Hands down, the question I am asked most often is, “How much do you charge per hour?” The second runner-up is, “How do you decide how much to charge per hour?” The answers to both of these questions aren’t nearly as straightforward as you might think; for one thing, projects differ, and while I keep a certain ballpark figure in my head, sometimes I charge by the hour, and sometimes I charge per piece or even per entire project. It varies depending on the situation. For another thing, how I set my rate works for me but may not work for someone else. It’s a pretty individual thing, and so when I’m asked these questions I tend to try generalize and then I worry that folks think I’m being evasive (when really I’m just trying to explain what I see as all the factors in deciding).
[Sidebar: For whatever it's worth, I do always try to point folks at a good resource in terms of finding an appropriate range of fees. For my fellow writers, maybe look at this table of editorial rates to get a general idea.]
This brings us to the question Karen asked a couple of weeks ago, and I promise, this is all related. She said:
I am relatively new to freelance, although I’ve been reading this blog (via wantnot) for several years. I don’t remember seeing you talk about how you handle the administrivia. I feel like I spend a frustratingly vast amount of work time doing things that can’t be billed for — invoices, finding a better way to do xyz, relevant webinars, that kind of thing. (Perhaps you don’t work hourly but instead flat rate per project — I know there are a million and six ways to do freelance, but at the moment I’m almost entirely billing by time.)
This is relevant to rate-setting and the thing that I think trips up most newbie freelancers.
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