I’m often asked why I price work at freelance writing rates per word rather than by the hour. The answer is because it’s better for me and better for the client. If you’re like most clients, the idea of piecework is alien to you. After all, you probably pay your employees by the hour, and very likely pay other contractors by the hour, too. Yet you’re also used to paying for other things on a piecework basis. Think about it – window cleaning, for example. Or a car service, or a valet.
So, what benefits do you gain by paying a rate per word rather than an hourly rate?
A fixed cost equals peace of mind
Imagine taking your car to the dealer, and requesting a 30,000 mile service. You ask how much it will cost, and you’re told that the charge will be £50 per hour. You ask how many hours. “Well, probably three hours but it might be more. It could be less. We don’t know until we’ve finished the work.” Not very satisfactory, is it? You walk away and spend the next few hours worried about how light your bank balance is going to be after you’ve paid whatever the dealer feels like charging you.
The benefits of paying freelance writing rates per word
There are plenty of benefits of paying a per-word fee rather than an unknown amount based on an unknown number of hours of work. These include:
- You can budget better
- You’ll be in a better place to judge the value of business content produced
- It’s easier to figure out your return on investment
- Your business content writing costs are no longer a moving target
- It’s a known and quantifiable expense to raise your business content to the highest possible standards
From my point of view, I am able to control my business finances. That pleases my accountant and my bank manager!
(I’m glad my accountant hasn’t seen this list of standard per-word rates – he’d insist I double and treble my charges)
Guaranteeing you won’t be hit with ‘hidden charges’
When I write business content, because of my experience I’m pretty good at estimating how long a piece of work will take me to complete. Sometimes it takes less time, and others it takes more. Very rarely, the client may need a few small revisions made to the copy – by the way, that’s included in the original fee.
When you work with me, we’ll discuss your project and set out the spec. Then I’ll price it up and quote. Using the car service analogy, I’ll look under the bonnet and tell you how much that service is going to be. I won’t turn round and tell you that the front spring-loaded sprocket rocker on the lower manifold needed replacing and so there’s a whack more to pay. My price is my price. The risk is on me, not you.
Freelance writing rates per word – would you really want to work any other way?(click to tweet)
(The exception that proves the rule: If you do want to pay me by the hour, then I am, of course, willing to charge accordingly – and some projects that require extra work, such as weekly telephone calls, may incur an extra fee charged on an hourly basis.)