How much should I charge as a freelance writer

How Much Should I Charge as a Freelance Writer?

Are you trying to make money online as a freelance writer? You’re probably asking how much should I charge as a freelance writer? Freelance writing rates are often hard to tie down, but I have this guide to make sense of it for you.

Whether you’re a newbie to making money online or you’re an experienced freelancer, pricing remains to be one of the greatest mysteries of working online. Let’s face it — there’s no secret formula to decide just how much to charge as a freelance writer!

Did you know that by 2020, over 43% of the U.S. workforce is expected to be doing some kind of freelancing? Because learning how to price yourself as a freelancer and charge what you’re worth is more important than ever, let’s answer this question once and for all: how much should I charge as a freelance writer?

How to Become a Freelance Writer

First, I wanted to talk about my own journey into freelance writing. I studied English in college, and I stumbled into freelance writing mostly by accident.

While looking for a way to post my own portfolio online, I created a blog for the first time. It slowly started to grow, and now my blog is a major source of income for me. Making money as a blogger has been a dream come true, but it also led to a number of freelance writing opportunities.

Now, freelancing is my full-time job, and I love being able to work online.

Whether you’re a college student or a professional, there are opportunities to get paid to write out there. In fact, I’ve got a list of 20+ websites that will pay writers for articles that might be all you need to get started.

So to answer the big question, how do you become a freelance writer?

First, you need a self-hosted WordPress website. From there, you need some samples. Having 3-5 top-quality samples is all you really need but remember you’ll mostly be writing for the web, not an academic class. They should be interesting, engaging, and easy to read.

Set up your self hosted blog

Are you ready to get started? Learn how to start your own self-hosted WordPress website in just 5 steps! Plus, it’ll just cost you a couple of bucks. Sweet!

Lastly, you need a niche. A freelance writing niche is any focus area, or topic, that you specialize in. It helps to have experience with your freelance writing niche, but it can also be something that you research on your own.

Beyond these things, you just need to be prepared to pitch yourself, find the right clients, and hit the ground running! Now we’ll talk about how much you should charge as a freelance writer.

How Are Freelance Writers Paid?

I was really confused by the pricing situation when I started making money online as a freelance writer. It’s not necessarily the same as other types of freelance work. Here are a few terms you should know:

  • Hourly – Like most freelance gigs, a lot of times you’ll be offered pay based on an hourly scale. This isn’t unlike a traditional job, but it might not always be worth your while, especially if you’re writing about a topic you’re interested in that will go quickly. However, for researched-focused work, this can be a great way to make sure an hour worked is an hour paid.
  • Per Word – It’s common to get paid per word as a freelance writer. This means if you’re paid $0.10 per word, a 1000 word article will earn you $100.
  • Per Project – Finally, you might be paid per project, or per article. This can be a good idea if you don’t want to worry about reaching a specific word count, or if you’re bundling articles into a single package.
Price per word as a freelance writer

How Much Should New Freelance Writers Charge?

This article is organized by experience level so you can determine just how much you should be charging. The point of freelancing is to make money online, so you want to make sure you’re actually making money.

Remember, you’re a business owner, not an employee. You need to cover your business expenses. Your rate will need to cover the cost of your time, your website, admin tasks, and so on.

What exactly qualifies a freelancer as a “newbie?” Anyone with under 1 year of professional, technical, or online writing experience is likely a newbie. If you have writing experience, but you’ve never written for the web, you might not be a newbie if you’re able to catch up on a few online writing protocols quickly.

If you’re an absolute newbie, I don’t think you should charge any less than 20$ an hour or $0.03 a word. This is a really low rate per word, so charging up to $0.07 a word would be perfectly reasonable.

Factors to consider:

  • Research – How much research is needed? If it’s a simple piece, you might charge less than something more complicated.
  • Time – How long will it take you to write the article?
  • Topic – Finally, the niche matters with pricing. Certain niches usually charge more like tech, marketing, business, medical, and so on. Lifestyle articles are usually the least expensive.

How Much Should Intermediate Freelance Writers Charge?

First, who even is an intermediate freelance writer? While this definition is far from set in stone, an intermediate freelance writer is anyone with 2 – 4 years of experience writing online.

In addition, intermediate freelance writers have experience with more technical things like keyword research, search engine optimization best practices, WordPress, and perhaps other technical platforms. They’re considered very knowledgable in their niches, and they are only improving.

For this level of experience, don’t charge under $30 an hour. Depending on the project, you might charge between $0.08 – $0.25 per word. You might charge more depending on the niche.

Factors to consider:

  • What do you bring to the table? – If you bring any additional skills to the table like SEO, link building, expertise, and so on, you should charge for this know-how!
  • Sample work – Do you have kick-butt sample pieces or perhaps even features on high-authority websites? If so, charge for it!

How Much Should Experienced Freelance Writers Charge?

Last but not least, let’s talk about how much experienced freelance writers should charge. This is one of the trickiest freelance writing rates to nail down!

Who exactly is an expert freelance writer? It’s anyone with over 5+ years of experience who is considered an expert in her or her field. Their work drives results!

Experienced freelance writers should charge over $0.50 a word or over $60 an hour. They might increase this rate depending on the project, research needed, or other particulars.

  • Professional experience – Many advanced freelancers have professional experience in their field as well as their writing experience. This is priceless!
  • Results-driven – What results have you generated in the past? If you’ve landed some big accomplishments, all of these things matter when determining your freelance writing rate.

Am I Charging Enough as a Freelancer?

If you’re asking whether you’re charging enough as a freelance writer, hopefully, this article shed some light on the situation. This is in no way a perfect science! A lot of factors like cost of living where you live, the location of your audience/client, and project type will matter when deciding the perfect freelance writing rate.

It’s all about doing what’s right for you. If you feel comfortable with the rate, it’s the right rate. If you’re not comfortable, it’s time to ask for more money as a freelancer.

Making money online is becoming more and more popular. As freelance writing becomes more common, it will also become more clear how much to charge. Have you landed on the perfect freelance writer rate? Let me know in the comments!


Hey, I'm Sam! I'm the blogger and full-time writer behind Samanthability. I blog about starting your own blog and rocking post-grad life. You can find me exploring Seattle, binge-drinking iced coffees, and reading spicy romance books. I'm glad you're here!