Trying to figure out how much to pay a freelance writer or charge yourself?
I’ve been freelance writing for over seven years, and I’ve also outsourced writing to various employees during my time as an entrepreneur.
Remember that rates differ based on industry, the writer’s portfolio and skill level, your budget, among many other factors.
With that being said, let’s get into it.
Freelance copywriter rates
These are the rates that you should expect to charge as a copywriter or pay if you are outsourcing projects.
What is copywriting?
Copywriting is the practice of producing sales copy, which helps a business increase revenue, leads, or another important KPI.
In this instance, I’m particularly speaking about direct response copywriting.
This includes writing sales copy like:
- Sales letters
- Landing pages
- Video sales letters
- Product descriptions
These pieces of material are as close to the point of sale as possible, which is why direct response copywriters get paid the most out of any field of freelance writing.
Their skill can easily generate a client incredible amounts of revenue, and it’s easy to measure.
If you were to pay a writer $10,000 for a copywriting project and they netted you $100,000 in sales, that’s a great ROI 🙂
Earn a six-figure living copywriting.
Copywriting is typically billed on a per-project basis or by the hour.
According to the Professional Writers Association of Canada, advertising material is normally billed at $75-150/hour.
Copywriter’s also commonly charge a day rate, which is their hourly rate multiplied by eight, as that’s a full working day.
In the case of a copywriter that charges $75/hour, her day rate would be $600.
If a project were to take two weeks, the total cost for you would be $8,400.
This might seem a lot for some business owners, but remember that it’s an investment.
A good copywriter doesn’t write material for fun. They write it to produce results.
Per-project rates are based on the estimated amount of hours that a project will need to be completed multiplied by the copywriter’s rate.
Some writers may charge a small royalty fee, as well.
Freelance editing rates
Don’t underestimate the power of editing.
Copy and content often go through ruthless edits to make it completely polished and clean.
Editors are specialized in fixing grammar mistakes, spelling errors, and rewriting copy to make it flow better.
Some times you have great material, but it lacks clear communication. An editor will revamp it so that it better resonates with customers, and ultimately increases conversion rates.
According to PWAC, editors typically charge $30-60/hour or $500-20,000 per project.
Freelance proofreading rates
It’s easy to get editing and proofreading confused. They are often performed together but can be done as separate services.
Proofreading comes after the editing process and involves re-reading the copy to correct it of inconsistencies.
While the editor actually makes the changes, the proofreader helps offer advice for communicating your message in a better way.
Hiring a proofreader will improve your branding and how well you sell a product. They will study your business and ideal customer down to a science, helping writers and editors as a team with their knowledge.
The amount you pay for a proofreader to complete a project will depend on many factors, such as:
- The material: The complexity and type of content that needs to be proofread will change the project’s price. Something like a business plan or scholarly article would be more expensive than a blog post, for example.
- Length: The longer the material, the more you will to pay. This is purely based on scale, as it will take the proofreader more time.
- Qualifications: If the proofreader has an impressive portfolio and history of results for previous clients, expect to pay a premium as you will get a better ROI.
Generally, you can expect to pay $15-45/hour for proofreading services on average.
Some professional proofreaders will charge upwards to $100/hour, however.
Website copywriting rates
Website copywriting is the process of creating websites that accurately display a brand’s message while improving how many customers they acquire.
Copywriters will create home pages, about pages, contact pages, service pages, and other key areas of a website for their clients.
They use strategies such as storytelling, calls to action, elaborating on product benefits, and more to increase the client’s sales.
Website writing is typically billed between $1-3/word or $60-100/hour.
Freelance journalist rates
Journalism is one of the best money making niches as a writer.
Writing in magazines tends to have some of the highest rates available, ranging from $0.50-3/word.
If a writer were to produce a 1,000 word article at $3/word, that’s $3,000!
Typically journalism is billed on a per-word or per-article basis, since it’s more of an adhoc industry.
You don’t see many retainers being offered in journalism, although they can be done.
Freelance technical writing rates
Interested in offering freelance technical writing services to clients? Here’s what you need to know:
What is technical writing?
Technical writing is writing content that is technical in nature, such as reports, instructions, booklets, and similar material.
It requires the writer to be skilled in writing towards a very specific audience, while clearly laying out steps for using or achieving something.
They will also have savvy research skills, commonly conducting interviews, collecting resources like market reports, and ultimately becoming an expert at the given topic.
