Starting Out

How Do I Set My Freelance Writing Rate?

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You’ve just decided to start freelancing and can’t wait to get started.

How Do I Set My Freelance Writing Rate?

You’re setting up your website, updating your social media profiles, and looking for freelance writing work left, right, and center.

It doesn’t take long before your first prospective clients knock on your door.

You invite them in barely able to contain your excitement and do your best to make them feel welcome.

You’ve just decided to start freelancing and can’t wait to get started.

It works. They relax and start talking. Just as they’re about to shake your hand to seal the deal, they ask:

So how much will this cost us? What are your rates?

*cue silence*

Your first instinct is to say “whatever you feel is fair” but even in your daze you know that’s not appropriate.

The good news is, you’re not alone.

Every freelancer has stood where you are standing now: nervous and unsure of how much to charge for your freelance writing work.

Three Rules for Setting Your Freelance Writing Rates

Now before I give you specific numbers of what you can or should charge, I want to tell you the three rules of freelance writing rates.

Money is Just a Number

What’s a high rate for you may be loose change for your client. But that’s not your problem – nor is it your client’s.

What’s a high rate for you may be loose change for your client.

The only thing you need to focus on is charging an amount that’ll keep you motivated to do your best work. If that’s $25 for 500 words then by all means, charge $25.

There’s No Room for Second Thoughts

Once you’ve committed to a figure, you need to honor it. It doesn’t matter that you now feel you could have charged more because the client accepted your rates without batting an eye.

That’s a rabbit-hole you can’t afford to go down because otherwise you’ll resent the work you’re doing and it’ll show in your work.

Raise Your Rates Every 3-6 Months

Just because you’re happy with your rates now doesn’t mean you’ll always be. As your skill set will grow, so will your need to earn more.

Be smart. Don’t let it get to the point where you resent your rates. Instead, raise your rates every 3 – 6 months even if it’s just by $5.

As your skill set will grow, so will your need to earn more.

And if you don’t have your rates listed on your writer site, then make sure you always quote slightly higher rates to new clients.

Now that we’ve gotten the three rules of setting your freelance writing rates, it’s time to get down to actual numbers.

Setting Your Freelance Writing Rates

There are three tiers of rates you can charge depending on your experience.

Keep in mind that these are the minimum you should be charging.

The rates below are what I recommend on my blog, and they’re what I’m recommending to you:

If You’re Just Starting Out

I get it. You’re a new writer, don’t have any experience under your belt, and you’re afraid no one’s going to hire you.

Here’s what I suggest you charge if you’re just starting out: $25 for 300-500 words.

It’s high enough to discourage scumbag clients who pay $1-$5 for articles but not so high for a small business owner whose business is just starting to take off.

If You Have Some Experience

If you’ve been blogging for a while and have a few guest posts published and a blog of your own that’s gotten decent social media and comment love – you’re an upcoming writer with some experience.

To you, I say, please don’t charge below $50 for 500-750 words.

If you’re unsure about charging this much, consider this: There are a ton of blogs out there that pay $50 for guest post submissions. If you’re having trouble finding clients, start guest posting on them. Sophie Lizard has a free report (that woman’s a genius) that lists blogs that pay $50 or more for guest posts.

If you’re having trouble finding clients, start guest posting.

If You’re Experienced

Now here’s where the power is yours. You’re free to set your own rates depending on how often or how significantly you’re willing to raise them.

At this point, you should be charging a minimum of $100 per 500 – 750 words. Anything less and you’re shortchanging yourself.

Now that you know exactly how much to charge, you won’t freeze the next time a client asks you your rates.

Final Thoughts

Charge an amount you’re comfortable with. A client can’t tell when you aren’t comfortable in your own skin. And if they question why your rates are so high (trust me, you’ll find clients who say that even when you’re charging $25), you should be ready with an answer.

Leave a Reply


Excellent post and information, indeed. Thank you!Reply to Myrene
Hi Samar, Excellent post, I wish I came across this one when I first started. This subject has got to be the biggest point of stress for freelancers, especially new ones. Instead of beating around the bush about rates, you give solid examples of where to start. Thank you! 🙂Reply to Christine
Love this straight-to-the-point guide! What to charge is a common concern I see floating around the freelancing world, but the best we can do is charge a fee we’re comfortable with and keep raising our prices as our experience grows!Reply to Lizzie
Newbie freelancers try to attract more clients with their low rates, not realizing that they only bury themselves in a low value client market. Like you said, scumbag clients are lurking and searching to find inexperienced writers to take advantage of them. Not only it can be potentially threatening for your career, but it can also make you hate your client and your job and anything related to it. So my first and most important advice (besides setting your rates properly) is being very careful when choosing who you’re going to work for.Reply to Jobs
Samar, You’re my idol! I love your cut through approach to freelance writing rates. I’ve learned a lot from your posts on this subject. I’ve been steadily increasing my rates with every client, and while sometimes I go up and other times stay the same, I’m on an upward slope for making more money as a freelance writer. Thanks! ElnaReply to Elna