When it comes to writing and editing services, there is no ‘one rate fits all’ rate. Yet many clients want cost certainty–and I don’t blame them–so you have to give them a quote. Unfortunately, too many writers and editors are blind-folded and playing pin the quote on the client – hoping to hit a quote that is worthwhile — to them and the client!
How do you come up with a quote for writing or editing services?
If quoting on an editing job, I suggest you make sure you look at the copy you have to edit first, and then triangulate. If writing, define the scope of the project, then triangulate — come up with a maximum, mid, and minimum rate. (Click on the link and scroll down to “Estimating a writing job” for more information.)
So how do we triangulate?
When quoting on an editing job, you look the copy first (or a good chunk of the copy) to determine how difficult the editing job will be. The difficulty does not have an impact on your hourly rate, but it will have an impact on how long it will take you to do the job. It will also have an impact on your per word and per page rates, which you need to come up with to triangulate. So with that in mind, you need an hourly rate, a per page rate, and a per word rate to triangulate.
Step 1: Estimate the number of hours the job will take and then multiply that by your hourly rate.
Step 2: Multiply your per word rate by the number of words.
Step 3: Count the number of pages (or consider 400 words a page) and multiply that by your per page rate.
You now have three figures. Pick one, or come up with what you feel if the best/fairest/most accurate rate base on your three estimates and that becomes your quote.
To estimate a corporate writing job, I suggest you go to “Everything You Wanted to Know about Freelance Writing” and reach Chapter 38: How Much to Charge? and Chapter 39: Accurately Pricing Services. In Chapter 39, you will see how to define the scope of a project and triangulate your quote.
Bottom line: Before you issue a quote, you have to feel the quote is fair – to you! If the client balks, move on. If the client offers you much less than you want, move on. Otherwise you end up doing a job at a rate that you feel is way too low. This tends to make one resentful.
Rather than take on a job at less than ‘my’ rate, I’ll spend time looking for clients who are more likely to pay what I consider a fair rate for the services I provide.
If you look for clients who are going to pay you $100,000 to write or edit an article or a few website pages, you may never work as a freelancer! So you want to set a rate that makes sense to the nature of this business called freelancing. But you don’t want to lowball your rates, or let the client pull you down into the rate gutter either!
Knowing what you want to charge per hour, and then triangulating, will help you come up with fair and reasonable quotes for editing jobs. Knowing what you want to charge per hour, and then defining the scope of the job will help you triangulate (max., mid, and min.) rates for writing jobs so you can come up with fair and reasonable quotes for such jobs. Otherwise, you are blind-folded and playing pin the quote on the client – hoping to hit a quote that is worthwhile — to you and the client!