Suggested Freelance Writing Rates – Midwest Edition

What are some different freelance writing rates that freelancers ought to be charging? It depends on where you live. If you live in America’s Heartland, where the cost of living is lower, you’ll charge less. If you live on one of the three coasts (that includes Chicago), your rates will be much, much higher.

It always makes me laugh when clients from Out East or Out West think that we aren’t charging enough here in Indiana, because our rates are often 50 – 100% less than what they’re being charged by hometown writers. We’re able to charge so much because our cost of living is so much lower. Rent is anywhere from $600 – $1,200 here in Central Indiana, but in New York, that’s the the cost of a gallon of milk.

But things aren’t as good if they’re not as expensive, so the smart freelancer raises his or her rates to meet expense expectations when the client is from Away.

Having said that, here’s a typical freelance rate for the Midwest (excluding Chicago; see above “Out East or Out West”). Also, keep in mind that these rates may be higher or lower, depending on whether you’re a new freelancer or a seasoned professional:

  • Blog post (300 – 500 words): $75 – $125
  • Web copy (1 page): $75 – $100
  • Press release (1 page): $100
  • White paper (6 – 10 pages): $300 – $600
  • Market copy (2 pages): $200
  • Newspaper or magazine article (< 1,000 words): $300 – $1,000, depending on the publication.

To that, I would add:

  • To fix what you already wrote: $50/hr.
  • If you edit the work, and I have to go back and fix what you did: $200/hour
  • You’re from the East/West Coast, and think we don’t charge enough: Double the above rates until we reach your desired expectations.

Update: I’ve received a lot of feedback on this particular post, both in the comments and messages scrawled in blood on the flaming bags of dog poo on my front porch. This is a contentious issue for some, because they make much more than this from their freelance work. For others, they can’t believe I would advocate charging so much (those are usually the people who hire freelancers).

The point of this post is to get you thinking about what freelancers should be charging, at least as a starting point. Your mileage will vary, depending on your experience, where you live, and who you’re writing for.

Writing a magazine article for a small startup magazine in small-town Indiana is going to be way different than writing a cover piece for Newsweek or US News and World Report. Giving one price for a magazine is like saying, “A car costs $18,000.”

So, if you’re thinking about hiring a freelancer, these are prices to start with when hiring freelancers here in America’s heartland. If you’re looking to launch your freelance career, this a good guideline if you live in the Midwest. But if you’re a freelancer who’s already earning more than this, ignore these numbers, keep doing good work, and charge what your clients are willing to pay.

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    About Erik Deckers

    is the President of Professional Blog Service, a ghost blogging and social media marketing agency in Indianapolis, IN. He has been blogging since 1997, and has been a published writer for more than 26 years. He is a newspaper humor columnist, appearing in 10 papers around Indiana, and in The American Reporter. Erik co-authored No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (2nd ed., 2012; Que Biz-Tech). His latest co-authored effort, The Owned Media Doctrine, was released in 2013.

    Comments

    1. Twenty cents a word for a magazine article just because you don’t live “out” on either coast? If you want to cut your own throat, I can’t stop you, but you are cutting mine condoning that.

    2. Great article, Erik!

      I would argue that Midwest writers discount anything by 100 percent. Wouldn’t that be free?

      Thanks for the info.

    3. Theresia Whitfield says:

      I think you overlook one of the most important ingredients in determining what to charge: Experience. Freelance writers who have 10, 15, 20 or more years of experience would never think of charging such low rates (regardless of what part of the country they live), and they shouldn’t have to charge low rates. It diminishes their experience and the value they bring to the table. As for magazines, the writer almost never determines the price; that’s the job of the assigning editor. And the fee for magazine articles will also depend on the circulation of said publication. And just because someone is a “blogger” or has published an “e-book” doesn’t necessarily mean they write well.

    4. Peter Dunn says:

      Yet again, I learned and laughed.

    Trackbacks

    1. […] Into Writing a Blog Post? May 1, 2012 By Erik Deckers 1 Comment After yesterday’s post on Suggested Freelance Writing Rates — Midwest Edition, I was asked why it costs so much ($75 – $125) to write a blog […]