Freelance writers sometimes feel the need to increase their rates as they gain experience and knowledge in their field. However, at times it can be difficult to negotiate an increase in rates, especially when dealing with repeat clients. How can you be confident when it comes to negotiating freelance writing rates?
When determining writing rates, freelance writers need to understand the quality of their work. Their best work should be presented in a portfolio, and the writer and client will need to weigh the requirements necessary to complete the project. Be firm during negotiations.
1. Know Your Worth
Before you go to the person who will be paying you to write for them, know what your writing is worth. You may feel like you shouldn’t be paid a lot because you are new and are still gaining experience and skills. That doesn’t mean that you should charge a low amount. Know that you have value and you write well. (Source)
If you have low rates, your future employer will likely wonder whether or not your work will be of the quality that they are looking for. Many of us have the belief that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Extremely low rates can make you seem like you’re a mediocre writer who is desperate for any kind of work.
On the other hand, if you have pretty high rates, your future employer will want to know why your rates are as high as they are, even if they are reasonable. In both of these cases, you will need to know your worth so you can defend your rates.
If you have any special skills related to writing, think of how they can increase your rates and why. If you can’t explain why your skills add to your worth, your future employer won’t think that they are valuable and will want to pay you less than you are worth.
2. Build and Bring Your Portfolio
Your portfolio is like your resumé, so build it and have it with you when you go to negotiate your rates. When you finish a freelance writing project, add it to your portfolio. Bring the portfolio that has all of your previous projects listed and use it as proof that you are valuable and have the skills your future employer needs. It will show that you know what you are doing when it comes to writing. Good work quality leads to good pay!
Your portfolio is all the evidence you need to support your rates. When you are asking for a specific rate, don’t avoid the numbers you are asking for. Ask for the rate amount, and if they ask why they should pay that amount, show them your portfolio. If you avoid saying the number, your future employer will sense uncertainty and try to negotiate a lower rate.
3. Consider the Amount of Work the Project Takes
When you are presented with a project, and they tell you the topic and how many words it should be, consider whether or not it will require research, how much research it will take, and how much time it will take to complete the project.
If your future employer gives you a project and quotes you at a low rate, consider how much work it will take to complete their order. If they do tell you that they will pay you a low rate, start negotiating. Maybe say that the work can be shorter, but still effective and that the rate they are quoting you is more appropriate for a smaller amount of work.
If the project requires a lot of research to be done, you might request that the research be done by another department or freelancer that specializes in research. They can give you the information, and you can write based on the information they collect.
Be realistic about how much time the assignment will take and consider the deadline for the project. If it will take a long time to complete the project and require you to turn down other work that will pay more, ask for a higher rate. Time is money, and your time is not cheap.
4. Be Firm and Flexible
When you are negotiating your freelance writing rates, be firm with your rates, but also be willing to lower them slightly if your future employer counters with a different rate. Before you go to the negotiation, think about what the lowest rate you are willing to accept is and tell your future employer the rate that you want. If they counter with a low number, raise it slightly.
Although you need to be firm, don’t be aggressive. If you are aggressive, people won’t want to work and negotiate with you. They will just give the job to someone else. (Source)
If your future employer doesn’t seem to think that your skills are worth the rate that you are asking for, explain why you are. Don’t be afraid to talk about your strengths and your reliability. Explain what tools you need to use to complete your job, and explain that you have to regularly pay for some of those tools, and your rates partially reflect that.
If the person you are negotiating with asks for time to think about whether or not they are willing to pay the rate you are asking for, don’t get discouraged or immediately tell them a lower rate. They likely need to talk to other people who are in charge of the budget as your rates are higher than they expected to pay. Even if you have convinced them that your writing is worth the price, they will probably still need to talk to others before moving forward.
If the person you are negotiating with asks for time before they tell you if they will hire you, thank them, shake their hand, and then leave the office. They will likely call or email you within the next few days and tell you if you got the job or not. They may even continue negotiations over the phone or by email.