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FREELANCE WRITERS' EARNINGS SURVEY
by Nicole Bishop

Below are the results of a survey conducted on the Writerfind.com site in May 2012.
 
------- The Writerfind Survey of Rates of Pay --------

This survey was intended to get an idea of the average earnings of self-employed freelance writers worldwide.

Survey participants (67 in total) came from a range of countries, including Australia, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, UK, Canada, Ghana, Philippines, Jamaica, USA and New Zealand. The majority were New Zealanders and Americans, with quite a few from Australia. 

Full results of the survey can be viewed at http://www.writerfind.com/resources/payratessurvey2012.htm

The vast majority of participants were highly experienced, most having over 5 years' experience in professional writing, and many having over 10 years’ experience. Though formal qualifications were requested (and are included in the full results), quite a few did not mention any formal qualifications, but instead mentioned their extensive work experience (which obviously does count as a qualification, albeit not a “formal” one.

Many also described themselves as 'generalists' in regard to the type of writing work they did, with many participants covering the spectrum of writing-related work—including editing, journalism, corporate communications and technical writing. However, as we requested participants to break down their report of their rates according to the types of writing they did, we were able to obtain the differing rates that many writers apply to differing kinds of writing and editing.  

Participants provided both hourly rates and rates by the word, piece or project.

The full survey results were divided into five categories:

1/ Journalism, Article Writing, Content Writing, 2./ Business Writing (including ad copywriting and public and media relations writing), 3/ Editing and Proofreading, 4/ Technical Writing, and 5/ Ghostwriting.

 Here are the results in summary, organised by category:

Journalism, Article Writing, Content Writing
Sample Number: 39
Most Frequent Hourly Rates: $50 (6) and $75 (4)
Per word or per piece rates were varied and no summary can be given.

Business Writing
Sample Number: 25
Most Frequent Hourly Rates: $75-85 (4) and $90-$100 (4)
Most participants provide per hour rates only for this category; per word or per piece rates, when given were varied and no summary can be given.


Editing and ProofreadingSample Number: 38
Most Frequent Hourly Rates: $70-80 (8) and $50-$60 (6)
Most participants provide per hour rates only for this category; per word or per piece rates, when given were varied and no summary can be given.

For technical writing and ghostwriting, there were too few participants to give a summary, but the full results are posted for them these two categories at http://www.writerfind.com/resources/payratessurvey2012.htm

And here are some of the most noteworthy comments that came along with the survey:

"I don't usually state my rates, and I just accept what the company/person is offering."

"Whenever possible, I quote by the project, not by the hour....I often give a 10 percent discount for contracts that include multiple projects and I add a 20 percent surcharge for rush work. I require 30 percent in advance with the balance due on receipt of the draft."

"I rarely charge by the hour; much prefer by the piece or project. "

"Nationals and corporate clients have larger budgets than start-ups, local publications and non-profits."

"Since I do more than one type of work, the charges are based on the oomplexity of the project; hourly rates in government contracting range from $85-$135 per hour; some involving more consulting work may be as high as $175 per hour; certain long-range projects based on estimated hours range from $60-85 per hour or could be a flat fee with built-in parameters to cover extra work that may arise or be required. In these cases I give an estimate after the principal has provided information on the scope of the work."

 

-------Other Writers' Pay Surveys-------

Surveys and tips taken from other sources on the net, mainly US and Canadian.


Periodical Writers' Association (Canada)
Freelance rates for such jobs as advertising, business writing, editing, ghostwriting, magazine writing, technical writing, translation, etc.
http://www.writers.ca/index.php/component/content/article/80-pwac-resources/76-pwac-resource-what-to-pay-a-writer 

EFA (Editorial Freelancers' Association): Some Common Rates for Editorial Services
Includes copyediting, proofreading, desktop publishing, translating, and writing.
http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.php  



Last updated 6 May 2014