Why Are Freelancers More Expensive?

I’ve had clients do a double take when they see my hourly rate. They’ve asked why I’m so expensive — especially when they can hire an employee to do the same sort of work for half the hourly wage I’m asking. A few have even mentioned that they can get some minimum wage, entry level to write their project — it’s not like writing is hard, right?

Freelancers Aren’t Actually More Expensive

The first thing to explain to a client comparing your rates to an employee’s wage is the fact that we aren’t actually more expensive. Employers have to pay insurance, employment taxes and all sort of other expenses for the privilege of paying a wage. Clients just pay the bottom line. In some cases, we’re actually much cheaper than employees — that’s why so many companies are eliminating staff writers in favor of freelancers in order to cut costs these days. We won’t even go into the fact that freelancers provide their own equipment and all!

Freelancers Do It Faster

Sure, a minimum wage monkey may be able to write a brochure that meets your client’s exacting standards. It isn’t likely, but I’m willing to go with a hypothetical here. Even so, I sincerely doubt that an entry level writer could put together copy in even double the time an experienced writer can manage. I think one of the reasons that prospective clients choke when they see my hourly rate is that they expect it will take me a full 40 hours to write the copy for their brochure. I’m happy to report, however, that I am quite fast at lining up words in a row.

Freelancers Save Money

Next time a client questions your rates, point him to me. I’ll explain that you’re a steal at double the price. Sure, freelancers may seem like we cost 40 to 100 percent more when you just look at the hourly rate — but when you consider other factors, we come surprisingly cheap.


  1. JR Moreau   •  

    I kind of want to put this as a water-mark on all of my proposal stationary. This post is so on point.

  2. Melissa   •  

    Not only that, but try hiring an ad agency to do my job (website design). They’re going to be at least twice as expensive bc of overhead and 1/2 as fast (bc of all the ‘processes’ and red tape). I’m quite the bargain 😉

  3. thursday   •     Author

    @Melissa, I’ll bet that they won’t get as much face time with a designer either — just an account rep who doesn’t know the difference between HTML and CSS.

    @JR, If you can turn this into a water-mark, I give you my permission to do so — if you’ll send me a couple of sheets!

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  7. jefferson faudan   •  

    reading this… you definitely hit the point… and as I will always say from a quote I’ve read…

    It is unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.

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