Hi guys. I wanted to share this post written by Allie Bullock Kagamaster, a freelancer in Southern California who has covered stories for CAT FANCY, OCMetro, 944 and Inland Empire Golfer. She is interested in the worlds of entertainment and science, and she would like to cover movie premieres and engineering feats.
Allie e-mailed me today to ask how to establish a freelancer rate. Our e-mail exchange produced this post by Allie, but I wanted to quickly weigh in myself.
Usually when I’m working with a new client I start by asking the client what the client’s rate is. The publications I work with pay a broad spectrum of rates. If the rate is high usually I just go with it. If the rate is mediocre I might test the waters and try to nudge it up a bit. If it’s just not doable I either try to negotiate or move on. When I negotiate I try to be friendly, and for leverage I draw on my experience and anything else I can think of. I might, for example, mention that the clients’ competitors pay a higher rate. In other words, I have a plan.
I weigh what is valuable to me. I might accept a lower rate if the clip will be especially valuable in my portfolio. I’ve also asked established clients for pay raises. I feel it’s only fair as the cost of living escalates, and my own worth rises with experience.
Here is Allie’s perspective. She makes a good point, that when a client low-balls us we should point to resources such as Writer’s Market because the client may be unaware of average industry rates. Thanks so much, Allie!
Sometimes freelancing can be hit or miss depending on the answer to: “What are your rates?” What if you’re in the process of building your business?
Freelancing is all about juggling assignments. And those assignments are two-fold: building clips from publications and seeking work that’s sustainable.
It’s those fill-ins and quasi-day jobs with new clients who wonder what your fees are for writing services that keep most of us afloat.
The way I see it, we’re building clips to garner more and more assignments from different publishers who mostly pay flat fees. In the meantime or in-between time, most of us seek more mundane projects like writing or editing business manuals, marketing materials, or Web content.
But it’s important to be honest to clients who don’t know what to pay writers by pointing the way to the “going rate,” which can be found in Writer’s Digest per type of writing project, and on the Journalism Jobs Web site under salaries.
This week after invoicing the editor of the annual magazine I write features for, I’m negotiating a deal with one company to write Web content and with another that needs a sales letter but who are printing my business cards for free because they like me so I’m giving them a discount and they’ve agreed to send clients my way. At first they were hands clasped over mouths when they saw the “going rate” for sales letters. It’s taken them six weeks to digest anything over the bartering system.