There are several factors that go into determining your freelance writing rates. For example, writing a casual blog post or SEO article will likely cost a fair bit less than writing a comprehensive review or coming up with some creative ad copy. If you are known to be an expert in a particular style or in a particular field, you can leverage your reputation for maximum profit. Another factor that you may want to consider when setting your freelance rates is the potential client’s ability to pay.
Should you be charging more or less money based on how much you think the customer can pay? This not an easy question to answer, because there is no single correct response.
For many freelancers, it boils down to dollars and cents. There is a very fine line between ambition and greed, and I don’t think that it would be fair for anyone to over-charge someone just because they think they can. When I used to work at a car rental company, I saw this happening nearly every day. The manager might quote a higher rate to tourists, because he knew that they were more willing to accept the higher charges than a local. I didn’t agree with this practice at all.
From my perspective, the market essentially corrects itself. Higher profile clients can typically afford to pay more, but this also means that they are able to attract better quality writers. The people who write for national magazines and other major publications are probably pretty good at what they do and they are compensated accordingly. If you’re good at what you do, you should have no problem charging an appropriate price for your services.
On the flip side, lower profile clients typically have a lower budget and thus, they seek out the lowest bidder for most of their freelance projects. These are the kind of people who offer $5 an article or less, because that’s all that they can afford. It may not always be true, but the people who accept lower-paying gigs are probably also the people who cannot attract the higher-paying gigs.
Holding everything else constant, I do not adjust my freelance writing rates based on the customer’s ability to pay. Customers should not assume that they are automatically eligible for a “friends and family” rate just because they have a smaller budget. I do, however, adjust my rates based on how much research I feel will be required, how knowledgeable I am about the given subject, the quantity of work being offered, and so on. The only exception I would make would be for a non-profit or charitable organization that I feel particularly strongly about.
How about you? Do you give different freelance rate quotes based on how much you think the client can pay?