I have been writing as a freelancer for almost a decade now, and I have long resigned myself to the fact that my rates are difficult to pin down. Coming from a developing country, I have to struggle with the extremely low freelance writing rates usually associated with writers from my part of the world. On the other hand, I have been fortunate enough to have been given the chance to work with a vast network. Additionally, I consider my work to be worth more than what many clients offer to non-native speakers.1
So where does that leave me? Somewhere in between.
No complaints here, to be honest. I consider myself well paid for what I do on a regular basis. It is only when I occasionally deal with new clients that I have to come to terms with the differences in freelance writing rates.
Then there is the fact that I also work with one of the biggest freelance writing blogs – Freelance Writing Jobs. Its audience is mainly based in North America, although we cannot ignore the fact that freelance writers are emerging more and more all over the world.
This brings us to my point: what do we consider a fair rate?
This question has been bugging me for a while, especially when people point out that USD10 for a 500-word article is a ridiculously low amount. Someone even labeled it as slave labor. Here are some opinions about this particular rate.
I beg to disagree.
I do not know where you are located. I do not know what your standards are. I do know, however, that for some people, USD10 can make a significant difference.
To give you another perspective, let’s convert USD10 to PHP (Philippine Peso). That’s about PHP413. That’s more than enough for my monthly water bill. That can buy me two buckets of beer (depending on where you go). That can pay for two homecooked meals for two persons.
Okay, so I live in a country where the standard of living is lower than in the US. A little goes a long way here.
But, I’ve received feedback from some freelance writers based in North America who would take 10-dollar writing jobs (some even go as low as USD8) because it all adds up at the end of the month. You can’t really argue with that, can you?
How about the idea of lowering the prevailing rates, and thus lowering the worth of writers in the eyes of clients?
This is one of the most common arguments I have come across in the defence of NOT accepting USD10 for a 500-word article. (The numbers vary depending on the person, of course.)
I totally understand where the argument is coming from. However, we also need to take a look at the specifics of the writing job. Personally, I think that this is a fair rate for general articles and blog posts. Sure, I would love to receive more, but if the article – research, writing, and proofreading – will not take more than an hour of my time, I would take it.
Additionally, if the writing job is a bulk order or a long-term gig, having that “sure money” is better than having to spend even more time and effort creating pitches and getting in touch with potential clients.
There are many factors!
Having voiced out my thoughts, I have to say that it is not cut-and-dried. There are many factors that come into play: your location, the topic, the amount of research, and the amount of detail needed, among many others.
I do think that at the end of the day, the freelance writing world is not limited to one part of the world. There are freelance writers struggling to make ends meet everywhere. We might have different standards, and we cannot really impose what we think is a fair rate on everyone.
It’s up to the client and the writer to come to an agreement, and if they don’t, then it’s for them to deal with. (On that note, I have to say that I think I just lost a potential client after telling him how much I charge per hour for a copywriting gig.)
So tell me, what are your thoughts on freelance writing rates?
Image via Freelance Writing Tips
- Not to be arrogant about it, but I know I can give many a native speaker a run for their money. [↩]