A Freelance Writer's Guide to Getting the Pricing Right

Last updated 23 Feb 2016 . 4 min read

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Written by Yojana Sharma 

Freelance writing is an interesting career option but there are quite a few potholes when pursuing this path. Find out here how earmarking a quote brings in more credibility to work and professional reputation.

Freelance content writing is one of the most popular work option among those looking for work from home jobs and those looking to leverage a source of secondary income. Generally, it is perceived to be a simple job that requires a kindle of creativity and flair for the language concerned. However many soon realise that this ‘simple job’ involves many complexities and these begin even before the assignment begins! For most writers, the stage where a freelancer is asked to quote a budget or propose a honorarium is where things go weak.

Delhi-based Sujata had to leave her school job and her home town when her ageing parents decided to settle in Bangalore for good. She was their only child and she happily accompanied them. Soon she realised that the culture difference between the two cities was making it difficult for her to find a suitable job. She turned to content writing and created her profile on website offering content writing assignments.

Sujata’s ‘entrepreneurial’ dream was on the verge of coming true, till an education based website approached her for work. After initial discussions about the nature of work they asked her to ‘quote’ the fee and Sujata went blank there. “I told them I don’t have a number in mind and they can give me suitable amount,” says Sujata. They asked again about this quote and soon this negotiation fell flat. “May be they thought that I wasn’t professional enough,” she admits.

She says that the manager did mind that Sujata was not a professional writer but that ‘budget;’ thing really caught on with her. “In my last conversations, the manager clearly realised that I had to be little specific about my budget. After that communication ceased from their end,” she shares.


With this lesson, Sujata spent lot of time checking the profiles of other writers and the quotes earmarked. Some quoted their work with per word published cost and others defined it as per article. Very few – but those who claimed to be professionals – mentioned that quotes would be shared in confidentiality. “There were some veterans also who had classified work as writing article, blog, website content writing, rewriting and had put budgets accordingly,” she says.  

Based on those she put a quote on her work, this was a figure lower than the one quoted by others since she was new at writing. Almost two months later, she found a job for writing for a school magazine. She has been busy with more assignments hence forth.  

Another successful freelance writer Nisha Nagpal (name changed on request) found that when she approached people or project owners for work, they immediately asked for a quote. Nisha – who had worked in a marketing profile in Delhi and shifted to Bhubaneshwar post marriage – was quick to put a number but then more struggles awaited her.

“At times, my quote was on a higher side so clients gave up on me. Some asked for previously done content writing assignments and I had none that time. They would immediately tell me that my quote didn’t match my experience and expected negotiations. I did bag an assignment on my quote but after my article submission, the editor told me that my work was novice and didn’t command that pricing. She made the payment but didn’t come back to me later,” Nisha says.

Both these writers have these advises for budding freelance writers –

  1. Put a price – Its impetrative to have a pricing mentioned upfront on your freelancer profile. That way, only interested people contact you.
  2. Price it right – If you are a newbie, put a price below the market level. If you are a professional then only you have the luxury of commanding a premium as well.
  3. Price should not be negotiable – The moment you start to lower your quote with a client, they assume that you can compromise further. Never do that.

About the author –

Yojana Sharma is a Delhi based new media journalists. She is also running a social enterprise jobsfordisabled.org while raising a naughty toddler.  

SHEROES - lives and stories of women we are and we want to be. Connecting the dots. Moving the needle. Also world's largest community of women, based out of India. Meet us at www.sheroes.in @SHEROESIndia facebook.com/SHEROESIndia

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