In our Forum someone asked if he needed a rate card. It seems a potential client expressed an interest in his writing and asked specifically for a rate card. I was startled. Last I knew the term ‘rate card’ was pretty much tied to advertising rates.
A quick google search disabused me of that notion. These days a rate card includes everything from creative fees to hosting costs.
I don’t think I’ve ever been asked for a ‘rate card,’ although I’m often asked how I charge or what my rate is to write XXX.
Of course, for me any attempt by a possible client to tie prices before I know exactly what I’m getting into is a big old red flags for me. That’s one reason I’m not a great match for large companies that have strict rules that may or may not make sense for freelance writers, nor do I want to be.
Although I do put a range of rates on my website, I won’t quote an exact price until I understand what the project is going to be. I just explain that my fees are directly tied to the scope of the individual project. If the potential client needs to have something for budgeting all I’ll ever give them is a range based on hourly… so up to $200 an hour or ‘generally based on from $150 to $250 an hour… something like that… and often something a bit higher than I actually charge.
When a rate card might work for a writer
If you pretty much write the same kind of thing, a rate card might work for you. Included in many of the definitions of a rate card is the idea that the card is actually a piece of advertising.
I have, for example, run into writer’s sites occasionally who have their expertise so focused on one kind of product they actually let buyers order from an online form. I’m not talking about those sites that will do a student’s homework or personal essays – that’s a whole different issue.
For example, Constant-Content provides a way to order both pre-written and custom content that’s not all that different from ordering a shirt online. Individual writers with a tightly defined product do the same thing. And yes, there are writing opportunities with both. In these cases both the writer and the customer know exactly how much will be paid for the item.
It’s really up to you. Put together a rate card if it fits your style and the way you write. Post your prices online or not. Just as there are many kinds of freelance writers there are many ways to communicate your prices to potential clients.
Writer well and often,