How much do freelance writers make per article? The short answer is: it depends.
However, it’s one of the top concerns for freelance writers or people considering joining the freelance world.
Once you start diving into the freelance writing marketplace, you might see prices all over the place and wonder which ones are accurate or worth your time. There are prices everywhere from pennies per word to hundreds of dollars for an article, so it can be hard to know what’s a fair price.
This article will go over what the current freelance writing stats are, how to figure out your rate, and some more details you need to know to succeed as a freelance writer.
- What makes article rates different?
- How much do freelance writers make per article?
- How much should you charge?
- Should freelance writers charge by hour or by project?
- Should freelance writers publish their rates?
What makes article rates different?
While it would be great if there was an industry standard for articles, the fact is that it truly depends on a variety of factors.
Some of those factors include:
- The budget of the company paying for the article
- Your experience around the topic you’re writing about
- The length of the article
- The research needed to complete the article
- The goal of the article
Even with all of those in mind, you’ll still often see a wide range of prices as you get started on your freelancing journey.
Two assignments that appear the exact same could still have a huge gap in pay rate.
There are plenty of sites willing to pay freelancers in “exposure”, meaning no pay at all, which you’ll have to decide if that’s worth it for your career.
How much do freelance writers make per article?
It can be pretty demoralizing to dive into the freelance writing world and see articles for $0.01 to $0.02 per word on some job sites. You hear about freelancers making six figures but also have no idea what you should be charging.
Let’s dive into some research from around the web to see what the averages are and what people are typically making for their writing.
Venngage found that the majority of writers will make under $0.25 per word or around $250 per article (keep in mind that article was published in 2016).
Peakfreelance surveyed hundreds of writers and found that $250 to $399 is the most common rate for a 1,500 word blog post. One surprising thing they mentioned is that 36% of the writers also mentioned they charge at least a 16% extra fee for a ghostwritten article.
According to Demodia, writers generally charge around $4,500 per white paper. As an article writer, you might be asked to write one so knowing what to charge can help you quote accordingly. They often require much more work than articles, but it can be worth it.
Freelance writers can use sites like Who Pays Writers? to see the specifics behind a publication and find out how much and how fast they pay. This can give you a good idea of what publications charge.
How much should you charge?
Now, just because those numbers are the average, doesn’t mean that’s always what you should charge.
For example, if you have a degree or have worked in a field for a long time, you have more expertise than the average person and should be charging more than the average.
Where you live might also be a factor when it comes to your rates. You might be able to take on a lower rate because your expenses are lower.
While pricing is hard to say with an exact number, there are a few things you should keep in mind, such as your basic hourly rate, your hidden costs, and more.
Figure out your hourly rate
If you’re considering becoming a freelance writer, or already are but don’t have a set rate, at the very least you should start with figuring out your hourly rate.
How much do you need to make per article to make this worth it?
To figure this out, you should start with timing yourself as you write your articles. How long do they take you in comparison to the average rates out there?
For example, if you know a 2,000 word article takes you about five hours to write and you see an ad for one for $200, that comes out to $20 per hour.
Is that enough for you to consider it worth it?
You might need to figure out your bills and monthly costs to figure out if it’s worth your time. The last thing you need to do is dive into freelance writing and then realize you’re not even making minimum wage.
Hidden costs as a freelancer
You also need to keep the hidden costs in mind when you’re figuring out your rate.
As a freelance writer, you will almost always be in charge of paying your own taxes, getting your own health insurance, buying your own gear, and taking care of your own retirement plans.
With this in mind, you should be charging more than you would be making out in the working world as an employee.
Working your way up
Of course, you’ll often need to work your way up the ladder as a freelance writer. Lots of writers dream of making six figures in their first few months, but you’ll need to accept it can take time.
When you’re just starting out, you’re going to make mistakes and take some jobs that aren’t as much as you would like to earn. We all go through it, and it’s okay!
Just know, around every 6 months you should be raising your rates if you’re getting a decent amount of work.
It’s not a complete rule, but it’s just an idea to keep in mind. At the very least, every year or two you should be increasing your rates.
Finding better rates
As time goes on, one thing you’ll want to focus on is expanding your network. When you expand your network, you’ll be able to charge higher rates and get writing jobs that aren’t on job boards.
The jobs that you find through networking and meeting people are the ones that will really catapult your rate.
Let’s say you’ve done the work to figure out that you need at least $30 an hour or $200 per 1,500 words.
If you come across an article that clearly needs extra research, let’s say at least two hours worth, you would want to quote $260 for that article (if not more to give yourself a little wiggle room).
If you find out that you’ll also need to interview a few past clients, or put together all of your research into a case study, you’ll need to ballpark how long that will take you.
This is why tracking your time using something like Clockify or a time-tracking app, will be incredibly helpful for you moving forward.
Should freelance writers charge by hour or by project?
By and large, one of the most popular ways of charging clients is by the project. That’s why it’s essential to figure out how long articles take you so you can price articles accordingly.
You might start off charging by the word, which is where most freelance writers start.
However, as you gain experience and start to network with better clients, you will most likely work your way up to per-project pricing.
You also have the option of offering retainers where you give the client a certain amount of work per month or quarter at a set rate. This can be a fantastic way to create consistent income.
Should freelance writers publish their rates?
Now that you’ve decided your price for an article as a freelance writer, you might be wondering if you should put these rates on your website.
It’s up to you!
On one hand, your potential clients might like to know your rates right off the bat.
However, each project might be completely different and you might need to know more details before you say a quote. For example, you might charge $200 for an article, but one client might need one that requires more depth and research than you usually do, which takes up more time than the quoted rate on your website.