Here’s How Much to Charge Your Freelance Writing Clients

How much to charge freelance writing clientsOnly getting paid a few bucks here and there for freelance writing gigs?

Wish you could quit the day job and make a healthy living freelance writing online instead?

In the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro, we look at how you can actually live off your freelance writing work – and quit your day job if that’s all part of your master plan.

The course is aimed at people who really want to turn freelance writing into a successful business where you have regular work that covers your bills (and more fun things besides).

This post is an adapted extract from the very same course.

I know, I know. Sounds like bad advice, right?

Wrong! Because just by pitching for writing clients, instead of individual freelance writing gigs on Upwork and the like, you’ll make the transition from mediocre earner to online writing success and riches.

Like most things that are worthwhile though, it’s a process.

If you’ve read my free eBook about how to build a writing portfolio from scratch, you’ll know that starting small can – and will – work. But once you’ve proved you’re the remarkable and reliable writer you know yourself to be, you need to step up your game a notch or two.

More specifically, you need to stop pitching for individual writing gigs and pitch for clients that will come on board and pay you a regular fee per month that you can come to rely on.

But first, you need to work out how much to charge those clients…

Why you need to work out your hourly rate

While I don’t actually recommend you charge your freelance writing clients by the hour, you still need to consider your hourly rate.

Confused? Let’s look into it further…

When you contact potential clients, I suggest you pitch your writing services based on a simple monthly fee. To find your monthly fee, you need to be aware of the following:

  1. How much and what type of work you can complete in an hour
  2. Your ideal hourly rate

(Note: The idea of a monthly fee is based upon the fact that where I’m from things like rent and bills are expected on a monthly basis – usually on the last day of the month. If in your part of the world these things are demanded weekly or fortnightly then charge your clients according to that instead.)

Choose your own salary

To find your hourly rate you first need to consider an annual salary that’s ideal yet feasible. Be realistic, but don’t sell yourself short.

Think about how much you’ve studied your craft and how much you can benefit companies and publications with your writing abilities.

You might want to start with a figure slightly above your annual salary at your old or current day job. This needs some thought as you don’t want to set it too low, but nor do you want to be too unrealistic.

Here cometh the number crunching…

Take your annual salary and divide it by 200 days. This will give you a figure that indicates how much you need to earn each workday to achieve your specified annual salary. (Note that weekends and holidays have already been taken into account – you’re not going for a 365-day work year here.)

Now divide your daily rate by how many hours you intend to work per day.

This figure is your new hourly rate as a freelance writer online.

But the number crunching does stop there because you now need to consider how long each piece of work takes you to complete.

Say you pitch to a client and offer to write four blog posts per month and you know it will take you two hours to research, write and polish each one. You need to multiply your hourly rate by two hours for each blog post and then again by four (for how many you’ve committed to per month).

For example, if you worked out your hourly rate to be $50 an hour, you need to multiply that by two hours and then four blog posts. $50×2 is $100. Multiply it by 4 and you now know you need to charge that client $400 per month.

(NB: We look at how you can add more to your monthly fees without your clients freaking out in the next section of the course module this post is from.)

Your hourly rate is not something you need to inform your clients of – it’s just something you work out on your own to begin with.

As you become better and better at constructing blog posts and other online content to a higher standard in a shorter period of time, you can revisit your hourly/monthly rate again and again.


You may already have a different method for charging clients that works for you. Feel free to share it in the comments below, along with any variations of this method too.

>> Get the video version of this post, along with pitching templates and in-depth instructions on how to set up your freelance writing business and earn a living from it, in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.

Photo courtesy of Images_of_Money on Flickr

23 Comments

  • Diana

    Reply Reply November 5, 2013

    Great advice, Kirsty! I never thought of pitching for clients instead of writing gigs (maybe because i really don’t see myself as a writer, still LOL). But occasionally i do get writing assignments from clients so calculating a monthly fee and putting the client on a retainer is an excellent idea – will try it out, thanks for the idea 😀

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 5, 2013

      You’re welcome Diana. It just gives that bit of reliability to an otherwise rocky freelance road I find!

