start pricing your services.

There are two different thought lines Freelancers have:

  1. They think they are too cool for school, and price themselves up right at the start, it usually doesn't end well
  2. They work almost for free to get their first costumers - this can sometimes cause trouble.

Case 2 can sometimes cause trouble because people who get used to working for laughing prices have some difficulty in raising them later - for starters, their current costumers won't go for it, and another point is they lost their touch with "reality".

More on this later, but for now let's analyze hourly rates for different Freelancing Professionals.

On the other hand, you may think about pricing on a per word basis:

In that case, you're probably thinking about what your freelance writing prices should be and how much you should charge per word of blogpost writing or website content.

Having that in mind, there's a simple rule of thumb.

I usually recommend $0.008 for newbie writers, up to $0.05 for really good ones. If you're just beginning with no meaningful experience, $0.02 is already considered to be Premium Price.

As far as graphic design is concerned, I usually recommend $80 if you're a newbie, up to $300 if you have experience.

These are just some pointers though, you do what you prefer as long as people are willing to pay for it and you're willing to do it.

Setting your Hourly Wage: As a Freelance Designer

Designing is a job with some demand on the internet world, so it's prime ground for Freelancers.

Freelance Designers should have these factors into account:

  • Proficiency: How good are you compared to your competitors? (Be Honest)
  • Fame: How Famous or how good reviews have you got?
  • Time: Are you a fast Designer?
  • Vectors: Do you design in vectors? Are you only an Image Editor (i.e. Photoshop Guy)

People who only know how to edit images and don't work in vector should always be cheap - vectors are vital!

The rest of the factors are pretty easily analyzed. Weigh all these factors and think what your hourly wage should be in a $7-$50 Interval

Freelance Writing: What Should Be My Hourly Wage? What Is My Rate Per Word?

Lots of jobs are constantly changing in demand as technology and society evolve. But Content Writing is always in demand, do you know why? The support changes (newspapers, magazines, blogs, iPhones ) but there is something which is always needed! Content!

Sites, Papers and publications can't survive without content, and as long as humanity exists - content will be needed. That's good news for us Freelance Writers!

Here are some factors you should consider:

  • Nativity: Are you a native on the language you're being hired to write?
  • Performance: How is your grammar and punctuation? Details matter!
  • Turnaround time: People usually want their articles or e-books ASAP
  • Hourly Output: You should know how many words you can write per hour and bill accordingly
  • Fame: Are you a published author? A famous one? Does nobody know you?

Knowing about these factors and weighing them in, you should decide between a $5-$70 interval.

Finally, consider the per word pay rates for freelance writers I described in the paragraph above before setting your price in stone.

Bonus Section: IT and Programming Freelance: How much should I charge per Hour?

I'm not giving the usual bullet point model here, as there are so many programming and IT variables to consider - like what do you program? Flash, HTML, PHP, MySQL, C++, Pascal, COBOL?

So, here is a little tip I'll share with you:

Go to an outsourcing site like oDesk, Elance or some other and check out your competitors, search for services similar to what you are offering and check their rates - this way you can be totally fair!

Keep in mind that programming is hard, and it should be paid accordingly. Intervals are about $15-$120 per hour.

Summing Up on Hourly Wages

I gave you some factors to consider and I also tossed some money interval limits for you to consider, but I want to add some last tips:

- Be prepared to Fight for your rates: Lots of people will want to negotiate them

- Be prepared to be asked for references: Especially if you ask a high price

- People that pay more are expecting more: Don't charge high and provide low-quality content

- Every Job gets your name on the line: Always perform, or you'll throw your name in the mud.

Remember that your pay rates have to reflect the market you're in. If people are hiring you through freelance jobs like oDesk and such, you'll see that you're offered more money than if you're working for a budget site like SEOClerks or Fiverr where people cut on the budget.

Market research is important and it matters, see what your competitors are doing and price yourself accordingly.

That's about it! Are you ready to start working?

