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How Do I Actually Quote A Price?

Hi Anne,

I always jam up when it comes to quoting my hourly rate. I don’t know how to actually ask for what I want. I’m talking about the actual words.

Can you help?


Hi KD,

Assuming you’ve set a reasonable rate, one that your comfortable with and that reflects what your worth, it may be more a matter of practice than anything else. I find myself matching the tone of the person I’m talking with.

For example, a possible new client called this morning and we started off laughing because somehow I had gotten the volume on my headset so high I had to ask him to stop while I adjusted it downward. When he initiall told me what he wanted, I said something like, “I think you’d probably be paying me more than you need to.”

Of course, he asked how much and I told him my hourly rate. He actually said something like, “that’s not too bad.” We may actually come to terms.

Sometimes, when  client asks how much I charge I say “oh, never more than a million dollars a day plus expenses.” There’s always a pause and then we both laugh. That breaks the ice. Usually I want to know more about the project before I quote, and that’s one way I get there.

And sometimes I’ll say “I don’t know what this will cost you yet. I need more information first.”

The point is the price you change is a normal part of the conversation. People who are thinking about hiring you want and need to know pretty quickly first if they can afford you, and then if they believe you’re worth what you charge.  So practice telling people how much you charge. You can practice on friends and family and you’ll soon be comfortable enough when you’re talking with a client.

Good luck.

Do you have a question about freelance writing? Ask Anne, The Writing Pro – that’s me 😉 Ask in the comments or send an email and put Q&A in the subject line so I can sort it out from spam and I’ll do my best. Meanwhile, you’ll find some Q&A’s here: Ask Anne, The Pro Writer


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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • That’s something interesting and fun to kick start with your client. I know in the not long back very initial days I was confused, and unsure if I should charge x amount or y amount. I was new and I was scared asking more. My friends and relatives told me that I was charging way too low after they read my work and heard the meager prices. And then there was the Internet, I read up quite a few good writers and all of them said that getting anything, say, less than a 2 cents per word is slavery.
    Don’t take me for word here, do your own research, but I’m sharing what I found.
    Researching what others are doing, how much demand is there for the work pieces, and how hot is the market etc are ways how I started to up my rates to almost what I well deserve.
    .-= BrownEyed´s last blog ..What’s having a blog gotta do with freelance writing, anyway? =-.

    • Anne

      Or figure out what you need to earn an hour and go from there. I say that because prices are all over the map… all over.

  • I find it’s not so much a lack of confidence if I hesitate to quote a price but rather an unease about how well thought through the prospective client is about the length of time actually required (… to be paid for) and what fixed budget they have in mind (… but won’t let out of the bag). Yet on occasions where you know and trust someone – and vice-versa – you can both happily bicker in the knowledge that you both want it to happen …

    thanks for your thoughtful post.


    On the Money’s last blog post..Online News Release Know-how … Free Advice!

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