  • Ellen Hill

    Reply Reply November 10, 2013

    Thanks so much for this article, Kirsty. Very helpful.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 10, 2013

      You’re welcome Ellen. Glad it helped!

      • John Williams

        Reply Reply May 19, 2015

        Even an old hack like me finds inspiration from your emails, Kirsty. Your advice to writers to resist the temptation to continuously re-write is sound indeed. The world’s greatest epic will
        be pointless, if it misses the deadline!

        • Kirsty Stuart

          Reply Reply May 19, 2015

          Exactly John! Thanks so much – I’m so glad you’ve found my posts useful.

  • I am so happy I stumbled onto your name on Google+ today! I love your site, Kirsty. This is a great post too – it’s always tricky for me to figure out my rate, but I love how you’ve simplified it.

    I’m definitely coming back. Thanks!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 27, 2013

      Thanks so much Crystalee! Glad this post helped you out and hope to see you back soon. 🙂

  • wendymc12

    Reply Reply December 3, 2013

    I completely agree with you. I have been reading in one of my LinkedIn groups about people using sites like Elance and was appalled to learn that they were paying money to show up near the top in search results. These are people who are spending hours trying to find a writing gig and for little money to boot.

    If these people would just reach out to their social media connections, they would be shocked to learn that they will get many jobs and at a pay rate that is much more suitable.

    So glad you wrote this post. I hope people take your advice. There is a better way!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply December 3, 2013

      Here’s hoping Wendy!

  • William Ballard

    Reply Reply April 22, 2014

    Hi Kirsty,

    Excellent post! I really like reading how you break your hourly rate down to better understand your monthly rate which will then ultimately let you know what your salary for freelance writing is.

    This is excellent and in-depth.

    Freelance Writer and Blogger
    William Ballard

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply April 23, 2014

      Glad the post is useful to you William. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  • a

    Reply Reply June 22, 2014

    I’m not sure why but this site is loading very slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end?
    I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply June 23, 2014

      Hi, I’m the site owner. It seems to be running fine from here, but if you check back later and it’s still running slowly for you please do let me know.

  • Jay Carter

    Reply Reply July 9, 2014

    What a brilliant brain you have! I’m so intrigued by your site and how you put yourself across to the reader. The financial income structuring information is an enormous help.
    I have much to learn whilst embarking on a freelance travel writing career but somehow feel, after doing so much online research elsewhere, that I may have stumbled upon the most informative of websites, and one that answers so many of the questions I have been pondering since giving up my old career.

    Brilliant, and thanks! 🙂

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply July 9, 2014

      You’re most welcome Jay. Thanks for stopping by! I’ve replied to your email too. Please look out for incoming mail from the address: contact@freelancewritersonline.com. Thanks again. 🙂

  • Mimi

    Reply Reply September 3, 2014

    Great advice Kirsty! I happen to like charging hourly though because that’s what my clients prefer. I use this site http://www.timecardcalculatorgeek.com to help me keep track of my hours and the amount owed so it’s a pretty easy process!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply September 4, 2014

      Thanks Mimi! Will check it out…

  • Kevin

    Reply Reply October 16, 2014

    Thanks so, so, so, sooooo much for this article!
    I absolutely needed this right now, because I have started out on my writing service business and an averaging about $500 a month, but it is only from people ordering individual packages, and they love my work so that I now have testimonials and now move onto getting regular clients that pay per month! 🙂

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply October 17, 2014

      That’s great news Kevin. Sounds like you’re definitely on the right track! 🙂

      • Kevin

        Reply Reply October 18, 2014

        Yeah!! 🙂

        thank you so much for this gold nugget of info, and I have to say I loved the little eBook you had and am currently in the application review process for People Per Hour, and then I am building a page on my website where people can get quotes and what not!

        Again, thank you so, so sooo much 🙂

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