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3 Ways to Present Rates to Clients

Most writers, being creative types, are loathe to talk about money. They especially dislike when they have to tell a new client their rates or when they have to invoice a client. I know that side of freelancing can be difficult because I, too, struggled with that when I first began freelancing.

If you want to be a successful freelance writer or editor, you must overcome your resistance to talking about and asking for money. You do like to eat, right? I’ll bet you also like to live in a warm home with heat and air conditioning and, well, all the comforts of home, right?

So, as Cher said to Nick Cage in the movie, Moonstruck, “get over it!”

Here are 3 easy ways to present your rate to clients. Feel free to reword them to make them your own and practice saying them until you feel comfortable. When they ask what your rate is, answer calmly and clearly without missing a beat:

1. “My rate is $xx per hour and on long-term projects such as this one, I will invoice you every 2 weeks.”

2. “My rate is $xx per hour and with first-time clients, I require X percent up front prior to beginning work. The remaining X percent will be due Net 15 days (or Net 30 days) upon completion.

Note: If this is a long-term project, instead of the remaining X percent being due upon completion, explain that “upon completing X percent of the project, explain that you will begin billing every two weeks and each invoice is due in Net 15 days (or Net 30 days).” Make sure you choose an approach that works best for each project.

3. If you’re working for a mid-size to large company that has provided you with a purchase order, you know they’ve signaled their intent to pay you. In these instances, I usually say, “My rate is $xx per hour and since we’ll be working on this project/these projects long term, I will invoice you every 2 weeks beginning on (month/day/year).”

These are just a few ways to present your rate to clients. What are some of the ways you present rates to clients? Dip your pen into the inkwell and share what works for you!

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Setting Rates or How Much Do You Charge?

When I was first starting out as a technical editor, one of my biggest concerns was how much to charge. The idea of setting a rate for my work was exciting and frightening at the same time.

I had no idea where to begin. I’d heard that technical writers earned more than technical editors, but knowing that didn’t help me figure out what to charge for my services. How much was more?

Deciding to be proactive about setting my rates, I picked up the phone and called three technical writers I knew. They referred me to some editors they knew.

The editors were very helpful, although a few of them refused to share rate information. Those who were willing to share rate information also shared some tips about how to present rates to clients. I’ll cover that in an upcoming post.

I learned that rates for technical editors covered a broad range—from $15 to $65 or more per hour, depending on your knowledge, skill, and experience (length of time working as a technical editor).

After talking with two of the technical writers I knew who each had almost 20 years of experience and were mentoring me, I decided to charge $20 per hour. They thought I was experienced enough to charge $25, but I was nervous, so I started lower. Within six months, I raised my hourly rate to $25 because I realized they were right. A year later, thanks to one of my mentors, I raised my hourly rate to $35.

In my next post, I’ll explain how that happened and in a future post, I’ll talk about how to set your rate.