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How much to charge?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by DeskMonkey1, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    I reached an agreement in principle today to do some freelance content writing and web maintenance (but not design) with a digital marketing agency but it's up to me to decide how much I'll charge. I would be paid by the project.

    Every other freelance project I've ever done, the publisher set the dollar amount (take it or leave it) or I simply didn't get paid (something I did twice - the second as a favor since I had befriended the publisher – and won't do again.)

    Has anyone here done any similar work? Did you have any magic formula for coming up a number?
  2. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    I'd be interested in hearing responses. Nine years ago I was doing writing for a new organization. My boss asked me what I charged. I had no idea, since I wanted to be fair to me and not undervalue my work, but it was a new organization so I didn't want to put him out of business. I came up with $50 a story plus travel reimbursement, but was later told to raise it (by a later boss) to $75 per story.
    Personally, I much prefer the publisher setting the dollar amount, but I'd love to hear any magic formulas.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    That's highly variable depending on where you are, but without knowing much else about it, something between $50 and $75 an hour sounds fair. It's up to you of course to guesstimate the hours you'd spend. The worst that can happen is they say no to your first proposal.

    People who don't write HATE writing. Remember that.
  4. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    For what it's worth, I live in a market with a lower cost of living than the market where the agency is located... think that could work in my favor?
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Very much so, yes. Set your rate according to what they're used to.

    I don't think $75 an hour would be out of line based on the broad strokes of what you've described. If it is, or if they feel you've wildly overestimated your hours and thus the total, they'll tell you so upfront and you can adjust. They won't just drop you immediately because they don't like your first price.
  6. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    When I do corporate writing projects I've been getting $1 a word. Can't help you with the web maintenance part.
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Wait, $75 AN HOUR!?
    Is that a typo?
    Or did you mean per piece?
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    You gotta get out of newspapers, man.

    The lowest I've ever done is $50 an hour but that was for a non-profit.

    ETA: Those rates are undoubtedly affected by me living in the Bay Area. But in my most consistent freelance gig, the $75/hr was from a company based in Texas that used people all over the country. That was for more technical (and unbelievably boring) stuff though.

    Writing and web maintenance skills are a nice package. He should be rewarded for it.
    RecoveringJournalist likes this.
  9. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Yes, $75 an hour is in line for that sort of work.
  10. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    OK, silly question. But where do you find these $75/hour gigs? Are they listed somewhere, or is it mostly networking and building a reputation word of mouth?
  11. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    Who you know, not what you know.
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Yeah, in my case it was networking. It's a funny system -- writers don't know how to find the companies, and companies don't know how to find the writers. I've actually noodled with some ideas in terms of how to be the middleman in that business.
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