Pricing your work is a tricky issue. You have to know your market, how much your expertise could bring you if you found the right markets, how much you want/need to make, how much time writing for that project will last….So while tips like “Don underestimate your value“, “Know what you need to earn to make a living as a freelance writer” make for great advice, it is a little bit more complicated than that.
Here’s what you need to pay attention to when pricing your work (and deciding whether or not to take a job with a certain price tag on it):
1) How will you charge?
- By the hour?
If you will be paid by the hour, how many hours are you expected to put aside for the project?
Will you be compensated if the work takes more hours than anticipated and agreed upon?
(How) will you be controlled? Will the client want daily reports, e-mails, skype conferences, office meetings….? Or did you take a job from odesk (a bidding site like Elance) and the client expects you to have your webcam on so that they can keep an eye on you?
It is all very well that you’ll be charged by the hour, but does the job take more than its giving? You have to weigh advantages and disadvantages to decide if the job will be worth it. Don’t just look at the price tag. Look at what the job expects.
- By project?
If you are paid by the project, you should be clear on the terms. But you should also have a good estimation of how much time will be spent. What if you want to make $50/hour, and you end up making $25/hour because the job took twice as much time and effort you expected?
2) On how much research it will take?
Again, it comes down to how many hours you will really work on the project.
3) How demanding is it?
Do you just need to write an opinion post? Or do you need to enhance the piece with expert opinions? Do you need to educate yourself first about the topic before getting all the information you need? And are you expected to just write, or do they want you to find pictures, put the post online, optimize it for the search engines, promote it….?
4) Do you get other benefits?
Such as byline to your blog, bonus for extra page views, etc…
Some jobs offer a fixed rate, with a promise of a bonus if your article performs well on the web.
While there is no guarantee that your piece will be the next new love of social media, you might feel more motivated to help with the promotion.
For instance, popular web development site SitePoint offers a retainer of $100 to its writers, and bonuses starting from $50 for a certain amount of views. For my details, you can read the write for us page on SitePoint. They also give you a byline, which means more traffic and authority for your site.
I’d love to query them, but they don’t really cover the areas I’d have lots of ideas from. And they do expect a minimum of 1,500 words in length.
5) How do you get paid?
Will you get by check or PayPal? I’ve always preferred the latter as it is faster, and there are no cuts just because I happen to live in a different country than my editor.
6) When do you get paid? On publication or the acceptance of your piece?
It is much better to be paid on acceptance. What if you send them the piece, and they decide never to publish it. Or they publish it 8 months later?
7) Is there future? Or at least a potential for the future?
Do you think this is a one off, or you think you can (or will want to) build relationships so that you might write for them again later?
If you wrote a 2000-piece on a subject you totally hated just to make money, you might not want to return to that topic again. But if you chose an area because you loved it and paid well, you will get to take advantage of your earlier research and your passion for the subject and avoid depression in the process.
For instance, I’d rather spend 60 minutes on a small, fun project and get paid a little less rather than work on weeks for an exhausting and emotionally draining piece that takes ages and its hourly pay will just about amount to what I made from the small project.
So your decision depends on many factors including your expertise, project’s and your expectations, your level of passion for the topic, the time it will take, other incentives and more.
Below are some of my favorite resources on deciding what to charge for your work. I might not agree with every point made, but they offer valuable perspectives and I learned a lot from them:
Must- Read Posts and Resources on the topic:
7 Reasons Why I Won’t Write a $15 Blog Post by Carol Tice
Well, for the record, I’d take a $15 blog job- if you asked me to write a 500-word opinion post on where Mel Gibson’s career is going. He is my favorite actor, I know all the dates of his movies, and I’ve more trivial info on the guy then Wikipedia and imdb.com combined. So yeah, I’d.
If the job was that easy, fun and research-free. So yeah, time and fun are big factors for me. But since blogging jobs are never quite like that, I’d really stick to Carol’s advice.
Mailbag: How Much Can Freelance Writers Charge for Blogging? y by Carol Tice
In response to a reader’s question, Carol offers some tips on how you can get more out of a blogging gigs-given that you pay attention to certain factors.
How much should a freelancer charge? by Moira Allen
Moira Allen has included some great pointers that I overlooked, such as your relationship with the editor. Just like any job, relationships matter- a lot! Take a look at her post.
Two other incentives for you to devour her post: Writing-World is an amazingly thorough resource for any question to you might have about writing, and it is a paying market. So not only you’ll find helpful information, it will also help your research- should you decide to query the site about writing related topics.
Oh, and on a similar note, Carol pays for guest posts on her blog, so you might want to check my post 5 Authoritative & Popular (Writing / Blogging) Sites That Accept Guest Posts for details.
Writer’s Market’s How Much Should I Charge E-book
Now, I believe this is only free for Writer’s Market members, and it includes a successful survey including low, average and high rates for almost any kind of writing. If you are thinking about become a member of Writer’s Digest’s online market database (Writer’s Market), complimentary e-books is only one of the perks.