Four Reasons Not to Discount Your Freelance Writing Rates

Four Reasons Not to Discount Your Freelance Writing Rates

Discounted Freelance Writing Rates? No Way!

Freelance writing can be a great way to earn a living – if you are serious and have the tenacity to stick with it. One of the biggest obstacles you’ll have to face as a freelancer, though, is clients who always expect you to lower your freelance writing rates for one reason or another. Of course, what you charge your clients is your business, but if you want to earn a decent living with your writing – STOP giving discounts. Your writing — and more importantly your experience and insight — is worth MUCH, MUCH more than you know.

Now, you may be thinking that you have to offer discounts to land new clients and keep the ones you have. Well, I will tell you right now – no you don’t. If you feel like you have to offer a particular client a deep discount, it’s time to look for a better client. Of course, you might offer small discounts OCASIONALLY (and I do mean small like five to ten percent.) But beyond that, offering larger discounts is just setting yourself up for failure.

To help you better understand why discounted writing rates are “indeed-not-joking-really-truly-seriously” a bad thing, I have put together this list of four┬áreasons why you should never discount your freelance writing rates. Write down this list and post it near your computer; trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Compliments Don’t Pay the Rent

Everyone loves compliments and writers are not exceptions. So, of course, when your client tells you how much they love your work or how great your writing is, you’re no doubt pleased. Don’t get caught in the trap, though. Too much of a love fest might be a precursor to the client asking for a deep discount on future writing.

All too often, it starts with “Jeff, I really love your writing. It’s so good. Do you think I can get a discount on the next one?” A long time ago, I might have been tempted to say “Ah okay, I’ll give you a discount” But now, the answer is just a straight, but tactful, “No. Sorry, I can’t do that.” Why? Because all the sweet words or compliments in the world won’t pay my bills. It’s as simple as that.

Bulk Rates Don’t Help You or Your Client

I notice that many writers offer “bulk rates” or bundled freelance writing rates for their clients. I do suppose that’s one way of attracting higher work volumes. Still, it seems to me that offering bulk or bundle pricing cheapens writing more than anything else. I mean, if you’re going to offer large bundles at huge discounts, wouldn’t it be better to just become an employee of the client? When you offer discounted bundles that commit large chunks of your time to one client, that’s essentially what you’re doing anyway. Right?

It also seems to me, though, that when writers offer bulk or bundle freelance writing rates, the work does seem to suffer a bit. I suppose that it may be because many writers tend to rush through this type of work in order to finish faster and move on to other jobs that may come along. I am not sure. Alternatively, it may because the writer actually knows that he/she has sold him/herself short with the lower rates and just doesn’t care as much. Either way, bulk or bundled rates aren’t really providing any long term benefits for you or your client.

As a freelance writer, you always need to be setting yourself up for success with future clients. So, what does that really mean? It means you always need to try to create the best work possible – so you can use it in a portfolio that will woo and impress new clients. If you’re rushing through pieces because you charged too little, you won’t want to show them off in your portfolio. Worse, still, if you don’t produce your best work, sooner or later, your current client will tire of the subpar content as well (and probably offer someone else more money to take over the writing.) Ouch!

If your client tries to push you into a bulk rate or bundle deal, just explain to him/her that you want to create the best work possible and that setting the rate too low prevents you from doing so.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t give your client a break on really big projects (that would just be stupid in some cases.) Still, just because the client offers you a big job, that doesn’t mean you need to cut rates too much. Start small and go from there. Offer something reasonable like 5 to 10 percent off your regular rate. If the client appreciates your work, he/she will recognize the value immediately. I mean, something is better than nothing – any day of the week.

Cheap Clients Refer Other Cheap Clients

For some reason, many people associate being cheap with being smart. So, when some people save a few bucks, they love to tell others about it. That’s great if you’re talking about a pair of shoes or a new car, but if you’re talking about someone’s livelihood – not so good. Still, it happens. If you’re doing it right, your clients will refer their friends and colleagues, and that’s always a good thing. The questions is, though; how are they referring?

Are your clients saying to their colleagues and friends, “Joe/Mary is a great writer. Not the cheapest in the world, but certainly a good value”? Or, are they saying – “Yeah, Jeff is a really good writer and so cheap”? Which do you prefer? Do you want to be a “good value” or “cheap”? Believe me, being a “good value” is always better. Remember, if you’re selling yourself short with freelance writing rates that are too low, your clients will do the same.

Think about it this way: On the one hand, if you show your clients you’re cheap, they will promote you as cheap. On the other hand, if you make your writing an intricate, valuable (note valuable does not equal cheap) part of your clients’ businesses, they will respond in kind with referrals that help you command more respect and higher rates. Cheap is, as cheap does. Or, something like that anyway.

Cheap Writers Hurt All Freelancers

Has a client ever said this (or something similar) to you? “You know, other top writers are not charging me nearly this much. Why are your rates so expensive?” Notice the “other top writers” part. I don’t know about you, but my response is usually – “If they were such ‘top writers,’ why are you bothering me?”

You see, this is what happens, though, when good freelance writers sell themselves short and charge too little; they mess it up for all of us. Charging too little for your writing just perpetuates the myth that all freelance writers are starving to death and will work for next to nothing. So, just do us all a favor and charge more for your writing, please!

Time to Go

I was originally going to add a couple of more reasons to this list. But, I need to stop for today. I will continue this list at another time – maybe. Anyway, charging too little for your writing is just bad! So, don’t do it. You’re worth more than you know, and your rates should reflect that. I mean if you’re a talented writer, there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever for you to be writing articles and posts for a few measly dollars. I don’t know about you, but I got mouths to feed!

So What Should I Charge?

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