I've been a freelance writer, editor and copy editor since 1993. So, I have a lot of experience pricing freelance writing and editing jobs. However, I severely underestimated one recently, which cost me over 50 percent of the potential profit. It just goes to show that even with experience, you can fall into this trap if you're not careful.
3 Tips on Estimating / Pricing Freelance Writing Jobs
Following are three pieces of advice on some precautions to take when estimating / pricing freelance writing and editing jobs so you get paid the full amount you're owed -- every time.
I. Don't Give a Firm Estimate: You should never give a firm estimate unless you're absolutely sure you can complete the job within this timeframe. What you should give in cases where you're not sure is a conditional estimate.
In my case, I gave a firm estimate because I'd worked with this client on many occasions before. But some factors led to me underestimating the amount of work to be done.
What is a conditional freelance writing job estimate?
FYI, it's when you kind of hedge your bet on a job until you know more details, eg, can go through it thoroughly and craft a more accurate estimate, which brings me to my next tip...
II. Properly Assess the Job: My mistake was in not thoroughly going through the job before giving the firm estimate. The document was only 12 pages -- and I should have looked at every one of them before getting back to the client. Instead, I only looked at the first few pages.
The problem is, the pages that needed the most work were at the back of the document.
III. Stick to Your Freelance Policies: At my (SEO) writing company, we don't begin on any project until at least a 50% deposit is made. Then, the editorial calendar is prepared depending on what date this is.
In this case, the client missed the initially agreed-upon deposit date, which would have pushed the due date of the project back. Even though he paid later, I told him we could still deliver the project on the initially agreed-upon deadline.
This caused a domino effect with some other projects, which wouldn't have happened had I stuck to my company's policy and moved the deadline based on when payment was made.
Estimating Freelance Writing and Editing Jobs: Conclusion
Estimating / pricing freelance writing and editing jobs is a skill - one that takes some time to "get right." I got a little lax on several fronts estimating this job. And it cost me in profits. Learn more about how I severely under-priced this freelance editing job. Heed these tips, so you don't do the same.
About the Author: Yuwanda Black has been a freelance writer since 1993, and has helped hundreds of other start successful freelance writing careers. She has published over 50 ebooks (many on freelance writing and small business), blogs consistently about freelancing at InkwellEditorial.com and is the creator of two freelance writing ecourses. Get full details on how to set your freelance writing rates for online writing and editing jobs –- so you get paid what you deserve every time.
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