Average technical writing rates include:
Freelance content writer rates
My bread and butter.
I love producing SEO content for my clients because it improves their authority, organic traffic, and helps them naturally acquire customers without lifting a finger.
Freelance content writing is the practice of creating blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, and other website content for businesses.
It is regularly billed on a per-word basis, and I’m a firm believer you should not pay or charge any less than $0.10/word.
Remember that how much you pay will determine the quality of the writer you get, and ultimately the improvement in business performance.
A copywriter skilled in SEO, lead generation, and CRO will charge more because they can create more results for your company.
Different copywriting rate structures
There’s no one-size fits all with deciding how much to charge for copywriting.
Every writer, client, and project is different.
Here’s the most common ways to bill for copywriting and when each approach is appropriate:
Charging an hourly rate is one of the most common approaches to billing for copywriting.
I do it all of the time.
This is ideal when there may not be a set amount of deliverables or the project is very flexible.
I recommend charging per-project when the scope of work is very clearly defined.
For instance, I use this type of project fees when I’m writing website copy, sales pages, etc.
This is because we know exactly how many pages and approximately how many words are needed.
What I like to do is calculate how many hours I will put into researching, writing, and editing the copy.
I will then bundle this up into a single fee while charging 50% upfront and the remaining after delivery.
I do not recommend charging per-word as a copywriter. It’s better suited for content as it’s educational and not focused on selling.
However, you can use a per-word calculation to set per-project fees and retainers.
This is rewarding if you’re fast typer and it’s very easy to calculate how much you will earn. Clients gain predictability, as well.
Tips for setting freelance writing rates
Now that you know what some ballpark numbers are for copywriting fees, I’m going to give you some practical advice for setting rates.
Never undercharge (especially early on!)
I recently recieved an email from an eagar copywriter new to the game.
She landed her first big client and asked me if she should charge $50/hour despite it being her first project.
I said “Hell yeah!” (Not verbatim. ;))
Here’s the thing…
Most copywriters make the grueling mistake of doing work for free orvery cheap in the beginning.
I get it.
You want to establish a portfolio and get the ball rolling.
The problem is that charging low rates is a guaranteed way to get pain-in-the-ass clients and poor referrals.
It’s a phenoma every freelancer experiences.
Charging higher allows you to find more professional clients that respect your craft, it boosts income, and gives you confidence you can’t find anywhere else.
How much do you need to pay the bills?
What’s the end goal? Six figures? Seven figures plus royalty checks?
Amazing. But, slow your horses.
Don’t be so hasty in the beginning.
I suggest that you make some clear calculations about your life and business expenses.
How much would you need to generate from copywriting to live comfortably?
Aim for that first.
This will create a nice foundation and ensure that you’re not thinking too far ahead.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say that your monthly expenses are $3,000. 💰
Charging $50/hour, you would need to bill 60 hours total.
Since I’m sure you want to have some money left over every month, that total might be more accurately 70–80 hours/month.
Hey, that’s what some people put in every week! Not too shabby.
See what I mean? Crunch the numbers and find a way to make a living without working like a horse.
Continually increase it with time
I gradually increase how much I charge clients based on my portfolio, genuine skill, confidence, and the results I generate for previous projects.
I’ve always believed in the idea of working less but making more. Who doesn’t want that?
You need to do the same.
Bump up how much you charge—per word, project, or hour—as you get better at your craft.
Give existing clients a heads-up that your rates are going up or remain at the existing payment level.
Some clients won’t mind if you’re giving them their money’s worth but some may not have the budget.
Wrapping up freelance writing rates
How much you pay for a freelance writer or charge yourself depends on a variety of factors.
Firstly, the scope of the individual project is a big one. Is it a single blog post? A 40 page sales letter? The type of copy or content being written along with how much is needed drastically changes pricing.
Similarly, the skill and experience of the writer will impact the project. Take a look at my content writing service rates as an example.
Just like anything, pricing usually reflects the quality of service you’ll receive presuming you’re hiring a writer.
Going on Upwork or trying to hire cheap writers will get you that: cheap quality work.
That’s why I recommend all business owners to look at copywriting and content writing as an investment. Good writers will net you serious leads, traffic, and revenue.
The same goes for the opposite perspective as a writer. You shouldn’t settle for cheap rates or clients who are difficult to work with.
Read my guide on how to cold email for getting clients and check out these other articles I’ve published on freelance writing for more information: