It’s a legitimate question, really. I mean, how do you set your rates? Seeing how rates determine your income you must have some logical reasoning for charging what you charge for your work. Setting your rates is one of the most crucial aspects of your freelance writing business. Make sure you do it right.
Here’s the deal: This is something you have to get right. It’s important. Really important. Charge too much and your potential clients will beat a path to… someone else’s door. If you don’t have the portfolio to back up your five-star rates, no one is going to take you seriously. Seriously.
Of course if you charge too little, you are letting money fall right out of your hands. As well, potential clients are not going to take you seriously. Seriously.
Wow. That’s quite a tight rope to walk, isn’t it? Sorry folks, it is the nature of the business. If you haven’t done so already, you need to get this figured out.
Here’s a little story to give you an idea about human nature and how things work:
Once upon a time there was a devilishly handsome bald guy who sold cars at a Chevy dealership. He wasn’t the best technical salesman but he was a nice guy and he sold a car or two. Through all of the car deals he learned one immutable fact: The people who left the dealership having paid the most for their car were absolutely the happiest customers. The grinding nickle and dimers were always the surliest, no matter how good a deal they received. In their mind they thought that since they were able to work the price down, there must have been more money left on the table.
What I’m saying here is that having rock bottom rates does not necessarily make you some kind of a nice writer that people will adore. It is more likely that folks will take your low rates as a sign of rank amateurism or as an easy mark. Realistic, savvy clients who understand how things work have no problem paying for the services they receive. These are the people you want lining up at your door. They are excellent referrals and often times they are repeat customers.
There are a couple of ways that you can come up with the rates that you charge. Let’s looks at them:
- Look it up. There are sources in print and on the net where you can get an idea for what “normal” rates are for different types of freelance work. Gather as many of these as you can to make any rates you are considering more statistically significant.
- Ask. Surely you know other freelance writers. Most of us are pretty decent folk and would be more than happy to provide a bit of guidance – although don’t expect the whole thing delivered on a silver platter. You may receive some guidance but not necessarily the exact rate structure we use.
Once you have an idea about going rates, temper them with your experience level, your income needs and your portfolio.
Myself, I use a flexible rate structure that is quoted on a project basis. Some are 50 bucks. Others are 8 grand. It varies.
Some of this rate business will get sorted out over time. Sometimes you may end up with an open wound or two but they will heal and you’ll know better next time.
Let’s hear it: How do you rate?