As a freelance writer, you need to have a clear idea of how much to charge for your work. The rates will depend on your experience, bylines, talent, and how good a negotiator you are. In many cases, you may end up charging very different amounts from one project to the next.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Being open to negotiating rates on a client-by-client basis makes it much easier to find work. As long as there’s a logical limit to how much you’re willing to lower your rates, you’re good.
In this article, we’ll talk about why it pays to be flexible when it comes to freelance writing rates. Then we’ll go over three tips to help you determine how much to charge on a case-by-case basis. Let’s get to work!
Why You Should Be Flexible When it Comes to Your Freelance Rates
One of the most important parts of being a freelance writer is knowing how much to charge for your services. If you don’t know where to look for work, you’re going to find yourself surrounded by offers to write for peanuts (and what’s worse, write about weird topics).
Once you know what a professional freelance writer charges and how to find great clients, things change. One thing I’ve noticed, however, is a lot of freelance writers aren’t willing to budge on their rates under any circumstance.
That can be a good thing, in that you don’t waste time with low-paying work. However, if you don’t leave room for negotiation at all, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
The way I tackle negotiating freelance writing rates is I have a baseline and I try to highball most initial offers a little bit. If the client is happy with the rate I suggest – great. If they’re not, there’s some room to find common ground.
That leads to a basic question, which is how much you’re willing to budge on your own rates.
How to Negotiate Different Rates for Each Freelance Writing Client (3 Tips)
Being somewhat flexible on your rates means you have a higher chance of signing more clients. That extra work should more than make up any ‘discounts’ you give.
Even so, that doesn’t mean you have to take on every single project that comes your way or lower your rates too far. Here’s how I determine how much I’m willing to budge on my numbers.
1. Consider the Workload
If a very simple job with a small scope comes my way and the client has a limited budget, I might find some room to work with them. After all, I know it won’t take up too much of my time, and it might make a nice addition to my portfolio.
On the other hand, if we’re talking about a massive project with a budget that doesn’t fit the scope of the work, then I don’t feel bad at all about saying no.
The more significant the workload, the more back and forth there is with clients. That means revisions, modifying the scope of the work, tons of emails, and more.
Overall, the more work there is involved, the less likely I am to budge at all on my per-word or per-hour rates. After all, they’re high for a reason – they factor in all the additional work that writing entails.
2. Set Special Rates for Legacy Customers
One situation where a lot of freelance writers struggle is when it comes to raising rates for existing clients. A lot of people I’ve met are almost embarrassed by the idea, although raising prices from time to time is all too normal in almost every business.
Price is always a sensitive matter, and you’re likely to find push-back in a lot of situations. When it comes to negotiating a new project, I might consider using the same rates I did before if I’ve worked with that client previously.
A lot of factors go into that decision, including:
- Is the scope of this project significantly different?
- Has it been a long time since we last worked together?
- Are they easy to work with or do they require a lot of back and forth?
For clients I enjoy working with, I can be much more flexible when it comes to rates, and that’s probably true for a lot of freelancers. On the other hand, the more complicated the relationship is, the less incentive you have for negotiating rates.
3. Take Research Into Consideration
The formula here is simple, the more research a project demands, the more likely I am to increase my rates.
To put it another way, if I’m hired to write a 2,000-word article on a topic I know like the back of my hand, research should be minimal. That means it might take me as little as a couple of hours to write, if I’m feeling productive that day (the curse of the freelancer!).
On the other hand, if we’re talking about research-heavy content, that same 2,000-word article might take me days to finish.
Research and workload go hand in hand. The more complex a project is, the more you need to factor that into your rates and increase them to compensate.
If you can’t agree on a rate that both you and your potential client are happy with, by all means, walk away. In my experience, it’s far better to miss out on a job than it is to agree to do it for too little money.
If the problem is that you’re not finding enough work that pays well, then perhaps it’s time to take a look at what you can do to increase your marketability.
As a freelance writer, you’re going to work in projects with wildly different scopes. You might write blog posts, ghostwrite books, create email copy, or a thousand other things. Considering how different each job can be, adjusting your rates on a case-by-case basis makes all the sense in the world.
When it comes to figuring out how much to charge each client, there are three factors I like to keep in mind:
- What the workload looks like.
- Have I worked with this person in the past? If so, I might keep the same rates unless it’s been a long time since the last project.
- How much research the project involves.
Do you have any questions about how to adjust your freelance writing rates for each client? Let’s go over them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.