How do I charge for meetings with a new freelance client?

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charge for meetingsA reader asks…Dr. Freelance: Yesterday I had an extended (almost 2-hour) meeting with a potential new client. The good news is that they have a project for me, assuming the estimate is acceptable, and they said there would be more in the future. The bad news is that the project is small enough that I can’t possibly recoup the costs for my time, because it would basically double the estimate. I know you believe you should charge for meetings, but how do I do that in this circumstance? I don’t want to price myself out of a freelance job!—Time Is Money (i.e., you can call me “Tim”) [Read more…]

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Upwork raised its fees, and here’s what you can learn from it

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UpworkIf you’re looking for a slam on bidding sites or outsourcing services, you’re not going to find it here. No, this is about the news that Upwork raised the fees it charges freelancers from 10% to 20% on projects of $500 or less and created a sliding fee scale based on freelancers’ lifetime billings. (The fees drop to 10% on projects of $500.01-$10,000, and 5% above that.) My interaction with Upwork, formerly Elance-oDesk, is limited to a strange experience with hiring a freelancer whose freelance rates were so low they made me question her talent. [Read more…]

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Help! I’m underpricing my freelance rates

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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…]

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Size doesn’t matter (when it comes to rates)

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size doesnt matterDr. Freelance: I’ve been freelance writing for several large, successful companies. I have established rates with them that are manageable for their budgets, but definitely high on the pay scale. Now I’ve been contacted by a mid-sized company in the same industry; they’ve very interested and asked for my rates. My question is: What pay/rate scale do you find is most palatable for mid-sized companies? They would be looking for me to create information manuals, website content, and other consumer-facing collateral.—Dot

Dot, I’d never assume that the pay is lower just because a company is smaller! If it’s a successful organization, size doesn’t matter: They understand the fact that high-quality, professional writing (and the level of service you deliver) is about value, and doesn’t come cheap if they want to compete with their larger peers. [Read more…]

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Freelance ghostwriting rates for a memoir

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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…]

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Pricing freelance jobs for a former employer

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Dr. Freelance, I just started a new job, but my former employer has asked me for pricing on some freelance jobs on the side to help them with a large proposal they’re working on. I’ve determined that a set hourly rate will work better than a lump sum fee, due to fuzziness on the scope and my previous experience with this group. I’ve always been a salaried employee and am clueless how much to charge! I can do a simple calculation on what my “hourly rate” is based on my current salary, but they will obviously 1099 me, so I’ll have to pay taxes, etc. What’s your advice?—Boomerang Baby [Read more…]

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