How to Request a Freelance Writing Rate Quote

I don’t do much active marketing or advertising for my freelance writing business, because I find that the majority of my work comes by way of referrals and what I like to call “word of mouse” marketing. People send me a message via my freelance writing website to inquire about my services and we go from there. However, there is one issue that I encounter far too often.

It’s great when a new potential client inquires about a possible working relationship, but many do not provide enough information in the initial e-mail message. Many times, I’ll get a message that doesn’t extend far beyond something like this:

Hello. How much do you charge for articles? Thanks.

On the one hand, I appreciate the brevity. With the breakneck pace of the Internet, it helps when people get straight to the point. On the other hand, a message like the one above really doesn’t give me much on which to base the rate quote. For this reason, I thought I’d put together a brief guide on how to request a freelance writing rate quote.

Before going any further, it is worth noting that I generally don’t charge by the hour. There are exceptions, to be sure, but I prefer to work with a flat rate quote (or estimate). This way, both freelancer (me) and client are on the same page and have the same expectations about the total fee.

So, when you ask for a freelance writing rate quote from me, it would be very helpful if you provided the following information:

  • What kind of writing do you desire? A product review is quite different from a blog post, a press release, or an e-book. Providing the niche or topic area helps too.
  • What is the estimated word count? Telling me you want a blog post can mean vastly different things to different people. Is it a short 300-word post or is it an extensive 2,000 word blog “essay” of sorts?
  • Is the project on a ghostwriting basis or do I get a full byline? Ghostwriting always carries a premium. Getting a full byline (preferably with some sort of “plug” or “bio” section) provides me with added marketing value and brand presence.
  • Where are you located? This isn’t necessarily required in the first e-mail message, but I do need this information to determine the sales tax implications.
  • How much research and guidance will you be providing? If I am responsible for the entirety of any background research needed, that time needs to be factored into the overall rate quote. If I’m only doing a “rewrite” of information that you provide, that takes less time for me and, thus, the overall rate quote will typically be lower.
  • What is your budget? By understanding how much you can spend, I can better prepare an overall package that is within your spending limit; it wouldn’t be useful to either one of us if I prepared an overall quote that you could not afford.

This might sound like a lot of information, but it can be summed up in a sentence or two. Think about it this way: you wouldn’t go into a car dealership and ask how much they charge for a car. You wouldn’t go a real estate agent and ask how much it costs to buy a home.

In all of these circumstances, the seller (or freelance writer, in this case) needs to have a better understanding of your needs, your preferences, and your budget. The more background you can provide, the better.