Freelance Writing Rates for Beginners — Simplified

Unpacking starting rates and pricing structures for beginner freelance writers


Dan Marticio

3 years ago | 4 min read

There’s not exactly a guidebook for freelance writing rates. Others can use sites, like Glassdoor, to get an annual salary estimate and be done with it. Freelance writers, on the other hand, need to consider price points, pricing structures and the scope of work.

Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate freelance writer, here are some things to keep in mind when determining how much to charge for freelance writing.

What’s inside.

  • Challenges of Pricing as a Freelance Writer
  • Freelance Writing Beginner Rates
  • Additional Pricing Structures
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Why Most Beginner Freelance Writers Get Stumped on Pricing

Navigating your prices as a freelance writer presents so many challenges. There are multiple variables to consider — word count, industry and your experience. There are also project-specific factors, like whether you need to conduct interviews or hop in meetings.

Next, there’s your confidence. You may be undercharging because you feel imposter syndrome or fear scaring away clients. This common freelance writing mistake is often the culprit behind a freelance writer’s stagnating income.

How Much Should I Charge as a Beginner Freelance Writer?

Generally, most beginner freelance writers will charge per word or a flat rate. We’ll explore common pricing structures and starting rates below.

Word count

Freelance writing rates per word are straightforward — for each word you type, you charge X amount.

Beginner freelance writers typically charge $0.01 to $0.10, according to ClearVoice. Elna Cain, a professional freelance writing coach and mentor charged $0.04 per word. I started my first gig at a lower rate — $0.025 per word, writing website pages for a locksmith website.

Flat rate

A flat, or project, rate is charging a flat fee on the entire scope of work — charging $200 for a 1,000-word blog post with two rounds of revisions, for instance.

Elna Cain suggests charging between $50 to $100 when starting out. Intermediate writers often charge up to $200 per article.

After my first hourly gig, I immediately transitioned into flat-rate pricing for its convenience. For example, my freelance blog writing rates were $200 per 800- to 1,000-word article with two rounds of revisions.

Other pricing considerations.

Other variables may affect how much you charge, regardless of whatever pricing structure you use:

  • Ghostwriting: Does your author byline accompany the published article? If not, consider charging extra since you won’t be able to add the piece to your freelance writing portfolio.
  • Interviews: Conducting interviews takes additional time and labor (outreach, scheduling, transcribing, etc.). Charging extra for this work would be appropriate.
  • Your experience: Generally, more experienced writers command higher rates because they have more knowledge and experience within their freelance writing niche and industry. Companies pay expert writers for more than their words — they compensate them for their insight and expertise.
  • Company size and budget: Your services generally offer more value to a large, well-known enterprise than a solopreneur just starting their blog. For the larger company, a well-written article has the potential to drive thousands of visitors to their sales funnels, resulting in sales. For this reason, consider increasing your price point for businesses with more sophisticated budgets and infrastructure.

Additional Pricing Structures

There are more pricing structures beyond word-count-based and flat rates. Here are some different methods worth exploring:

Buy my day. The client pays you for a specified number of hours for you to complete a specific project. For instance, you meet with the client in the morning to confirm the project terms. After signing off on the scope and payment terms, you spend the next six hours knocking out three 800-word articles, delivered by 5:00 pm.

Hourly. Similar to a wage worker, you’re paid for the number of hours you work. I discourage using freelance writing hourly rates because you’re penalized for efficiency.

If you can write a stellar 1,200-word article in one hour but a mediocre writer takes three hours writing a passable but acceptable article, you make less.

Retainers. Retainers happen when you and the client agreement agree on the deliverables and payment terms over a specified period — $1,000 for 4 articles over the next six months, for example.

I enjoy retainer agreements because they provide stable, predictable income. Due to the recurring income, securing client retainers can save on time otherwise spent finding freelance writing jobs.

Freelance Writing Rates FAQs

Should you post pricing on your website?

Public pricing is useful for helping clients self-filter — if a prospect with a $50 budget sees that you’re charging $200+ per article, they will usually disqualify themselves.

However, be careful not to quote clients a higher price when your website shows you charge less.

How much should a freelance writer charge?

$0.01 to $0.10 is the typical starting word count rate for beginner freelance writers, according to ClearVoice. However, writers may charge additional, depending on the scope of work (additional research, interviews, etc.).

How much should I charge for a 1,000-word article?

Charging $50 to $100 for a 1,000-word article is generally a good rate for beginner freelance writers. From a word-count rate perspective, this would be $0.05 to $0.10 per word.


Created by

Dan Marticio

Dan is a freelance writer specializing in small business and personal finance. He works with FinTech and B2B companies and has written extensively about small business, from startup guides to payment processor reviews. Hire him to write for YOU at







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