What’s a fair freelance writing rate?
Writers ranged from brand new (less than a year) to industry vets with over 11 years of experience. We asked questions around finding high-paying gigs, scope creep, and displaying rates on websites.
- The amount of ecommerce writers surveyed was surprisingly low! I think we’ll see more writers specialize in ecommerce in coming years as brands establish their digital presence. They’ll need resources and education to market to consumers online, and specialized writers can help them get there.
- I was surprised to see how experience impacts the rates freelancers charge. This likely boils down to a few things: testimonials and results to back up your work, and the confidence to charge higher rates. Both of those things come with experience.
The state of freelance writing in 2022
To understand how many freelancers arose through a pandemic, 16% of freelancers started less than a year ago as of November 2021. Some 19% reported freelancing for between one and two years. Though the majority of freelancers (65%) have been writing professionally for between two and 10 years.
Understanding what niches writers work in leads us to the next section. We wanted to know how much people were changing. So, we asked freelance writers to disclose their yearly earnings.
The next income level was $31K and $50K, with 18% of freelance writers claiming that was their annual freelance income for 2020. When you combine the percentages of these two groups, almost three quarters of freelance writers make less than $50K per year.
That suggests there is room for business improvement in a majority of freelance writer’s businesses. Think about your own operations. Where can you provide more value for clients to charge more?
It’s probably no surprise that people bringing in larger incomes have been in business for longer. If we look at those who’ve been freelance writing for less than a year, the vast majority (91%) earn less than $30K.
To reach the six-figure salaries, it seems you need to have been working on your business and growing it for at least a couple of years. Of those earning over $100K, all have been freelance writing for at least two years, with 65% writing for more than six years.
So we decided the best way to give you a useful answer on freelance writing rates was to ask freelance writers themselves what they charge:
We addressed a big question in content marketing: How much should you pay freelance writers? Or, if you are a freelance writer, how much should you charge? It’s kind of hard to know unless someone tells you, right?
In 2015, we created an infographic, “Pay Rates for Freelance Writers,” to break it down. We provided average rates per content and writer type based on our own experience at ClearVoice. But given that the data is now a few years old, we wanted to revisit this topic and get an up-to-date consensus on freelance writer rates – for brands and freelancers.
The best way to get an answer to “how much to pay a freelance writer” was to take it to the streets. The past few months, we polled 500+ freelance writers from around the country to see what they charge, how they charge, what type of content they produce, corresponding level of experience, and even gender to see if a gap exists like in so many other industries.
Questions we asked in our survey on freelance writing rates:
1 – How many years experience do you have as a professional freelance writer?
2 – How do you charge?
3 – What do you charge per hour? (Approximate if N/A)
4 – What do you charge per word? (Approximate if N/A)
5 – What tasks do you complete for clients?
6 – What is your gender?