Freelance Writer Rates: How Much Should You Pay in 2023?

Setting rates is one of the biggest challenges that freelancer writers come across. However, learning how to set freelance writer rates is one of the most important parts of beginning a successful freelance writing career.

Learn How to Calculate Freelance Writer Rates in a Simple Way

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Freelancing is an attractive career path for many individuals who want to avoid working in a traditional office job but have the types of skills that suit those positions. 

Designers, consultants, and writers are all examples of the types of freelancing jobs that people are choosing over working for a single company. There are many benefits that come with freelancing, like being your own boss and setting your own schedule. 

However, that also means you are responsible for things like finding clients and setting your freelance writer rates. 

Setting rates can be overwhelming for writers, who are uncertain of how much to charge clients. 

You want to make sure you are charging a rate that is fair to both you and the client. This is easier said than done. 

Thankfully, this article will help you learn about different types of rates, average rates, and tips on how to calculate the perfect rate for you.

    Types of Freelance Writer Rates

    Before you can start thinking about what you want to set as your freelance writer rates, you first need to select what type of format you want to use for charging clients. 

    There are different options and approaches you can take to charge your clients, and picking which one will work best for you is the starting point in creating a system that will work for you.

    1. By the Project (Flat Rate)

    Charging by the project, otherwise known as a flat rate, is a method of charging clients where you set a rate for every individual project you get. 

    This can be helpful when a client has a project that is complicated and will take a lot of mental work to complete but does not have a high word count and won’t take you very long to complete. 

    When you charge a flat rate, you know exactly what you will earn and the client knows exactly how much you will be charging, so they aren’t surprised by a big bill at the end of the month that they didn’t see coming. 

    However, flat rates can be difficult to calculate, especially if the project takes a lot longer to complete than you thought. You could end up losing money that way.

    2. By the Hour

    Charging by the hour is a common way of charging clients and setting freelance writer rates. 

    Hourly rates are understood by everyone, and it’s a simple system to track and calculate. You set a price for every hour you work, track your time, and then send your client an invoice for the number of hours you worked. 

    There are also downsides to charging by the hour.

    A high hourly rate might seem overwhelming to potential clients, even if it is reasonable for the number of hours you will work per pay period. 

    In addition, you can actually lose money as you become better (and quicker) at your writing.

    3. By the Word

    Another way to set your rates is by the word. 

    You set a price per word that you write, and then the client or you will set a word range for you to hit. This is another system of charging clients that is simple to do and easy to calculate. 

    It can also help ensure you are paid for all of your words, as you know that each word you write has a monetary value, so if you exceed a word count or a client asks for more work, you will still get paid. 

    Charging by the word might not be the best course, however, if you write short projects like social media posts. 

    It also can take more time to write shorter pieces, meaning that you don’t get paid much for your efforts. 

    Charging by the word also commoditizes your work, where clients are paying for words, not for your expertise and other values.

    4. By the Client (Retainer Rate)

    One final way you can charge your clients is to charge each client a recurring retainer rate. 

    A monthly (or yearly) retainer is a set recurring rate that is determined for each individual client. For the rate, you can do any number of projects or work. 

    There are typically boundaries set as to the scope of what your work will be, but the rate remains consistent. 

    This type of rate works well for clients that have regular ongoing work that they want you to complete for them. 

    It also works well when you have a large number of projects or work that is hard to charge by the word or hour, like brainstorming or idea pitching. 

    But it isn’t the right approach for clients who just have one-off projects or sporadic work.

    What’s the Average Rate for Writing?

    Labor statistics indicate that most writers earn about $69,500 every year. Broken down, that translates to about $1,440 every week. 

    When you break that down into the different categories of freelance writer rates we discussed above, that means that the average rates for writing are around $.15 – $.50 per word, or $33 per hour. 

    However, even if these are the statistical averages, it’s important to remember that there are wide disparages between different writers. 

    The type of writing you do can have a big impact on the average rates, with some types of freelance writers, like technical writers, making much more than other types of writers. 

    Another major difference to consider is the amount of experience you have. Beginners tend to charge much less, like $.08 per word or $20 per hour. 

    Those with many years of experience, on the other hand, can charge upwards of $1.00 per word and $100 per hour. 

    It all depends on how long you have been freelancing, what industries you are working in, and the types of relationships you have built with your clients.

    The Impact of AI on Freelance Writer Rates

    The cost of freelance writing rates per word has significantly risen with the increased availability of AI-generated content.

    Marketing managers will pay top dollar for human-generated and well-researched content, even if this means a stiff rise in the cost of such content.

    Hiring a human freelance writer is a good investment if you want to populate your website with thoroughly researched and fact-checked information tied neatly into engaging and informative posts that your prospective customers will love to read.

    For freelance writers, it means being able to charge more if they are experienced and don’t use AI tools to generate content. So, it seems like a win-win situation.

    For freelancers, some of the many advantages of the job include flexibility, better work-life balance, better pay, and more income to help with rising inflation and living costs.

    While rates once topped off at $1 for highly experienced writers, recently, freelance writers can charge up to $2 per word for articles.

    This high increase in rates is likely due to the sharp increase in inexperienced freelance writers entering the market. Statistics show that 73% of American workers interviewed are considering starting a freelance writing business in 2023.

    Changes in Project Pricing

    Unfortunately, this influx of writers can be bad news for marketing managers and businesses. While marketing managers might think they’re getting competent freelancers because they are paying higher rates, this isn’t always the case.

