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There’s No Such Thing As a Fair Price for Freelance Writers!

fair price for freelance writersThe other day someone asked me what a fair price would be for a particular freelance writing project.

This is another of what I call a “how long is a piece of string” question.

Just as there’s no way to answer “how high is up?” or “how long is a piece of string?” without more information, there’s no way to answer “what is a fair price for freelance writers?” or for their writing.

There are no ‘standard’ prices, no ‘market’ prices, no ‘fair’ prices and no ‘unfair’ prices.

Sure, you can look up prices for freelance writing in Writer’s Market where you’ll get a list of the range of prices paid on all sorts of writing. These can be helpful or not – they are based on reports collected every year from freelance writers who answer a questionnaire. Occasionally I’ve quoted a price from there and the response is usually “I don’t know about that, but I’m willing to pay you $XXX.”

You can also conjure up some prices for writing by asking the right questions in google. You can talk with other freelance writers about what they would charge.

None of these, however, are more than averages or typical rates. There’s nothing fair, or unfair about them.

When a potential employer tells you what they are willing to pay for a piece of writing, it will either be enough for you or it won’t. There’s nothing unfair in the offer. This is true even on bidding sites where you can watch the price go down. Lower prices are not unfair prices, even if they are too low for you.

The only definition of fair price that works

Back in the day I used to sell real estate. We had a definition of the fair market price for a home or other property. It was:

The price negotiated by a willing buyer and a willing seller.

That’s it.

If the buyer was willing to pay a million dollars for a home and that was enough for the seller, the fair market price was a million bucks. On the other hand, if the seller only wanted a dollar and the buyer was willing to meet that price, in that moment the house was worth a single dollar.

A fair price for freelance writers

This works exactly the same way in the freelance writing market. If the buyer wants to pay you $10 for a blog post and you know you’re worth $100, there’s no deal unless you cave and lower your price. The buyer isn’t being unfair to you. It may feel like that, but all that’s happened is you’ve been offered a lower price than your willing to accept.

Fairness isn’t even an issue, not really. Okay, there are people out there who try to hire at the lowest possible price for whatever reason. Fortunately you don’t have to work for them.

This is why it’s so important that you figure out what you need and want to charge for your writing. Setting fees isn’t easy, but it’s doable. You’ll find a four part series plus a bunch more articles on setting fees here.

If you’re not being paid enough you need to increase your fees.

The big fear of course, is that if you raise your fees no one will pay them. Time after time I hear this fear and time after time when a writer is willing to charge more guess what, they get paid more. Maybe not every single time, but often enough so we can have confidence that it works.

Do you see what I mean when I say “there is no such thing as a fair price for freelance writers”?


Get early notice for Anne’s Easy Business Solutions for Freelancing Freedom course.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman freelance writer




{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Great post, liked the example used and the definition of fair price that works bit. Thanks for sharing.

  • This is a great way to look at freelance writing services. I do copy editing and for some clients they set the price. It’s totally up to me to either accept that price or decline if it’s not worth the effort to me.

    • And Peggy, I’ll bet you’re sometimes successful in getting clients to pay you more.

  • I have been really struggling with this! I recently had a potential client tell me that $300 was too much to pay for 300-600 words of original content for one page of a website. I even threw in 2 meetings (one in the beginning, and one mid-way). Also, keep in mind that this client is located 30 miles (one way) from me. I felt that I was low-balling them and she said that I was charging too much!

    • Jessica, what she really meant is that she’s unwilling or unable to pay that much for the project… that’s all. Your website looks pretty good… I’d add color, some, but that’s just me. You’ve got great testimonials… might relabel clients so it’s clear that they are testimonials. San Diego isn’t a particularly well paying market… expand your horizons if you’re willing.

  • This really hit home for me! I was just having this conversation with someone the other day. If I charge $5 for a blog post and a client accepts that it’s my fault if I know I’m worth more.

    • Did the person you were talking with give you a hard time? Or did they agree?

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