Rates & Allowances

As a freelancer, it can be difficult to set rates for your work. You are not an employee, therefore don’t have the benefits of sick pay and paid annual leave. This all needs to be considered when you are thinking about setting the rates for your work. Most freelancers who are writers, whether they are journalist or copywriter, usually ten to set their rates according to these three categories:

  • Per hour – You can have a rate for the hours you spent on an article. This is particularly a good idea if you writing on new topics and will need to do an excessive amount of research on the subject/topic.
  • Per word – You can alter prices for content depending on length. For example, a short news story may not cost as much as a lengthy feature piece.
  • Per project – you might have a flat rate for an entire project. However, if you are working on a per project basis, make sure you discuss any extra time or resources that you might have to spend, outside of project hours.

The client may choose the way they will pay you, and you will likely have to agree. Or if you prefer to be paid through a certain method, make sure that it is discussed. Ideally, the client and the freelance journalist need to have a transparent discussion on the set prices and rates.

If you have experience in working as an employee journalist then this can sometimes give you a good idea of how much to charge. A general rule that you could follow is to add 35% of what you would be earning on a salary basis. You will need to consider the costs of things such as a retirement plan, tax etc. when you are setting your rates. You need to make sure to find the perfect balance between competitive rates and rates that will allow you to live the lifestyle you want.

You need to carry out a good amount of research to determine your rates, as these may be affected by location, content, publication and many other various factors. You don’t have to rush to give rates, however, make sure you take your time in setting those rates.

More on freelancing as a journalist