    State of Marketing Report 2024

    To become high-quality writers, it can take several months to up to four years for freelancers to gain the skills. In the meantime, a saturated market means more competition and fewer experienced writers for marketers to find. Finding the right content writer for a project might be like finding a needle in a haystack.

    When marketers find an experienced, high-quality writer, they may need to pay them a higher rate than originally planned.

    In addition to higher freelance writing rates per word, you might also see an increased price for individual projects.

    For instance, advertising copywriters can now charge as much as $92 per hour or $2278 per project, while press release writers might charge $97 per hour or about $480 per project.

    Marketers must understand whether they will pay per word or per project when hiring a freelance writer. Paying flat rates per project is an excellent way to exert control over a finished product.

    However, paying per word might be a better option for shorter, more regular blog posts.

    How to Calculate The Ideal Rate

    Every freelance writer will have different rates and calculations for reaching those rates. 

    As you work on putting together your freelance writer rates, here are some different factors that you can consider and tips on how to go about finding the perfect rate for your business.

    1. Type of Writing

    The types of writing you offer can impact your rates. For instance, content like whitepapers, eBooks, advertising copy, press releases, news articles, and newsletters, among others, tend to be on the pricier side.

    If you are a technical writer who works with complicated topics, you will likely be able to charge more than if you do social media or traditional blog writing.

    Producing fluent and knowledgeable content in these various formats requires more skill, and you must be prepared to pay more to create unique projects.

    2. Services Offered

    Another factor is the types of services you offer. If you can do brainstorming, editing, proofreading, pitching, and strategic planning for clients, you can charge more for these types of services than just for your writing.

    As a freelancer, offering more services can make you stand out among other freelance writers. They can combine your writing skills with other popular services and charge more money for your writing.

    For instance, you can get paid to write a podcast script and earn money editing a podcast together.

    While 82% of freelancers are writers, there are more untapped markets in digital creation, graphic design, video and podcast editing, and much more.

    3. Experience Level

    The more experience and years of practice you have, the more you can charge for services. Beginners will likely need to build up their portfolio and client list before they can charge top rates.

    Novice freelancers can build up their experience by charging affordable rates (between $.02 to $.05 per word) for writing projects. Charging lower rates means clients are more willing to work with you and invest in your services despite a lack of experience.

    As your clients leave better reviews and you build a bigger portfolio, you can begin to charge more for your work. For a marketer, hiring novice freelancers may pay off if you find someone who is a good writer but charges lower rates because they still need to gain proven experience.

    4. Complexity of Subject

    The more complex the subjects you approach are, the more you can charge clients.

    Different industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and technology tend to have more complicated topics that need to be addressed and will pay more for your services.

    For instance, if you’re a registered nurse, you can use your nursing skills to write articles, blog posts, eBooks, and more. Feel free to show your clients your credentials and education experience. Just make sure your job is fine with your freelance writing, and ensure you review their policies on second jobs.

    5. Time Spent Working

    Even if you aren’t charging by the hour, the time it takes to complete a project should be included in your rate calculations.

    If you charge a flat rate or a retainer, you still need to know how long it takes to complete a project so that you know you aren’t going to lose money by taking more hours than you planned to complete the work.

    As you gain more freelancing experience, you’ll better understand how long it takes to complete your work.

    For instance, some blog posts might take as little as one hour or as long as two days to complete. When setting your rates, consider different factors such as researching time, typing speed, and other client requests.

    If a client wants you to gather artwork and include thorough research, this will take longer than an opinion-based blog post. Ensure you thoroughly research your client’s preferences before agreeing to a set price.

    6. Work Backwards

    Another way to calculate rates is to start backward.

    Think about how much you want to earn every year, and how many hours you want to work each week. You can then divide that up to figure out how much you need to charge per word or per hour to meet your goals.

    You’ll want to work 40 hours per week as a full-time freelancer. Now, let’s say you want to make $70,000 per year. It means you’ll need to make roughly $33 per hour to achieve your goal (before taxes).

    While this is a great way to make a living if you have steady clients and work, remember you might have some weeks where you have no work and others where you’re working more than 40 hours.

    You may also be interested in these articles:

    WriterAccess Rates

    WriterAccess makes it easy to set rates based on your experience.

    Writers are given a star rating before they join the platform. The higher the star rating, the higher the rate per word, up to $0.10.

    Clients can shop for high-quality writers by choosing higher star-rated writers, and freelancers with experience can ensure they’re being paid fairly according to their expertise.

    WriterAcess also offers a Pro marketplace where clients and writers can negotiate flat rate fees, hourly rates, or higher pricing at $0.11 per word.

    Wrap Up

    Working as a freelancer has many different benefits. 

    Freelancers get to choose their clients and roles, and are their own bosses. But learning how to set freelance writer rates can be overwhelming, especially for those just beginning a freelance career. 

    Thankfully, thanks to tips like these and confidence in your skills, you’ll be able to calculate the perfect freelance writer rates for your freelancing business.

    Another area where new freelancers struggle is finding the clients they need to support their business. While it can become easier over time, it helps to have a place to start. 

    If you are looking for a place to find freelancing jobs, or you are a marketer looking for freelancer assets, check WriterAccess!

    WriterAccess is a content creation platform that combines the efficiency of AI-powered tools with the creativity of human writers to streamline content production.

    Why not give it a try today? Sign up now for WriterAccess and get 14 days of free access to our network of expert writers. Discover for yourself what great content can do for your business!


    Human Crafted Content

    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

    Human Crafted Content

    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

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