Freelance project deposits aren’t just about the money

freelance project depositsDr. Freelance: Like you, I prefer to give prospective clients a range estimate. But once they accept it, what number do I use to determine the amount for freelance project deposits? I’ve heard anywhere from 30-50%—I’m feeling comfortable with 35%, personally—but 35% of what? The low end? The mean? Probably *not* the high end.—Rachel [Read more…]

Is your freelance client serious? Here’s the test

serious freelance clientDr. Freelance: I have a prospective freelance client — an author who needs his book edited — and he appears to have the money and desire to hire me. He keeps pressing me for a price estimate, but I haven’t seen the manuscript, just one sample chapter that I edited. I’m concerned about extrapolating, because it’s a long book and I’m not sure of the overall quality. What’s my next step?—Hurry Up and Wait [Read more…]

Help! I’m underpricing my freelance rates

underpricing freelance ratesDr. Freelance: You have probably heard this before, but I constantly look at the going freelance rates for a project on one of the industry rate charts, add up the average per page/word costs, then think, “I can’t charge THAT!” So I end up underpricing myself and throwing in freebies such as marketing plans and so on.

I am aware of the danger of undervaluing my work, but I have really yet to find a client who understands the value in what they are receiving and are willing to pay full price. I recently lost out on an editing project, which I’d priced at $1,500 for 80 hours, to another editor who charged $400. I understand that I need to do a better job of pricing accurately, but how do I avoid losing work to someone who’s supplementing their retirement income with a few dollars?—Shooting Myself in the Foot [Read more…]

Different freelance prices for different industries

Wanted to do a quick video followup on a post earlier this week that talked about how you shouldn’t assume a smaller company within a given industry is going to command a lower price than a larger company in that same industry.


The reason I bring this up is that I do believe you should price your services differently based on different industries. As an example, a few weeks ago I was at a networking meeting with a group of other small business owners, and the featured presenter was the former CEO of a large industrial metals company. They produced everything from automotive steel to aerospace materials to fine-grade machine tools. His comment was that they priced differently by sector, region, and country, and they would have been foolish to do otherwise. [Read more…]

Freelance ghostwriting rates for a memoir

freelance ghostwriting memoirDr. Freelance: A friend just asked me to help him expand his 20,000-word memoir summary into a full-blown book about his life. I’m a professional historian and feel I could provide detail and context to his experiences before, during, and after World War II, and I’d also add another 25,000 words to the existing manuscript. I’m projecting the job will take about six to eight months. What is the going rate for a job such as this?—CS

Sounds like an interesting project if you can make the numbers work. Freelance ghostwriting rates are all over the board—if you look at Writer’s Market, they indicate anywhere from 50 cents a word to $3 a word, or $50 to $100 an hour, which isn’t exactly a tight range. (I also imagine that $3 a word is for the high-end celebrity market!) [Read more…]