If there’s one question that inexperienced freelancers ask more often than any other (and even experienced and successful freelancers sometimes struggle to answer), it’s “How much should I charge?” It’s a tough conversation to have, because the answer inevitable begins with “it depends…” and that can be frustrating to hear when you’re hoping for a quick and easy answer. But it really does depend, and probably not as much on the factors you’re thinking of (experience, talent, training, genre, topic, client, type of edit, etc.) as on the factor that new freelancers often overlook: how much you need.
On An American Editor, Rich Adin does an excellent job of explaining “effective hourly rate” and has a detailed 5-part series on “What to Charge.” If you haven’t checked those out yet, I highly recommend them. If the information clicks, you’re willing to apply it, and you’re somewhat competent with a spreadsheet, you should be well on your way to setting hourly rates for your work. If the formulas and calculation are a bit intimidating, fear not: having familiarized yourself with the factors involved, you can now use an hourly rate calculator to help you with the heavy lifting.
You can find a number of hourly rate calculators online. They range from the simple “convert my salary into an hourly wage” type to the more complex “take my entire life into consideration” type. As long as you’re feeding the calculators correct information, the more complex ones will be more accurate, but each serves its purpose. The following are some examples of what’s available