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Author Topic: Help me decide what to charge for typing and editing
Member # 2314

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I've been asked if I will re-type an 80 page handbook (the original electronic copy has been lost) and edit and proofread it.

How much should I charge for this? I'm also thinking about doing this when I can pick up jobs here and there and figured I'd work up a price list and do some quick business cards. I've already done it on an informal basis for a couple of small businesses, like a catering company that produced a 15 page menu and catalog of their services and I proofread it and suggested changes where things were not clear.

I don't expect to make a lot of money at it but I want it to be worth my time. Trouble is, I have no idea what to charge. I've been told by the company that wants the 80 page handbook done to "figure out what I think is fair and submit an invoice." Well, I don't know what's fair, and I'm not sure how to find out. Help? Anybody? Olivet, didn't you do this for someone - what did you charge?

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Liz B
Member # 8238

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I found this, which may give you something to think about, at least: http://www.compassrose.com/services/rates.html
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advice for robots
Member # 2544

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If you are thinking hourly, I would charge at least $40 an hour for editing and proofreading. And I believe those rates are on the low end of the national average.

If you know the depth of editing expected and can approximate the time it will take you, it might be best to work out a flat fee for the job--an amount you feel is fair compensation--and agree on it with the client before you start. With a flat fee, you don't have to feel pressured by time and can feel more flexible about the "type" of editing you're performing at any given point.

If you can't estimate how long it will take you, then working out your rate by the page, like they're talking about in Liz B's link, is a good way to go. Find as many Rates pages as you can by googling for freelance editors or editing companies so you can get a good idea what the average rates are. If you know you have 80 pages, you can set a rate per page for editing, for proofreading, and for typing, and come up with a pretty close total estimate for your work.

I think it's a very good idea to agree on the total before you start. Then there's no surprises at invoice time. If they agree on the total, even if you negotiate a bit before agreeing, then everybody is on the same page from the start. Submit your total in a short letter, breaking it down for them so they know you're not unduly padding it. Tell them you'll begin as soon as you've agreed on the fee, and give a date when you will have the finished product back to them. Reassure them that you will handle the job in a professional manner and will do everything needed to ensure their satisfaction.

Don't be too shy and agree to work for far less than your time and skills are worth. In my opinion it pays to stick to fairly professional rates; your clients respect you more and tend to be more comfortable that they're getting expert service. Above all, make sure you're satisfied with what you're getting for your work, because once you quote a rate to a client, that's the rate they'll expect from then on, and you'll either have to settle for that rate when working for them or go through the extreme discomfort of adjusting it substantially on them.

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Member # 1104

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Someone with a lot of experience and references could charge as much as $90.00 an hour, but I wouldn't ask for that much if you've never been paid for editing before. The one person I know who charges that much is essentially a professional ghost writer, so what she does is significantly more than typing and light copy-editing. (I've seen what she does and I know I would hate it, so the money doesn't tempt me.) I accepted as little as $15.00 an hour when I first took on a non-fiction editing job, but that was for my kid's martial arts school (and just for editing-- no substantial typing involved). The going rate for my services (again, editing only) was $30.00 an hour under my last contract. I think you could get more if you're typing the whole thing, easily.

What you settle for will depend largely on your CV and what they are willing to pay. It is, I think, acceptable to take a lower rate if you don't have much experience. If you want to do it long-term, having a good reference might be worth it, but that is a choice you have to make.

Edit: As long as the long-term thing will be with different employers-- you really don't want to undersell yourself if you'll be stuck working with them on project after project.

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