Writing Fees – How Can I Increase My Pay? Or Should I Fire This Client?

by Anne Wayman

Pay writers hereHi Anne.

Have you any experience with people basically saying they would rather pay less for less quality work? What are your ideas about how to market oneself to overcome that?

KS

Hi KS,

Well, if a potential client won’t meet my fee I move on.

If a client or potential client actually said they’d rather pay less and get less quality I’d probably thank them for at least acknowledging they get what they pay for and wish them good luck. I’d also invite them to feel free to contact me when their attitude changed. Depending on their business, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear from them in six months or a year. But I wouldn’t count on it.


As far as how to market yourself so you don’t get this response, I’d guess it doesn’t happen often. Many people who hire writers don’t recognize how absurd their requirements and pay actually are.  

I’d say keep doing what you’re doing because you’re obviously talking with potential clients and that’s the secret.

You’ve got to talk to many clients before you land one that will hire you at your rate.

Since you didn’t tell me how you’re marketing, I’d first ask you if you’ve got your website up. If you don’t, start there. You might try putting your rates on your site. I do – or at least a range (www.annewayman.com); I find it filters out many low paying folks. Others, however, would rather talk with a potential client before they eliminate them so don’t put prices on their site.

Once your site is up, I’d suggest some cold calls.


If you’re answering ads pick and choose them carefully. I post a list of places to search for writing jobs. And there’s a whole category of articles about finding writing gigs.

How you set your fees will also influence how you see yourself as well as how clients perceive you.

Building a writing career doesn’t happen over night. It takes a lot of work and some time. Keep at it and you’ll most likely succeed.

Good luck.

How do you increase your writing fees?

Do you have a question about freelance writing? Send me an email with Q&A in the subject line and I’ll do my best to answer it.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Matthew Stibbe October 29, 2012 at 8:51 am

There’s always going to be someone who can do it cheaper. The key thing is to be the guy who’s going to do it better or – ideally – the best. My experience is that customers who fixate on price are also the most annoying and time-consuming to deal with. Let them hire your competitors – it’s a perfect match! Focus on doing high-quality work for high-quality clients. Economically, it makes more sense too because if you charge more you have more time to do the work (fewer words per day to earn the same money) so you can focus on writing better. In the long run that’s the way to build up a good, profitable practice.
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annew October 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Music to my ears, Matthew… as I’m sure you know. Love the image of matching the price fixated employers with those who are willing to charge way less than their worth.

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Ali | Writers Blog October 8, 2012 at 8:04 am

When a client is interviewing you, you should be interviewing him at the same time… and you know your worth. Then set your price, and don’t accept anything less. If the client doesn’t agree, just walk away, and if he does, don’t think “Arrgh, I could have charged him a little more..”
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annew October 9, 2012 at 7:41 am

Exactly!

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WritersWritingWords (Eleni) October 5, 2012 at 12:50 am

I just have a minimum standard — and I don’t go lower than that. If they don’t like it, it’s fine with me, there are so many potential clients in this world!

I recently asked for a raise from a client I’ve been writing for for several months. The pay was ridiculous, so I thought “What the heck, if he doesn’t raise it, I’d better leave him altogether.”

The secret is, I think, to be prepared for a rejection, to have decided that, if they don’t accept your terms, you’ll just walk away from the deal. Most of the times, it just shows — and they get it.
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annew October 9, 2012 at 7:35 am

Preparing for rejection is certainly part of it. I find having a fat savings account also helps.

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Lori October 4, 2012 at 5:32 am

I’ve heard of it, and I’ve had one or two potential clients say so indirectly. Anne, you’re right — these aren’t our clients. These are people whose focus is on volume, keywords, etc. That’s not writing as much as it’s filling a quota. No thank you.

One time I had a client come back after he tried low-balling my price. He came back twice, for when I took him back the first time, he then started arguing and nitpicking every syllable, whereas at the lower rate he couldn’t care less.

I didn’t take him back a second time. I’d told him before that the price wasn’t conducive to the amount of work it was turning out to be.
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annew October 4, 2012 at 9:20 am

They do come back don’t they… and sometimes they stick the second time around, often not. My hunch is the folks who want writing for cheap will always want it for cheap.

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