I used to be a highly underpaid freelance writer. Like many writers, I thought like an artist and employee, not a business owner. That changed when I read The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Writer in Six Months or Less by Peter Bowerman.
He noted at least nine services writers perform in a single project, including writing and editing, that are billable. Although corporate writing was the focus of his book, many of them apply to all writing projects.
If you currently charge for writing and editing only, you are leaving money on the table. Following are seven services you should be charging for but probably aren’t.
7 Services Freelance Writers Should Be Charging For
Brainstorming and concepting
You are using your creativity to bring your clients’ visions to life. Generating ideas, developing outlines and brainstorming and selecting story angles are just a few tasks involved in this step.
Company reports, websites, blogs, annual reports and news reports are just a few documents you may need to read to gather existing information about the organization and the project. These items vary in length, tone and complexity and can take a long time to read.
Writers tend to underestimate and undercharge for this very tedious and time-consuming task. In addition to researching to find the sources you need to research, you have to read through books, magazines, academic and scholarly journals, newspapers, case studies and financial records. You may even have to visit the library.
To get first-hand accounts about information you uncover during your background reading and research, you may need to speak with one or more people. Interviews can suck up a lot of time if not planned and executed correctly.
In addition, you have to brainstorm and determine which questions to ask to get the answers you need; schedule and conduct the interviews; and transcribe the information, if recorded.
Your contract should specify the number of meetings you’ll need to meet with the client. Any meetings exceeding those documented should be billed. If you have to travel, remember to calculate mileage and time.
You should charge for major edits beyond those agreed upon in the contract. Revisions that change the scope of the project needs to be reviewed and re-negotiated.
Clients may ask you to promote their blog posts, newsletters and press releases on your social networks and to your email list.
Sure, you’ll do it…for a fee. Charge accordingly.
Lastly, you need to bill your clients for all expenses incurred while working on the project. These includes postage, email, paper, ink, internet service and other charges associated with completing the project. You can include it in your quote for the project or bill afterward.
If you’ve been performing any of the seven services and not charging for them, start doing so immediately. You are not nickel and diming your clients; you are billing for the work performed and the value provided.
What About You?
Which of the services have you not been charging for? Let us know in the comment box below.
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