Why you should charge a flat rate for freelancing

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss why you should charge a flat rate for freelancing…

Are you a freelancer who charges by the hour? You know you’re making a mistake, don’t you?

Much as some clients love paying by the hour, the process makes almost no sense for anyone. Why?

It exposes the client to unnecessary risk:

  • They think it should take you two hours to do the job but, actually, it takes you five. In the end, they’ll need to pay more than they expected which may play havoc with their budgets.

It penalizes YOU for your efficiency:

  • If you’re really good at writing (or editing or researching or proofreading) and can do the job faster than most other people, you’re going to be paid less for your skill.

The solution is simple. Don’t charge by the hour. Charge a flat rate for freelancing, instead.

A recent post by writer Courtney Danyel on the website Freelancer FAQs, goes into all the logistics as to why freelancers should offer flat rates for their services. 

Here is part of what she says:

“Working quickly on an hourly job means you earn less money, plain and simple. After I made these realizations myself I basically stopped working hourly altogether. The better I got at writing the more I could charge and the more I could benefit from my time investment. The truth is, most clients don’t have any idea how long it takes you to complete an assignment.”

Danyel also has another terrific suggestion: Start offering package deals. This means you offer a variety of related services — perhaps researching and writing or editing and proofreading — bundled together with a single price tag.

This gives the client the benefit of one-stop-shopping and you — the freelancer — the benefit of a bigger paycheque.

As Danyel explains it, most clients will want to haggle over dollar rates. If they figure that $200/hour is too much for a freelancer to earn, they’ll refuse to pay it. But if they want a specific job done and it’s worth $200 (or more!) to them, they’ll happily pay the fee if they know you can do the job for that specific amount of money.

Just as you don’t need to think about the company’s profit margin over the year, they don’t need to think about how much you earn per hour.