Why do I prefer Fixed Price Jobs as a Freelancer

I always, and I mean ALWAYS, work on Fixed Price Jobs. Why is that? Well simply because I like to take work as I want. I started to freelance for a living because of the freedom it offers me.

I work when I want, where I want, and at the rate that I want.

If you work on hourly projects, you can't stop working to go on Facebook, to check the TV, water your plants, or do something else you would rather be doing. You will have to focus on that task because you're being paid to work.

Fixed Projects pay you based on your output and it doesn't matter what you do to get it done. You can be like me and make some coffee breaks ever once in a while or stop just to go outside "see the sun".

Think about this...

If you're working by the hour you have less freedom to do what you want throughout the day, and that is priceless in my opinion, giving you much more quality of life.

That's why I charge a fixed price for a task and then do it at my own rhythm, avoiding the use of those clock in apps and stuff like that. There's less control and that's how I like it.

Let me know:

If you're a Freelancer, what's your MAIN area?

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How To Work Out Your Freelance Video Editor Hourly Rate


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    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      7 years ago from Torres Novas

      I agree! Thanks for stopping by and for the comment smcopywrite

    • smcopywrite profile image


      7 years ago from all over the web

      wonderful info for online workers who need to review their overall income. not only is this useful for a freelancer, but also for anyone looking to hire one to make certain they are quoted a fair shake for a job

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      7 years ago from Torres Novas

      Thanks for stopping by Spy! Looking forward to "see" you again

    • unknown spy profile image

      Life Under Construction 

      7 years ago from Neverland

      great advice for starters like who plans to enter the world of freelancing jobs.

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      7 years ago from Torres Novas

      Time to put them to use then :D

    • AdeelAthar profile image

      Adeel Ather 

      7 years ago

      Very well written tips. I like them all!

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      7 years ago from Torres Novas

      I usually charge per word.... to each freelancer its own... Thanks for stopping by and for the follow. Kisses!

    • eHealer profile image


      7 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hey Rui, thanks for this great hub! I usually charge on the amount of research I am going to have to do. Often, I can calculate the time and the extent of what level of writing they require, with of course, the highest level or technical or medical writing on an academic or APA format. Thanks and voted up!

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      7 years ago from Torres Novas

      Hey HubPages Staff member... :p

      Thanks for popping by and leaving us your tips.

    • derek gulbranson profile image

      derek gulbranson 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      I definitely prefer hourly when the client is a large company that doesn't know what they want and has 10 managers that need to approve it. They will expect endless revisions, and there's no reason they shouldn't get them because money is usually not the main issue. If I'm hourly then when they ask, "that's great, but do you mind if..." I can do it happily and nobody feels screwed. (You can keep changing it for 6 months if you want. I get paid by the hour.) But if you flat rate it, you'd be stuck making 10 managers happy on your own dime.

      My freelance strategy was to do amazing work for really cheap until I had more work than I could handle, then raise my rates until my clients started looking for cheaper options. And by that point, I could pick and choose my projects anyway, only working on the fun projects and only as much as I wanted. It takes time, and you must be good.

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      7 years ago from Torres Novas

      One of the most profitable activities.. you should definitely work on it if you can!

    • flashmakeit profile image


      7 years ago from usa

      Programming is hard and I did not know they could make that much money. I had better practice more. Thank you for all the useful information.

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      7 years ago from Torres Novas

      That's why I prefer Fixed Jobs. Thanks for your good comment and for stopping by

    • Rui Carreira profile imageAUTHOR

      Rui Carreira 

      7 years ago from Torres Novas

      I agree Kaiyan, thanks for stopping by :D

    • GClark profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Well-written, interesting article with great advice. However, I do think anyone wanting to freelance should also consider charging a flat amount per job instead of hourly rate.

    • kaiyan717 profile image


      7 years ago from West Virginia

      I hate hourly, that is why I work for myself, to get away rom the clock. Good tips, Elance is a great way to check out other's bids before you put yours in or just use of reference.


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