Thursday, October 2, 2008

I am dropping my hourly rate, you should too

Yep, I'm dropping my hourly rate and I suggest you other freelancers do the same.

I have been considering for a long time whether I should continue to post an hourly fee on my website. To be honest, I'd freak if I saw someone charging $15-$20/hour to edit my stuff. I would quickly think about how many hours I'd have to work at my part-time job in order to pay for that edit....

And, as you know, I'm always trying to maintain a customer focus without undervaluing my services. I mean, honestly, I have THOUSANDS of dollars invested in the knowledge I've acquired. I've spent years studying techniques, reading books, attending writer's conferences and learning how to market.

So I've decided I'm going to drop my hourly rates and simply charge by the package. Look at this from a customer perspective for a minute and see how you react differently to these two statements:

I charge $20 per hour
I charge $25 to do 16 pgs or 4,000 words, whichever is longer.

Obviously it is easier for a person to say "Okay, I'd like you to edit the first chapter of my book, it is 30 pages long so that will be about $50 [actually it would be $40, but you wouldn't know that]." If they go to my website and see $20/hour...AHHHH sticker shock. How many pages does she read an hour. How much will it cost me.

Taking it, again, from the customer's POV it also allows for budgeting. Despite what people may think, I'm not made of money. :-) I have a strict budget and when I need edits I only have a certain amount I can spend. I've had to tell people "Only edit up to $xx"

This applies beyond editing! Consider the power of words and perception. How will it impact your readers? It will depend on where they're coming from.

Now consider your craft, how will characters see things differently based on their position in your book. If you have someone in your book who honestly has NO money, NO credit, NO job, NO NOTHING trying to come up with $25 for a bus trip home might as well be a billion dollars. On the other hand a person living paycheck to paycheck may simply wait for payday. Finally, someone who has savings could go get the money [but maybe they don't want to. Maybe they resent dipping in to savings]

Think about how each person in your book will respond differently to the same scenario. Think of the emotional implications of this. Consider how you can use this understanding of human nature to effectively market.

And if you just got home from conference and an editor or agent wants to see your first chapters, you now know that you can get your first 30-35 pgs edited by me for $40. Just contact me through my website. I can have it done for you by next week.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter


Tracy Ruckman said...

Great article, Tiff. I don't charge by the hour anymore - some projects take way too long because of the detail, and others are extremely easy because of the writer's skill level - AND I don't feel tied to a clock like I would if I was charging hourly.

I charge by the page. I calculate it at 250 words per page, double-spaced, based on total word count. I charge between $2.50-$3.50 per page - depending on the project, but most get my $2.50 rate. Figuring it by word count, our rates are the same - just presented differently.

I've learned how many pages I can do per hour, and how many pages I can do in a day before my brain feels like mush, and I realize I'm not doing the client any good, so then I stop for the day. Four solid hours on any one project at a time is the exact right amount. If I try to push it to five or six hours, I get testy - so I just switch projects, or start writing my own stuff.

Great article!!

humaun@Career Coach said...

Career Coach Good job,I think this is important.

Career Coach said...

Yes, I agree with you guys! Thanks you so much for sharing on this very nice and wonderful info with us.

Career Coach

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